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Advertorial: Regulating lotteries

Running a Lottery in SA

1. What is a lottery?

The Lotteries Act 57 of 1997, as amended defines a lottery as any scheme, arrangement or plan, promotional competition or device for distributing prizes by lot or chance.

2. What are the different types of lotteries?
  • The South African National Lottery
  • Private Lotteries
  • Society Lotteries
  • Lottery incidental to exempt entertainment
  • Promotional Competitions
3. Who is eligible to run these lotteries?
  • The South African National Lottery: The National Lottery may only be run by the licensed national lottery operator which is appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry.
  • Society lotteries: Society lotteries can be operated by non-profit organisations, any club, institution, organisation or association of persons.
  • Private lotteries: Any club, institution, organisation or association of persons may operate private lotteries.
  • Incidental to exempt entertainment: Non-profit organisations, any club, institution, organisation or association of persons may operate this type of lottery.
  • Promotional competitions: Promotional competitions may be run by business entities & non-profit companies.
4. What are the requirements for running a lottery?
  • National Lottery: Every eight years interested parties are invited by advertisement across national media platforms to submit proposals to run the National Lottery.
  • Private lotteries and lotteries incidental to exempt entertainment: It is advisable to contact the National Lotteries Commission for advice before conducting these forms of lotteries. Regulatory requirements are contained in regulation R414 and R413 respectively.
  • Society lottery: Prior to conducting this form of lottery, you are required to apply to the National Lotteries Commission for registration as a society and for registration of the lottery scheme.
  • Promotional competitions: Promotional competitions are regulated under the provisions of Section 36 of the Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 administered by the National Consumer Commission.
5. Who is excluded from eligibility to conduct lotteries?

Private individuals and profit-making organisations are not eligible to conduct society, private and lotteries incidental to exempt entertainment.

6. Is my lottery compliant?

Information is available from the following documentation on the NLC website, www.nlcsa.org.za

  • Lotteries Act 57 of 1997,as amended
  • Private Lotteries Regulations (No.R.414)
  • Lotteries Incidental to Exempt Entertainment Regulations (No.R.413)
  • Society Lottery Regulations (No.R.415)
  • Consumer Protection Act and its regulations

Illegal lotteries

1. What is an illegal lottery?

Any game of chance (e.g fundraising raffle) not authorised by the NLC.

2. Types of illegal lotteries
  • Fundraising competition conducted by a registered society (society in terms of section 41 of the Lotteries Act) without authorisation of the NLC
  • Fundraising competitions conducted by non-profit organisations without the approval of the NLC
  • Competitions (other than promotional competitions) conducted by profitmaking companies for financial and/or commercial gain
  • Competition conducted by individuals for private financial gain
  • Competitions conducted by profit-making companies for the benefit of nonprofit organisations without the authorisation of the NLC
  • Fahfee (also known as mochaina)
  • Scams received via sms, phone calls, emails and letters; and
  • Lotteries conducted outside the Republic that may also be accessed via internet (prohibited in terms of section 59 of the Lotteries Act).
3. What are the consequences of running or participating in an illegal lottery?

Any person, who participates in or conducts, facilitates, promotes or derives any benefit from an illegal lottery, shall be guilty of an offence. Any person convicted of running an illegal lottery shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment or both.

4. What is the impact of illegal lotteries on the national Lottery?

The National Lottery contributes 25% of the funds raised to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), which is distributed to good causes. Illegal lotteries do not contribute to the NLDTF, impacting the amount of revenue collected for good causes.

5. How do i avoid illegal lotteries?

To ensure that one is not participating in or conducting an illegal lottery, one must verify such competitions with the National Lotteries NLC prior to part taking or making arrangements to conduct any competition or scheme.

6. Where can i obtain more information on lotteries?

Information is available from the following sources on the NLC website, www.nlcsa.org.za :

  • Lotteries Act 57 of 1997, as amended
  • Private Lotteries Regulations (No.R.414)
  • Society Lottery Regulations (No.R.415)
  • Lotteries Incidental to Exempt Entertainment Regulations (No.R.413)

Contact the Regulatory Compliance Division at the nLC via email at: compenforce@nlcsa.org.za

A proactive funding model for inclusive growth

ECD ContainerStarting out as the National Lotteries Board (NLB) in 1999, the organisation became a Commission in 2015 when the Lotteries Act was amended. Up to that point NLC funding was solely application-based, and each sector would announce a ‘call for applications’ for a specified period.

