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​Games of chance

What is a game of chance?

This is any game, usually played for money or some other prize, where chance determines the winner – such as drawing numbers, turning cards or tossing coins.

While games of chance can involve some element of skill, luck decides the outcome. The result is random, so anyone can win, or lose.

List of games of chance

    Art unions

    An art union is a lottery to raise money for a non-profit organisation.

    The total retail value of prizes must be more than $30,000, but the total value of money prizes can't be more than $30,000. If the prize is a tour or journey, money cannot form more than 20% of the value of the prize.

    A minimum of 30% of the gross proceeds must go to a not-for-profit organisation.

    You need a permit for an art union lottery.

    You must also lodge an art union games of chance application form​ (PDF, 459KB).

    Learn more from our art union fact sheet (PDF, 354KB).

    Card jackpot games

    This free entry lottery usually involves a pack of 52 playing cards and a joker all lying face down. Players turn a card for the chance to win a prize by choosing the joker.

    If no one draws the joker, the prize jackpots and organisers repeat the draw.

    A card jackpot game is a form of trade promotion, so you need to apply for a trade promotions permit (PDF, 585KB) to run this lottery. There is an application fee.​

    If you link a raffle to a card jackpot game and sell tickets, a minimum of 40% of the gross proceeds must go to a not-for-profit organisation.

    You must make the lottery rules – also known as terms and conditions – easily available to all entrants 

    You can get a template for terms and conditions in the card jackpot game and other similar games guidelines​ (DOC, 69KB).

    Learn more from our card jackpot games fact sheet (PDF, 305KB).

    Charity housie

    Charity housie – also cash housie – is similar to club bingo. However, organisations conduct charity housie to raise money for charities. Players usually use electronic or printed tickets bearing numbered squares.

    A housie caller chooses numbers at random and announces them to the players. Each player marks off the numbers on their ticket as the caller announces them. A player wins when they mark off all the numbers in a particular series e.g. one line, race track or full house.

    The main difference to club bingo is that prizes can be cash – up to $5,000. In bingo, prizes cannot be cash. The total value of prizes cannot be more than $5,000.

    You can only conduct charity housie to raise money for a charity and you must lodge an application to conduct fundraising games of chance (PDF, 397KB) to get a permit.

    The charity must receive at least 12.5% of the gross proceeds from the sale of the housie tickets.

    Learn more from our charity housie fact sheet​ (PDF, 1.3MB).

    Chocolate wheels

    Chocolate wheels are where people buy numbered tickets. The organiser spins a wheel that has numbers matching those on the tickets. Once the wheel stops on a specific number, the person holding that numbered ticket wins a prize.

    You can only run a chocolate wheel to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation and you must lodge an application to conduct fundraising games of chance (PDF, 397KB)​ to get a permit.

    A minimum of 40% of the gross proceeds must go to a not-for-profit organisation. You can give away a maximum of $500 as a prize.

    Learn more from our chocolate wheels fact sheet (PDF, 202KB).

    Club bingo

    Club bingo is also known as bingo or housie.

    You can only conduct club bingo at a club registered under the Registered Clubs Act 1976 to attract people to the club's premises. You can sell tickets only to members and their guests.

    You cannot offer cash prizes. A single prize value cannot exceed $40 and the total value of prizes in one game cannot be more than $70.

    You do not need a permit for club bingo.

    Learn more from our club bingo fact sheet (PDF, 268KB).

    Football doubles

    A football double is a type of no draw lottery that involves buying sealed tickets that have numbers printed on them. The winner is the person whose numbers match the jersey numbers of the first 2 scorers in a particular football match.

    You can only conduct this game to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation and you do not need a permit. A minimum of 40% of the gross profits must go to a not-for-profit organisation.

    Total value of prizes cannot exceed $7,000.

    Learn more from our football doubles fact sheet (PDF, 345KB).

    Gaming nights (casino nights)

    The format of gaming nights usually involve people getting or buying chips, tokens or imitation money to play casino games such as roulette, blackjack or crown and anchor.

    You can hold gaming nights as entertainment, or to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation. The chips people use during a gaming night must not have a value that players can redeem for cash.

    You do not need a permit for a gaming night.

    Learn more from our gaming nights fact sheet (PDF, 345KB).

    Gratuitous lotteries

    Examples of these lotteries include lucky door or lucky seat promotions, complete a survey, or early bird purchase of art union tickets.

    The total value of prizes cannot exceed $30,000 and the law prohibits money prizes. You don't need a permit for a gratuitous lottery.

    You cannot conduct a gratuitous lottery to promote any trade or business. For this, you need to apply for a trade promotions permit (PDF, 585KB) to run a competition.

    You cannot charge an entry or participation fee for this type of lottery. Learn more from our gratuitous lotteries fact sheet (PDF, 113KB).​​​

    ​Guessing competitions

    A guessing competition is a form of raffle – if you sell tickets for people to enter. This is a popular way for not-for-profit organisations to raise money.

    The total retail value of your prize – or the total value of your money prize – cannot be more than $30,000.

