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Legislation And Your Race Night

Race nights

This fact sheet covers some of the usual questions asked about race nights. It is not a definitive description of all the rules and regulations that apply to race nights. Reference should be made to the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 for precise details of the law.

Definition of a race night

Race nights are events in which participants stake money on the outcome of recorded races and where the selection is totally dependent on chance and where no "odds" or "form" are available to assist the selection.

Proceeds go to purposes of the organisation or a charitable purpose but are not for private gain or commercial purposes.

How to run a Race night

It is usual to run a race night as an amusement with prizes under section 15 of the Lotteries and Amusement Act 1976.

The race night must not be the sole attraction and must be part of an exempt entertainment such as a bazaar, sales of work, fete, dinner dance, sporting events or similar gatherings.

There are certain conditions set out in section 15, which must be observed when promoting and conducting a race night as an 'amusement with prizes at an exempt entertainment'. These are listed below.

The race night must not be the only, or only substantial, inducements to persons to attend the entertainment.

The whole proceeds of the entertainment, after deducting the expenses of the entertainment, must be devoted to purposes other than private gain.

The hire of any machinery to run the race night can be defrayed from the proceeds but not if it is made in some way dependent upon the extent to which the equipment is used. For instance profit sharing arrangements between equipment manufactures, hirers and promoters would not be allowed.

Registration requirements

There have been changes to the Licensing Act 2003 which means that you will require a Premises Licence.  Most venues already have one, but you may require a temporary event notice (TEN)  All of this is explained at the DCMS web site. 

NB. We cannot give authoritative legal advice about every possibility in this area. We strongly advise any individual or company seeking to set up these or any other types of Fundraising events to seek independent legal advice.


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