FAQ's for Community Groups about Licensing
- Is a licence required if a voluntary organisation or community group is organising a prize draw or raffle and intends to print and sell tickets before an organised event?
Yes. You will need to register with the Council to be able to hold small society lotteries.
You must qualify as a "Society". This is an organisation established and conducted for charitable purposes to enable participation in or support of sport, athletics or cultural activities or any other non-commercial purpose other than private gain.
The proceeds of a lottery such as a raffle must be used for the purposes of your organisation.
See our Gambling Act 2005 Exempt Lotteries page for definitions of small lottery, the information to be shown on tickets and details of the application and registration process.
- Is a licence required to hold a raffle held at an organised event eg a dance or bingo tea?
If the raffle is being held at a non-commercial event and falls within the definition of an incidental non-commercial lottery, it will be exempt and no licence will be required under the Gambling Act 2005.
See our Gambling Act 2005 Other Exempt Lotteries page for definitions of a non-commercial event, limits on prizes and expenses and sale of tickets.
The main features are
- no sum can be used for private gain and all proceeds must be used for the purpose of the event,
- no roll-overs are allowed,
- tickets can only be sold at the event and the results must be announced at the event.
You will, however, need a public entertainment licence if you are charging the public for admission to the event.
See the Licences - Entertainment page.
- Is a licence required to hold a bingo tea?
If the bingo is taking place at a non-commercial event either as an incidental or main activity at the event, no licence under the Gambling Act 2005 will be required.
The event is non-commercial if no part of the proceeds is for private gain or profit.
All players must be told for what purpose the money raised is going to be used and the profits must be used for that purpose.
The event could be run either as non-commercial equal chance gaming or non-commercial prize gaming.
In the case of non-commercial equal chance gaming, participation fees cannot exceed £8 per person for all games.
The value of the prizes fund cannot exceed £600 unless the event is the last of a series in which all of the players have previously taken part when a prize fund of up to £900 is allowed.
Deductions from the proceeds are limited to the cost of prizes and reasonable costs incurred in organising the gaming or providing facilities for it.
The event cannot normally take place on premises licensed under the Gambling Act 2005.
No remote gaming is allowed.
If you choose to run the event as non-commercial prize gaming, the prizes are determined by the event organiser before play commences. Neither the nature nor size of a prize can be dependent on the number of participants or the amount paid for or raised by the gaming at the event.
There are no limits on stakes, prizes, participation fees or any other charges.
There are, however, some conditions that you must comply with:
- All players must be told the purpose for which money raised from the gaming is going to be used. It must be a purpose other than private gain and the profits must be used for that purpose.
- The event cannot usually be held on premises licensed under the Gambling Act 2005.
- The gaming must happen at an event on premises with participants taking part in person. Remote gambling is forbidden.
You will need a public entertainment licence if you are charging the public for admission to the event. See our Licences - Entertainment page.
- Does a community organisation need a licence to organise a fund raising event such as a dance and sell alcohol at the event?
Yes. If you intend to sell alcohol at an event you will need an occasional licence. A representative of a voluntary organisation can apply.
There is no statutory definition of "voluntary organisation". It is likely that any established society, organisation or voluntary group will qualify.
Alternatively, if you do not want to run the bar yourselves, you can arrange for a holder of a premises licence or the holder of a personal licence to do this for you. All pubs, hotels, off sales premises and clubs have a premises licence holder and, with the exception of some clubs, will have one or more personal licence holders.
- How long can an occasional licence be granted for?
An occasional licence can last for up to 14 days.
- How many occasional licences can be applied for?
A voluntary organisation is restricted in the number of occasional licences it can obtain in any 12 month period. It can have no more than
- 4 occasional licences lasting more than 4 days and
- 12 occasional licences lasting less than 4 days subject
- to an overall restriction to not more than 56 days in any 12 month period.
- Are there any conditions?
You should note that alcohol may only be sold at an event taking place on premises in connection with the voluntary organisation's activities.
- When do I need to apply by?
At the same time the Board must send your application to the Chief Constable and the Licensing Standards Officer. The Chief Constable can recommend refusal if considered necessary for preventing crime and disorder. The Licensing Standards Officer can lodge a report with his/her comments.
The Chief Constable and the Licensing Standards Officer have 21 days from receipt of your application within which to lodge a notice or report.
If any notice, report or objection/representation is received, your application will be determined by a Board Committee.
