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Lottery Funding in South Africa

When you play any National Lottery game, you help to support good causes in South Africa. It is the primary aim of the lottery operator to distribute funding to those that need it. Find out more about how this lottery funding works and the sort of services which benefit.

  • R25 Billion + Raised for good causes since the National Lottery started
  • 110,000 + Projects that have received grants
  • 27% Of the revenue from ticket sales goes to good causes
  • R150 Million – Relief Fund set up to help charitable groups during the Covid-19 outbreak

Where Lottery Money Goes

Every time you buy a National Lottery ticket, the revenue is split several ways. The National Lottery operator has to pay out prizes, cover its operating costs and pay commission to all the retailers who sell tickets. The main focus, though, is on supporting good causes, which receive around 27% of the revenue from each lottery ticket sold. Visit the Distribution of Revenue page to find out more about how the money is split.

The National Lotteries Commission (NLC), which regulates the National Lottery, is responsible for allocating money to worthy projects through the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF). The table below shows the different sectors which receive support and a breakdown of where the money goes.

Sector Percentage of Fund
Charities 47%
Sport and Recreation 28%
Arts, Culture and Heritage 23%
Miscellaneous 2%
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    Charitable organisations receive the largest chunk of the NLDTF's annual budget for distribution of funds. According to regulations, at least half of the money must go to benefiting home-based care services for the ill, elderly or vulnerable, or providing facilities to help early childhood education, adult literacy or the disabled.

    You can apply for funding if you can prove that organisation would:

    • Benefit the community as a whole
    • Support disadvantaged or underprivileged groups such as the elderly, vulnerable and disabled.

    Sport and Recreation

    The NLC is committed to developing sport and recreation at all levels, funnelling billions into this sector in recent years. At least half of the funding must go towards projects which try to improve facilities in remote areas or are accessible to everyone, including disabled people.

    You can apply for funding whether you are a national organisation or a community scheme, as long as you can demonstrate at least one of the following:

    • You will help more people to take part in sports and recreation
    • You aim to provide facilities that can be accessed by everyone in the community, including disadvantaged groups.

    Arts, Culture and Heritage

    The funding in this sector goes to organisations which are dedicated to developing art or culture, or preserving heritage. Regulations are in place to ensure that at least half of the money is given to promoting arts and crafts produced by women and people with disabilities, protecting cultural heritage sites, assisting women farmers or promoting traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.

    Funding will be considered for any organisation which:

    • Makes art more accessible to the wider public.
    • Highlights the importance of culture and the country’s historical, natural and architectural heritage.


    A small percentage of the NLDTF's total fund is reserved for those non-profit organisations which do not fit into any of the other categories.

    How to Apply For Lottery Funding

    Applications for grants open at various times throughout the year. These calls for applicants are announced during live television broadcasts, through major radio stations and the print media. To be eligible for funding, you must provide the following:

    • Proof of registration as a non-profit organisation, your founding documents and two annual audited financial statements
    • A description of your project, the motivation behind it, a project implementation plan and a detailed budget.

    Funding is split into three categories – small, medium and large grants. You can apply for a small grant if you need funding of any amount up to R500,000, while medium grants cover projects which need between R500,0000 and R5 million. If you require a large grant of R5 million or more, the application criteria are more stringent.


    Thousands of projects have benefited from funding since the National Lottery was established in 2000. The vast majority are small community initiatives designed to help people in their local areas, but the NLC also supports national projects. The largest beneficiary has been the South African Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee, which has been granted over R700 million. In 2020, the NLC set up a relief fund of R150 million to help non-government organisations to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.