NICVA response on the draft gambling codes of practice

25 Feb 2022 Denise Copeland    Last updated: 28 Feb 2022

NICVA has submitted a response to the Department for Communities consultation on the draft code of practice for gambling operators which includes anyone conducting a society lottery.  

NICVA’s response to this consultation focuses on the implications for society lotteries and in particular on the proposed requirements for the sale of society lottery tickets online. 

The proposed restriction for society lotteries

On page 15 of the draft Code it outlines how society lotteries may use the 'Think 18' principle when selling lottery tickets in person however it states that the 'Think 18' principle is not acceptable for on-line lottery ticket sales.  The draft Code states:

"Lotteries must always operate age verification procedures for all persons paying to participate through any on-line platforms. Such procedures should require proof of identity and age for all persons prior to being permitted to participate in the lottery."

Implications for society lotteries in N.Ireland

While NICVA agrees with the ‘Think 18’ principle when selling lottery tickets, we do not however agree with the detail of the age verification procedures outlined in the draft Code for the sale of online society lottery tickets, principally that “proof of identity and age” is required. 

These procedures may be acceptable for gambling companies to adopt for people opening an account with them but not for charities and other voluntary led organisations who are selling their raffle and lottery tickets online. 

Requiring “proof of identity and age” would effectively mean that charities selling their raffle tickets online would have to ask their supporters for a copy of an identity document, for example, a passport or a driver’s license or other form of ID otherwise how could they demonstrate that they asked for “proof” of identity and age. This is very different to requiring people to tick a box to verify their age.

In order for charities and other societies to comply with this requirement it would introduce an overly bureaucratic layer of admin which is completely disproportionate to the product they would be selling.  It would no doubt result in reduced ticket sales because people will not want the hassle of having to show ID.  People will also naturally be concerned with sharing their ID online simply to buy a raffle ticket. 

This also poses an issue for the society in having to handle this personal data in line with data protection regulations.  The Department should be mindful that many small charities, without staff and premises, would want to raise funds by selling society lottery tickets online.  Trustees will inevitably have to make a choice between the risk of handling this unwanted personal data in order to raise funds and not raising funds for the charity because they don’t have the systems or resources to implement the necessary requirements.   

What could result is that the Code of Practice is ignored entirely because the requirements appear to be so unreasonable and unworkable for the society.  This would be concerning as the Think 18 principle is undoubtedly very important.     

The rules in GB

NICVA understands that the age verification procedures in GB do not require proof of identity but rather use self-certification tick boxes where a person confirms that they are over the age of 16 and further information is provided to highlight that the product is intended for an adult audience.  

Proposed changes to the draft Code

NICVA believes that we should have parity with GB in relation to the age verification procedures for the sale of online lottery tickets. Therefore, the requirement to provide “proof of identity and age” should be removed from the Code.   

We would also question why the detail of the requirements is included within the Code of Practice. It would be much better to include the principle of having to have age verification procedures in the Code but then the detail of such be included in the Department’s guidance on the law on lotteries.  This would also mean that the guidance could be easily updated over time to reflect changes needed.    


The deadline for receipt of responses to this consultation is 25 February 2022.  For more information and to view the draft code of practice, see 

Consultation on draft code of practice affecting Societies Lotteries | NICVA's picture
by Denise Copeland

Governance and Charity Advice Manager

[email protected]

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