At this stage we are all familiar with the Club/Society draw which has become a mainstay for Clubs and Societies in their fundraising activities. The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019 (“the 2019 Act”) came into effect on the 1st December 2020 and has introduced a new regime for lotteries, which are currently allowed only in limited circumstances. Whether promoters will be able to operate on the basis of a “permit”, or will require a “licence”, will depend on the value of the prizes.
Where a promoter intends to run a lottery (or several in a week) and the total value of all prizes is no more than €5,000, the promoter must apply to their local Garda Superintendent for a permit and the application must be made at least 60 days in advance of promoting the lottery. Tickets for lotteries under a permit cannot cost more than €10, and if the lottery is held for the benefit of a charity, the permit holder cannot keep any more than 5% of the total proceeds.
In deciding whether or not to grant the permit the Garda Superintendent will not be required to consider the “kind” of lottery, but they must consider the applicant’s character, the number of lottery permits issued in the locality and the suitability of the premises (if any). A register of all lottery permits that have been granted by each Garda Superintendent is required to be maintained.
For more ambitious lotteries (those where the total value of all prizes in a week is no more than €30,000, or no more than €360,000 for a once-per-year lottery), the promoter is required to obtain a lottery licence. To obtain a licence,
• the promoter cannot derive any personal profit from the lottery,
• each ticket (or the relevant premises) must display the value of each prize and the name of the intended beneficiary, and,
• of the total proceeds, a maximum of 75% may be allocated to prizes, a minimum of 25% must be allocated to charitable or philanthropic purposes and a maximum of 25% may be retained by the licence-holder for promotional expenses.
Any application for a lottery licences must be made to the District Court in which the lottery will be promoted at least 60 days in advance of the Court hearing date. In deciding whether to grant a licence, the District Court will have regard to
• the applicant’s character,
• the number of periodical lotteries operating in the locality, and
• the lottery’s purpose.
The District Court Clerk will be required to keep a register of all lottery licences that have been granted.
The 2019 Act has introduced a change for brands and marketing agencies who run prize draws as part of marketing campaigns. Such promotions will not need a licence or permit, provided that the total value of the prizes is €2,500 or less and there is no charge for taking part in the lottery or redeeming the prize (aside from the purchase price of the product).
Lotteries that are conducted for charitable/philanthropic purposes will be exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit/licence, provided that
• the total value of the prizes is €1,000 or less,
• the price of each ticket is €5 or less,
• the maximum number of tickets sold is 1,500, and
• the promoter does not receive a personal profit and has not conducted such a charitable lottery during the previous 3 months.
Heretofore, societies and workplaces that enjoyed “private lotteries” were exempt from the requirement to obtain a licence. The exemption for such lotteries has been repealed, meaning that they can only proceed subject to obtaining a permit or licence.
The 2019 Act has introduced more severe penalties for offences, which include the promotion of gaming and lotteries that are not subject to a licence or permit. A summary conviction will result in a fine of up to €5,000, and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months, while a conviction on indictment will result in a fine of up to €50,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 2 years. Reduced penalties will apply to individuals who obstruct Gardaí in carrying out their responsibilities under the legislation, and to those who make false statements in applications for licences/permits.
For further advice please do not hesitate to contact Connellan Solicitors LLP on 043-3346440 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the information provided in this article is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.