NSW Raffle Rules
Raffles are a time honoured and popular way to raise funds for your favourite cause. The regulations can be a bit of a minefield (and vary so much State-to-State). No wonder you are wondering what the NSW raffle rules are!
A raffle could be loosely defined as any game of chance where there is a limited number of tickets sold, and where each ticket has the same chance of winning as every other ticket sold. But as you know, there are a million and one ways to go about a raffle. From parking a wheelbarrow full of goodies outside the local shops, to raffling off fancy houses on the Gold Coast, to a good old Friday night chook raffle or meat tray draw at the pub (yes, chook raffles are still alive and well).
In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that the only limits on running a raffle are the number of helpers you can rope in, and your imagination. But you would be wrong.
Raffles are classified by all Australian States and Territories as ‘gaming’ and, alongside casinos and licensed clubs, raffles are subject to regulation designed to protect the consumer, and the people conducting the gaming. The maze of legislation and regulation which surrounds raffles can be very daunting to the small community-based fundraiser (or, for that matter, to us!), and I would not be surprised if some raffles had been abandoned in the face of it.
As the best way to avoid accidentally breaking gaming laws is to be informed, we thought it would be useful to assemble a quick-reference guide to raffle regulations in New South Wales.
A note of caution: this article is intended only as a general guide. Whilst the information provided is correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of publication, we strongly advise anyone who is planning to conduct a raffle to seek the advice of the regulating authority. Links are below. Last updated 12 March 2019.
Regulating Agency: NSW Office of Fair Trading
Key Features of NSW Raffle Rules:
- Only not-for-profit organisations can run a raffle.
- Lotteries with a prize pool in excess of $30,000 are ‘Art Unions’ and are subject to different regulations – see more information about Art Unions here.
- For raffles or guessing games run by not-for-profits where the total prizes are under $30,000, no permit is required, however they must comply with the following rules:
- The following prizes are not allowed:
- money prizes over $30,000
- tobacco products
- firearms or ammunition
- prohibited weapons
- cosmetic surgery or other procedure designed to improve personal appearance
- liquor prizes – more than 20 litres of liquor with an alcohol content not exceeding 20 percent by volume or more than 5 litres of liquor with an alcohol content exceeding 20 percent by volume.
- Fresh food such as meat trays must comply with normal NSW Health regulations. A special permit is required from the NSW Department of Primary Industries if fish is offered as a prize.
- At least 40% of gross fundraising proceeds must go to the not-for-profit organisation. Reasonable expenses, including prizes, must not exceed 60% of gross proceeds. If the raffle does not achieve the required minimum of 40 percent profit, the raffle organisers must apply to NSW Fair Trading for approval to accept the percentage achieved.
- The selling price of the ticket must be consistent for all tickets sold. Bundle deals are acceptable, however it must be offered to all purchasers equally. Eg, 3 for $5 can only be offered from the very beginning and not halfway through.
- Tickets must have a purchaser’s portion and a ticket butt.
- If computer-generated tickets are used, a ticket butt is not required if the computer records for a ticket contain the same information as the purchaser’s portion of the ticket.
- If the total value of the prizes exceeds $10,000, the purchaser’s portion must also include the price of the ticket and the full name of the benefiting organisation. A ‘rubber stamp’ imprint containing these details is acceptable.
- A raffle must be conducted fairly. You should have a plan that makes sure that tickets are secure, distributed on a purely random basis, and are not able to be manipulated. Raffle organisers cannot send tickets to any person except with the prior consent of the person, even if the person is a member of the organisation managing the raffle.
Promoting the Raffle:
- In advertising and promotion materials, purchasers must be informed:
- of the price of the ticket
- of the name of the organisation for whose benefit the raffle is being conducted
- of details of the prizes and their recommended retail value
- of the place, date and time of the draw
- how prize winners will be notified
- how the results of the draw will be published.
- It’s acceptable for this information to be provided just on the ticket.
- Tickets and any advertising or promotional material used in conjunction with the raffle must give a detailed description of the prizes. This should include:
- Machinery or electrical appliances – the make, model and accessories.
- Motor vehicles – the make, model, accessories, and whether registration and on-road costs are included.
- Travel – the number of persons entitled to take advantage of the travel prize; what is included (e.g. airfares, transfers, other transport, duration, accommodation standard, meals); restrictions on when the travel must be taken; and whether spending money is included.
- A raffle organiser must not publish any lottery advertising that:
- encourages a breach of the law
- depicts children participating in a raffle
- is false, misleading or deceptive
- suggests that winning will be a definite outcome of entering or participating in a raffle
- suggests that entering or participating in a raffle will definitely improve a person’s financial prospects
- is not conducted in accordance with decency, dignity and good taste.
- Are to be notified within two days of the draw. If the prize value exceeds $10,000, organisers must publish a list of prize winners in a newspaper within seven days of the draw.
- If a prize remains unclaimed after three months, you must seek permission from NSW Fair Trading to be able to sell the prize.
- For cash prizes above $2,000, payment must be made by a crossed cheque payable to the prize winner or by EFT only if the prize winner requests it.
- For prizes less than $10,000:
- Ticket butts, draw documents and corresponding computer-generated documents must be kept for at least three months after the date of the draw.
- The organisers must keep a record of the total amount of money received from the sale of raffle tickets and the value of the prizes.
- For prizes greater than $10,000:
- All records including unsold tickets must be kept for at least three years after the date of the draw.
- The organisers must keep a record of:
- the number of tickets printed, obtained or generated (including serial numbers)
- the number of tickets sold or distributed for sale (including serial numbers)
- the name and address of each agent of the person or organisation to which draw lottery tickets were distributed for sale, together with the number of tickets distributed and the serial numbers
- the names and contact details of all persons who bought tickets (as shown on the ticket butts or computer records)
- the names and contact details of the prize winners, together with the details of their prizes
- the number of tickets unsold (including their serial numbers).
- NSW Department of Fair Trading
- 13 32 20
- Email: Lodge an enquiry here
Originally published 12 March, 2019
You may also be interested in:
- Australian Raffle Rules
- Making the Most of your Raffle Ticket Sales
- Interesting Raffle Prizes
- 25 All-Time Best Fundraising Ideas