Society Lotteries

Society lotteries are competitions organised to raise funds from the public for various non-profit organisations.


The Lotteries Act describes a society lottery as a lottery run by “any club, institution, organisation or association of persons, and any separate branch or section of such a club, institution, organisation or association”.


The requirements for the lawful operation of society lotteries are more stringent than those for private lotteries and lotteries incidental to entertainment and include registration with the National Lotteries Commission. This is because society lotteries are marketed to the general public and involve larger sums of money.

What is a Lottery?

A “lottery” in terms of the Act “includes any game, scheme, arrangement, system, plan, promotional competition or device for distributing prizes by lot or chance and any game, scheme, arrangement, system, plan, competition or device, which the Minister may by notice in the Gazette declare to be a lottery”.

  • A society is defined as “including any club, institution, organisation or association of persons, and any separate branch or section of such a club, institution, organisation or association”.
  • Society Lottery means a lottery promoted on behalf of a society that is established and conducted wholly or mainly for purposes not for private gain or any commercial undertaking.
  • The Act provides that a society wishing to promote a lottery must itself be registered with the National Lotteries Commission.
  • The total proceeds of a society lottery, after the deduction of amounts for expenses and prizes, must be applied solely to the following.

a) Recognised charitable purposes,

b) Participation in, or support of, sport or cultural activities.

c) Other purposes not described in (a) or (b) but which the Commission approves, and which are purposes neither of private gain nor of any commercial undertaking.


No ticket or chance may be offered on sale before society is registered.


No person/organization or society is allowed to conduct society lottery without registration with National Lotteries Commission.

To seek registration, the following forms and information should be sent to the Commission.

a) A completed application form (SL01/14).

b) A signed copy of either the society’s Constitution, Memorandum of Incorporation and or Trust Deed.

c) A copy of the minutes of a meeting recording the purposes of the society and the decision to apply for registration with the Commission.

d) The names, designations and addresses of the management committee.


  • After registration the society shall be issued with a Certificate of Registration
  • Registration of a lottery scheme shall be accompanied by the following.


a) A completed application form (SL02/14)

b) A copy of the minutes of the society’s governing body’s meeting approving the promotion of lotteries under the scheme.

c) A letter or statement from the governing body authorising the promoter (who must be a member of the society) to act in that capacity.

d) A draft ticket and competition rules. (It is recommended that societies do not print tickets until the Commission has examined a draft and given a view on whether it meets the requirements of the law.)

e) A Personal Declaration form (SL02(a)/14) completed by the promoter. (The Commission may subsequently require any other person connected with the lottery to complete such a form.)


  • Where a person is connected with a lottery and is asked to complete a Personal Declaration form (SL02(a)/14), a check will be made to obtain any information to ensure that the person is fit and proper.
  • Applicants are advised to submit application at least two months’ prior the date on which it is proposed that tickets for the first lottery under the scheme are to be placed on sale.
  • Registration with the Commission as a society remains valid indefinitely, unless it is cancelled by the organisation or revoked by the Commission.
  • Modification of approved lottery scheme is not valid unless authorised by the Commission.

The Commission may refuse or revoke a society’s registration if:


a) it appears to the Commission that the society is not established and conducted wholly or mainly for one or more of the acceptable purposes;

b) any person connected with one of the society’s past or future lotteries has been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty, or one of a number of specified offences under the Lotteries Act;

c) the society’s scheme is contrary to the law;

d) any information given by the society in connection with the application was false in a material particular;

e) it appears to the Commission that any lottery promoted on behalf of the society within the last five years has not been properly conducted;

f) any fees payable under the Act have not been paid;

g) any information requested has not been provided or the Commission has not been allowed to inspect the management of the lotteries, including examining and taking copies of documents;

h) an act or omission of a person connected with the society’s lotteries was a cause of another society’s registration being refused or revoked;

i) the address of the office or head office of the society is the same as that of the office of another Commission registered society that is established for the same or a connected purpose.


NOTE:  The grounds on which registration of a scheme may be refused or revoked are the same as for the registration for societies, except for paragraph (a) and (i).

  • No more than six lotteries may be conducted by or on behalf of any society in any year. “Year” means a period of 12 months commencing 1 January. A lottery shall be deemed to have been conducted in the year in which the winners of prizes are announced.
  • The date of the lottery, which must be specified on the tickets, is the date on which the winners in that lottery are determined. Where the winners are determined by reference to a draw, the date specified will be the date of that draw.
  • The Commission’s advice is that no two lotteries should have the same date. This is because the practice may lead to confusion for the public and administrative difficulties for societies in meeting the requirement to treat each lottery as entirely separate and account for it as such.
  • All lotteries promoted by societies under the Commission’s registration are subject to the following limitations:


a) The total value of tickets or chances sold in a single lottery may not exceed R2milion.

b) The total value of prizes shall not exceed R1million per year per society. Where the proceeds of a lottery equal or are less than R1million, up to15% of the proceeds may be used to meet expenses.

c) Where the proceeds exceed R1million per lottery, the permitted percentage for expenses is 10%.


Any person intending to conduct a society lottery exceeding the values of the limitations, may, 90 days prior to the start of a particular society lottery and in respect of that particular society lottery apply to the Commission in writing for an exemption.

  • The price of every ticket or chance in a lottery must be the same (i.e. Inducements such as 5 tickets for the price of 4 are not permitted) and a person cannot be required to make any payment beyond this as a condition of participating in the lottery.
  • A person cannot participate in a lottery unless the whole price of the ticket or chance has been paid to the society. Once money has been received for, or on account of, a ticket or chance it cannot be refunded to the participant.


Every ticket must specify:

a) its price.

b) the society’s name, and the Commission’s registration number.

c) the date and place of the lottery draw.

d) where the rules of the lottery may be obtained; and

e) the value of a cash equivalent for a prize won, if applicable.


  • Ordinarily, no ticket or chance in a lottery may be sold by or to a person under the age of 16. However, a society wishing to sell tickets to this or by this category must state reasons for doing so in the Lottery Scheme application form (SL02/14).

Tickets or chances may not be sold by means of a machine.


a) After completion of each lottery promoted under its scheme, the society is required to submit to the Commission by completing (SL04/14) form: (herein attached)

b) giving details of the proceeds, expenses and prizes; and

c) showing how the balance of the amount raised was


  • Society shall notify the Commission in writing of any change in the address of the society’s office or head office not later than 21 days prior to the day on which such changes take effect.
  • It is a criminal offence for any person to give the Commission any information that is false in any material particular.
  • Where VAT is payable on an individual item of expenditure or on a prize, it should be included in the amount shown for that item on form (SL04/14).
  • If a society wishes to employ an external Lottery Manager to run its lotteries, it is free to do so. Such managers are only permitted by law to manage lotteries provided they hold the necessary certificate issued by the Commission. Societies will need to satisfy themselves that any external Lottery Manager they propose to employ is the holder of a valid certificate from the Commission.


  • External Lottery Managers holding the Commission’s certificate are required to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Lotteries Act.

Download applications forms for Society & Society Lotteries schemes (Click here)

Also consult:

Lotteries Act