Hoppa yfir valmynd
Ministry of Justice

Law on Lotteries, No. 38/2005

In case of any discrepancies between the original text in Icelandic and the translation, only the original text as published in the Official Gazette of Iceland (Stjórnartíðindi) is authentic. Please note as well that amendments may have been made since the translations were prepared.

Law on lotteries,
No. 38/2005


Article 1


This Act applies to any kind of lottery with public participation, with or without contribution, where the prize is selected partly or fully in a random manner or the prize is determined by the result of a contest or an event. The Act, furthermore, applies to commercially operated lotteries even though they are not open to the general public. The Minister will stipulate further on definitions, types and categories of lotteries in a regulation.

Article 2

Operation of lotteries

In order to maintain public order and to counter harmful effects on the public it is prohibited to operate lotteries without a license from the District Commissioner unless otherwise stipulated in this Act. The Minister can stipulate that one specific District Commissioner shall handle all licensing.The license shall be subject to further conditions according to this Act and regulations set according to it. Tombolas are also prohibited without a license from the District Commissioner.

The operation of a lottery where money or tokens of money are at stake is prohibited without a specific authorisation by law. The Act shall stipulate the lottery form, fees, operating conditions and operating form. According to this paragraph lotteries shall, in other respects, be subject to the provisions of article 3, paragraph 1; article 5, paragraph 1; article 6 and articles 9-11.

Administrative decisions taken by the District Commissioner regarding licensing are subject to a complaint to the Ministry of Justice.


Article 3


A license to operate a lottery or a tombola, according to article 2, paragraph 1, can only be granted to a company, association or institution that is established in the European Economic Area, for the purpose of obtaining money for public benefit in Iceland, such as for social issues, nursing and caring, cultural issues, sports or charity, and international humanitarian work. A license may not be granted to parties with the intention of operating a lottery for other purposes.

A lottery license may not be granted to the same body more than three times each calendar year.

The Minister may decide in a regulation that District Commissioners be in charge of granting licenses for minor lotteries where the total money value of the prizes does not exceed further specified amount limitations. The Minister can, furthermore, authorise District Commissioners in a regulation to grant licenses for local betting lotteries.


Article 4

Exemption from license obligation

The Minister can exempt from the license obligation a minor lottery that a company or a group calls for in order to entertain or raise funds. The prizes shall then be goods or services. The Minister determines further on their implementation in a regulation.


Article 5

Conditions for granting a license

A lottery license may be subject to the condition that a license holder provide funds for research and measures aimed at fighting problem gambling and its consequences.

A lottery license shall generally have the condition that there be no more than one draw in the lottery. The sales period of a lottery shall be no longer than three months from the day indicated in the license. The Minister sets further rules on the drawing arrangement in a regulation.


Article 6

Minimum age

The District Commissioner can, in granting a license, set a minimum age for those allowed to participate in a lottery, but it shall not be less than 18 years.


Article 7

Prize value

A regulation shall determine the proportion of the value of prizes to the total sales of tickets issued in each individual class of lottery. This ratio shall, nevertheless, be a minimum of 16.67%.


Article 8

License fee

A license fee shall be paid for the lottery license according to provisions of the Act on Treasury Secondary Income.


Article 9

Licensee obligations

A lottery license holder shall see to it that the conditions of this Act and corresponding regulations be enforced. The license holder shall provide reports or statements on the operations as further determined by the Minister.


Article 10


The District Commissioner shall monitor implementation of this Act. The Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affaris shall however monitor the implementation of lotteries under article 2, paragraph 2. Should a specific cost be incurred due to the monitoring, for specialist review of reports or license holder accounts, cf. article 9, review of license holder software or equipment or specific inspections of whether the conditions of this Act are met, then the respective license holder may be charged with the cost so incurred.


Article 11


It is subject to fines or imprisonment for up to six months, unless a more severe penalty applies according to other legislation, if a person:

      by determination or due to gross negligence operates a lottery or betting activities in Iceland without a lottery license according to this Act.

      by determination or gross negligence advertises, promotes or conveys any information of a lottery which has not been granted a license according to this Act or does not fulfill the conditions of the Act.


If the infringement falling under paragraph 1 is extensive or repeated, it may be subject to imprisonment for up to one year.

It is subject to fines if a person does with determination or due to gross negligence:

      for commercial purposes and without the authorisation of a lottery license holder advertises, presents, conveys or promotes participation in a lottery which is operated according to this Act,

      offers for sale any kind of lottery items without the authorisation of a lottery license holder.

If there is a violation within the legal party's operations the legal party may be fined according to Chapter II A of the Penal Code.


Article 12


The Minister may set further rules on the implementation of this Act.

Article 13

Entry into force and repealed Acts

This Act enters into force on 1 July 2005. .



Disclaimer: This section of the site details available translations on legislation relating to the Government Offices in Iceland. In case of any discrepancies between the translations and the original text in Icelandic, the original text as published in the Icelandic Legal Gazette prevails.

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