Race Nights under the Gambling Act 2005 Part I

by Marlene Pena

Definition of a race night
“Race nights” are events in which participants stake money on the outcome of
recorded or virtual races, where the selection is totally dependent on chance, and
where no “odds” or “form” are available to assist the selection. As a general principle,
“race nights” may only take place at non-commercial events where none of the
proceeds from the event itself are used for private gain. For these purposes, the
proceeds of an event constitute the sums raised by its organisers (including sums
raised by way of participation fees, sponsorship, commission from traders, or
otherwise) minus the costs reasonably incurred in organising the event. However,
sums raised by other persons will not form part of the proceeds of the event and so
may be appropriated for private gain. An example would be refreshments provided at
the event by an independent third party. All participants must be told what “good
cause” is to benefit from the profits from the gaming, but no licence, permit or other
form of permission is required to operate a race night provided that the statutory
conditions are complied with.

Depending on how an event is structured, a “race night” may be operated under
either the non-commercial gaming provisions in Part 14 of the Act, or as an
incidental non-commercial lottery under Part 1 of Schedule 11. In all cases the prizes
may be paid out in cash or in kind.

Prize gaming
To qualify as prize gaming under section 299 of the Act, the prizes should be put up
in advance, and must not be dependent on the number of players taking part or the
amount of money staked. There are, however, no statutory limits on stakes, prizes,
participation fees or other charges for this type of non-commercial gaming, which
may be an incidental activity or the only or principal purpose of the event.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport – Race Nights under the Gambling Act 2005