The maximum period the Board is allowed to determine an occasional licence application is 42 days from date of receipt of your application.
Whilst the Board will be able to deal with straightforward applications in less than 42 days, it is recommended that applicants lodge their applications with the Licensing Administrator at least 6 weeks before the event to allow for the above timetable.
- How do I apply?
You can apply online or by lodging an application with the Clerk of the Board. See our Licences - Alcohol page.
- What if we want to allow people to bring their own alcohol and drink it at the event or function?
This is possible provided there is no premises licence or occasional licence for the premises.
You will, however, need a public entertainment licence if you are charging the public for admission to the event.
For further information about public entertainment licences see our Licences - Entertainment page.
- Is a licence required to hold a Gala Day or Fun Day?
Yes. Most events of this type are likely to require a public entertainment licence.
Other permissions may be required if, for example, you want to close a road temporarily or sell hot food.
You should contact the Licensing Administrator as early as possible when you are planning your event for guidance on licences and permissions you may require. Not all of these permissions may be dealt with by Licensing and you may have to seek permission from other Council Services such as Roads and/or Environmental Services.
You should also consult with Central Scotland Police and Central Region Fire and Rescue Authority on your plans for advice and guidance at as early a stage as possible.
You will require permission to use Council land or from any private landowners if you want to use their land.
- Is a licence needed for a Casino Night?
If it is a non-commercial casino night where none of the money raised is used for private gain, no licence under the Gambling Act 2005 is required. Casino style games such as poker or roulette are allowed.
You can deduct reasonable costs, but otherwise all proceeds such as entrance fees, sponsorship and the difference between stakes placed and payouts must not be used for private gain and must all be given to a good cause. The cost of prizes can be deducted.
Third parties providing, for example, a bar or refreshments for sale can retain the income which does not count as proceeds of the event.
There are different ways in which you can organise a casino night.
It may be run as non-commercial equal chance gaming. This arises if you have gaming where the chances are equally favourable to all players. No bank is involved. In this type of event, charitable funds are normally raised through entrance and/or participation fees.
Charges can be no more that £8 per player per day.
The prize limit is £600 among all the players. If it is a final event in a series, and provided all the players have previously taken part, the prize limit can be raised to £900.
Alternatively, your casino night can be run as non-commercial prize gaming. You need to tell players what good cause will benefit from the profits before they place bets.
Prizes must be advertised before the event.
The prizes cannot depend on the number of players or the amounts staked.
Winners are determined as a result of the casino gaming. This could be done by counting who has the most casino chips at a given time. Those winners will receive the advertised prizes.
- Is a licence required for a Race Night?
If it is a charitable race night, no licence under the Gambling Act 2005 is required. You will need a public entertainment licence if you are charging the public for admission. See our Licences - Entertainment page.
Participants can stake money on live, recorded or virtual races.
You can incur reasonable costs which would include items such as prizes and betting slips. Proceeds such as entrance fees, sponsorship and the profit from stakes placed and payouts must not be used for private gain and can only be devoted to some good cause.
Third parties providing, for example, a bar or refreshments may retain the income as it does not form part of the proceeds of the event.
You can organise a race night in various different ways. These usually involve the selection of a horse by a participant purely based on chance. There are no odds or form involved. Sometimes, archive films of horse races are used.
In the examples below, no licence under the Gambling Act 2005 is required. You will require a public entertainment licence if you intend to charge the public for admission.
See our Licensces - Entertainment page.
If the race night element of an event is not the only or main reason for a non-commercial event, it may be treated as an incidental lottery. There is no limit on the charges you can make for participation but the prizes limit is £500 and other expenses can be no more than £100. Tickets can only be sold at the event and the results must be announced at the event.
You could also run your event as non-commercial prize gaming. Players must be told the good cause to be supported. The prizes must be announced in advance and can not be dependent on the number of players or stakes raised. A winner or winners is determined by the outcome of the race. For example, participants can be allocated or choose a name of a horse. The winners are awarded the prizes advertised previously.
Finally, you may run the night as non-commercial equal chance gaming where the chances are equally favourable to all participants. No bank is involved.
The maximum daily participation rate is £8 per person. The total prize fund for the event is no more than £600. It can be up to £900 if it is the last in a series of events and all the participants have taken part previously. This could be used, for example, where each participant pays a stake for a randomly selected horse in each race. The participant with the winning horse receives a prize commensurate with the stakes for that race.