Race Nights under the Gambling Act 2005 Part II

by Marlene Pena

Equal chance gaming
Where the prizes awarded are dependent on the number of players taking part, or on
the amount of money staked on a race, the non-commercial equal chance gaming
provisions in section 300 of the Act apply. Once again, gaming may be either an
incidental activity or the only or principal purpose of the event, provided that none
of the proceeds are used for private gain. However, for this type of gaming there are
limits on the amounts that players may be charged to take part, and on the amount
or value of the prizes. The maximum amount that a player may be charged is £8 per
day (and this includes entrance or participation fees, stakes and any other payments
in relation to the gaming). The total amount paid out in prizes may not exceed £600,
although where an event is the final one of a series in which all of the players have
previously taken part, a higher prize fund of up to £900 is permitted.

Incidental lottery
Where the “race night” is not the only or main purpose of a non-commercial event,
it may be possible to operate it as an incidental lottery under Schedule 11 to the Act.
In this case there are no limits on the amount that players may be charged to
participate, but no more than £500 may be deducted from the proceeds of the
lottery for the cost of prizes (which may be in cash or in kind), and no more than
£100 for other expenses.

Private gaming
A “race night” may also be run as equal chance gaming under the private gaming
provisions in Schedule 15 to the Act. Private gaming may only occur in a place to
which the public does not have access (e.g. a private dwelling, hostel or hall of
residence). No charge may be made for participation in private gaming (and that
includes an entrance fee or other charge for admission), nor may any amounts be
deducted from stakes or prizes. No profits can be made from private gaming,
irrespective of the purpose to which such profits may be put.

NB. This fact sheet is intended to provide a general explanation of the
circumstances in which “race nights” can be played under the Gambling Act
2005. It does not deal with every detail of the legislative provisions, or with the
individual circumstances of a particular case. This fact sheet does not constitute
legal advice and is not a substitute for the relevant legal provisions. If you are in
any doubt about the legality of any gambling activities that you intend to
promote or for which you intend to provide facilities, you are strongly advised to
seek independent legal advice.

Department for Culture Media and Sport August 2007