Regulations that came into effect in 2015 have given the NLC powers to implement proactive funding (based on research), where the organisation could identify areas of need, conduct research on worthy causes and make recommendations for funding – including in times of emergency.

How the pie is shared:

Did you know?

As per the 2015 regulations, NLC funding is categorised into the following:

  • Small grants (up to R 500 000)
  • Medium grants (R 500 000 – R 5 million)
  • Large grants (in excess of R 5 million)

Funding for impact changing lives securing futures

ECD Sod turning in Northern CapeFor almost two decades the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has worked to uplift communities across South Africa.

The NLC protects the public by regulating lotteries and uplifts communities by providing funding to good causes.

With over R20 billion distributed in funding to NPOs, NGOs, Section-21 Companies, Public Benefit Trusts, municipalities, schools and educational institutions in the areas of Charities, Sports and Recreation and Arts, Culture and National Heritage, the funding from the NLC has played a crucial role in the development of a holistic society.


To be the catalyst for social upliftment.


  • To regulate all lotteries and sports pools with integrity and ensure the protection of all participants;
  • To maximize revenue for good causes in a responsible manner; and
  • To distribute funds equitably and expeditiously.

Core Values

The NLC is committed to achieving sustainable growth through the practice of good corporate governance, provision of excellent service and sound regulatory practice. In fulfilling the Mission the NLC embraces:

  • Integrity;
  • Performance excellence;
  • Service excellence; and
  • Social consciousness.

The NLC has developed a collaborative culture with stakeholders. This is visible through platforms such at the national Indaba and the Post Indaba Stakeholder Engagements in each province.

The suggestions received from stakeholders at these platforms help the NLC to plan the way forward, and assist in creating the desired customer experiences.

Demand and supply: A delicate balancing act

The demand for grant funding always exceeds available resources and the NLC cannot satisfy every need. For this reason, strategic decisions have been taken regarding the focus for grant funding in each year.

Priority areas for funding are now outlined with in the adverts to ensure that there is a fair distribution of funds.

Building sustaniability for beneficiaries

Before NLC interventionFunding for impact goes beyond the distribution of grants. While the NLC provides funds to NGOs/NPOs to serve communities, the aim is not to create a culture of dependency, but rather sustainability.

With this in mind, a programme of capacity building for beneficiaries was developed and rolled out in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State and the North West during 2016.

The capacity building programme was targeted at selected beneficiary organisations, equipping them with skills in governance, financial management, project management and procurement. Pitched at NQF Level 4, with training provided by a SAQA-accredited institution, the programme gives participants skills that will be recognised in the marketplace and empower them as individuals as well.

The Capacity Building Programme aims to empower beneficiaries to reach a position where they are able to access alternative sources of funding.

Giving a lifeline to the children of Vuwani

Before NLC intervention“The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future”. – Oliver Reginald Tambo

When an ‘SOS’ was sent out for assistance to schools which were razed to the ground during a series of protests in Vuwani (Limpopo) in 2016, the NLC was among the first to take action to help.

Over 20 schools were destroyed and learners were left stranded at a critical time in the academic calendar.

After NLC proactive fundingThrough its proactive funding initiative, the NLC provided funds to rebuild Vhafamadi Secondary School in Ha-Mashau - a life changing intervention that saw learners using the facilities at the start of the 2017 calendar year. Funds from the NLC made it possible to build:

  • New classroom blocks;
  • Library;
  • Computer lab;
  • Science lab;
  • National Schools Nutrition Programme standard kitchen;
  • Multi-purpose hall;
  • Installation of palisade fence to minimise instances of vandalism;and
  • For the first time, the school was equipped with flushing toilets.
…Principal hails NLC as good corporate citizen

After NLC proactive fundingAt a launch event in December 2016, Vhafamadi Principal Mashau Thenga expressed the school and community’s gratitude to the NLC for its assistance. In 2016, Vhafamadi had enrolled 867 learners with 26 educators.

“We are so grateful to the NLC for coming to our rescue in rebuilding the school. This is an important lifeline for hundreds of children whose future was seriously threatened. We are proud of the work that the NLC is doing, not just in our area but throughout the entire country in ensuring a better future for our people,” Thenga said.

