Business development · 11 October 2018

The difference betweena raffle and a prize draw

A raffle is another name for a lottery, which must be run for a good cause
Before launching a promotional prize draw, it’s crucial to understand the legal implications of the terminology. Grid Law founder David Walker helps one reader start their own competition website by explaining the difference between a raffle and a prize draw.


I have read through your article on running promotional prize draws and I am looking to start my own website running them regularly. I was wondering, do you know if I would be allowed to use the word raffle? in the name of the site?



Thanks for your question.

If you are running the prize draws (or competitions) for commercial purposes, I would avoid using the word raffle? in the name.

Whilst some people might think of the word as a generic term for prize draws and competitions, strictly speaking, it’s not. A raffle is another name for a lottery, and lotteries should only be run for good causes such as for charities and other not-for-profit organisations.

Read other guides around promotional prize draws:

If you use the word raffle? in the name of your website or describe the prize draw as a raffle this could be misleading. People may think that by entering your prize draw they are donating to good causes.

Im aware that some businesses do describe their prize draws as a raffle. For example, McCain ran their Great Village Raffle? promotion as a prize draw. This prize draw was very controversial in its own right as serious issues were raised regarding the allocation of prizes.

It doesnt appear that anyone complained about the use of the word raffle? in the name but this doesnt mean that they were allowed to use it. If there hadnt been other, serious issues with the prize draw, complaints could have been received and action could have been taken against them.

I hope this helps and please feel free to email me again if you need any further advice.

Kind regards




David Walker is the founder of Grid Law, a firm which first targeted the motorsport industry, advising on sponsorship deals, new contracts and building of personal brands. He has now expanded his remit to include entrepreneurs, aiding with contract law, dispute resolution and protecting and defending intellectual property rights.

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