With Limpopo MEC for Education Ishmael Kgetjepe in attendance, Principal Thenga made a commitment on behalf of the teachers, students and the community in general to do all in their power to ensure that the facilities are protected, well maintained and kept in good state of repair.

Hailing the work of the NLC, MEC Kgetjepe commented: “The NLC continues to live up to its solid reputation as the catalyst for social upliftment throughout South Africa. It deserves all of our support in all its programmes”.

Proactive funding

Despite recent rains, the long-term effects of the drought persist in water scarce South Africa, and the NLC continues to urge communities across the country to continue to conserve water.

South Africa remains a water scarce country, and is not yet out of the woods when it comes to the long-term effects of the dry spell of 2015/2016.

In response to the needs of communities in need, proactive funding of R 50 million was allocated for drought relief through the installation of boreholes in areas with the most critical need.

Working closely with the Department of Water and Sanitation and municipalities to identify the sites for the boreholes, groundwater was tested before the drilling and installation began.

From this amount, 200 boreholes were installed in various communities in Limpopo, the Free State, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

Fast facts

 The provincial spread for the boreholes is as follows:

  • Eastern Cape: 29
  • Free State: 47
  • Limpopo: 50
  • Mpumalanga: 50
  • North West: 24

The open call for applications - a benefit for good causes

In 2016, the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) launched an Open Call for Applications as testimony to its determination to improve service delivery and live up to the brand promise of a 150 day turnaround time from the submission of an application to the communication of the outcome.

 What does the open call mean for grant applicants?
  • NLC Capacity Building graduation in MpumalangaApplications for funding will be accepted throughout the year at all NLC offices with no closing date.
  • Previously, the fixed-term call for applications saw the NLC accept applications only if they were submitted during a fixed period (usually three months) annually. This often resulted in worthy causes not being able to access funding at other times.
  • The new system will:
    • Assist applicants to plan better;
    • Allow for a continuous flow of applications spread across the year;
    • Improve the applicant’s experience;
    • Improve turnaround time in line with the amended Lotteries Act and regulations; and
    • Assist in ensuring that each Province is allocated a minimum of 5% of the budget available per Sector.
  • In line with the Lotteries Act No 57 of 1999 (as amended), funding will be limited to one application per organisation.
  • Organisations will also have a “cooling-off” period of twelve months after receipt of the last payment across all sectors.
Strong roots for healthy growth

At the end of the 2014/2015 financial year, a R 500 million boost was allocated toward Early Childhood Education (ECD) infrastructure.

207 organisations were approved for funding, and the projects were launched in the 2016/2017 financial year.

The targeted funding was made available for this focus area due to the awareness around ECD as a critical component of school readiness. A component that does not only focus on the blackboard, but also on play, nutrition and other areas of physical and mental development.

95 brick-and-mortar structures and 112 fully equipped ‘edutainers’ will now serve various communities where infrastructure was previously a concern. The edutainers are provided in instances where land ownership issues may exist – allowing the NLC and funded organisation to relocate the units if need be.

Good to know:
  • All the sites for the ECD centres have been selected in partnership with the  Provincial Social Development departments, which helped to identify the communities with the most pressing needs.
  • Building plans for the brick and mortar schools have also been pre-approved by  the department and accommodate up to 120 children.
  • The ‘edutainers’ are converted shipping containers, which include an office, sick bay  and kitchenette unit. They accommodate a maximum of 30 children.
Contact us

National Lotteries Commission Head Office

Physical Address:

Block D, Hatfield Gardens, 333 Grosvenor Street, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0083
Switchboard: 012 432 1300
Fax: 086 523 7127

National Lotteries Commission @sa_nlc @sa_nlc

Postal Address:

Private Bag X101, Brooklyn Square, South Africa, Pretoria, 0075

Telephone: 08600 NLDTF (65383)
Email: nldtf@nlcsa.org.za

Provincial Offices:

Eastern Cape 043 813 3510
KwaZulu-Natal 031 817 4410
Limpopo 015 299 4660
Mpumalanga 013 813 4810
Northern Cape 053 813 4310
Western Cape 021 816 1810
Free State 057 815 3010
North West 018 815 3010

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