    A minimum of 40% of the gross proceeds must go to a not-for-profit organisation.

    You don't need a permit to hold a guessing competition.

    Learn more from our raffles fact sheet (PDF, 329KB).

    Lucky envelopes

    This is a game where participants win a prize if they expose a hidden number that is the same as a number displayed on a chart at a point of sale.

    You can only run a lucky envelope game to raise money for a charity and you must lodge an application to conduct fundraising games of chance (PDF, 329KB) to get a permit.

    A minimum of 40% of the gross proceeds must go to a charity.

    Learn more from our lucky envelopes fact sheet​ (PDF, 202KB).

    Mini-numbers

    Mini-numbers lotteries go by many names – mini-lotto, lionball, kick-a-ball, make-a-mark and pick-the-pack.

    A player pays a small entry fee and selects 6 numbers from a maximum of 20. Organisers draw 6 numbers. If a player gets all 6 numbers he or she wins a prize. The prize jackpots to the next draw if no one has all 6 numbers.

    You can only run a mini-numbers lottery to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation. You don't need a permit.

    The total value of cash prizes must not be more than $10,000.

    The total value of prizes cannot exceed $20,000 and must be at least 50% of the gross proceeds.

    A minimum of 40% of the gross proceeds must go to a not-for-profit organisation.

    Learn more from our mini-numbers fact sheet (PDF, 652KB).

    No-draw lotteries

    No-draw lotteries are also known as break-open or scratch lotteries.

    Players buy a ticket that contains one or more hidden symbols that they reveal by removing or scratching off some covering material. The tickets are similar to scratch lottery tickets.

    The total value of prizes cannot exceed $10,000.

    You can only run a no-draw lottery to raise money for a non-profit organisation. You don't need a permit.

    Learn more from our no-draw lotteries fact sheet (PDF, 917KB).

    Progressive lotteries

    Progressive lotteries are games where you conduct a number of draws on various dates over a set period.

    The most common types of progressive lotteries are hundred clubs,silver circles and tipping competitions.

    You can only run a progressive lottery for entertainment or to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation. You don't need a permit if you keep total sales below $25,000.

    However, you must lodge an application to conduct a progressive lottery (PDF, 401KB) if your total sales are more than $25,000.

    The total value of money prizes cannot exceed $7,000.

    Learn more from our progressive lotteries fact sheet (PDF, 362KB).

    Promotional raffles

    Registered clubs can run promotional raffles to entertain members and other patrons. They are different to raffles designed to raise funds.

    The maximum value of a single prize you can offer is $150. However, you can offer one special prize valued at up to $700. You can also offer a bonus prize but its value cannot be more than $70. You cannot offer cash prizes.

    You don't need a permit for a promotional raffle. However, you can conduct this game only on the premises of a registered club.

    Learn more from our promotional raffles fact sheet (PDF, 829KB)​.

    Raffles (fund raising)

    A raffle is a lottery where the total retail value of the prizes – or the total value of money prizes – doesn't exceed $30,000.

    Organisers usually determine prizes by drawing tickets from a barrel or other container, or by using an electronic device (often called a random number generator).

    You can only run a raffle to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation. You don't need a permit.

    A minimum of 40% of the gross proceeds must go to a not-for-profit organisation.

    Learn more from our raffles fact sheet (PDF, 329KB).

    ​Social housie

    Social housie is a game where players use electronic or printed tickets bearing numbered squares or symbols. The cost of a card or ticket cannot be more than 40 cents.

    A housie caller chooses numbers or symbols at random and announces them to the players. Each player marks off the numbers or symbols on their ticket as the caller announces them. A player wins when they are first to mark off all the numbers or symbols on their ticket.

    You can conduct social housie only for entertainment, or to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation.

    You don't need a permit for social housie, but you can't conduct this game on the premises of a registered club or on licensed premises.

    You can offer cash prizes. However, the total value of prizes in a game cannot exceed $40 and the total value of jackpot prizes in a session of games cannot be more than $200.

    Learn more from our social housie fact sheet​ (PDF, 399KB).

    Sweeps and calcuttas

    A sweep is a game where a player buys a ticket that gives them a contestant – such as a horse or another competitor – in an event. The Melbourne Cup is a good example.

    The sweep organisers distribute the prize pool (all or some of the total ticket sales) to the players who hold the winners and placegetters in the event.

    A calcutta is the same as a sweep up to the completion of the draw. After the draw, an auction takes place where everyone who bought a ticket can bid for each contestant in turn.

    Players who succeed in the draw can sell their contestant and take half of the proceeds, or keep the contestant by making (and paying half of) the highest bid.

    Anyone can conduct a sweep or calcutta for entertainment or to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation.

    However, you must lodge an application to conduct a sweep or calcutta (PDF, 280KB) if your total sales are more than $20,000

    Learn more from our sweeps and calcuttas fact sheet (PDF, 876KB).

    Tipping competitions

    A tipping competition is a type of progressive lottery where players forecast the results of a sporting contest and accumulate points for successful predictions.

    Organisers distribute the prize pool to the people who acquire the most points over a set period, such as a season's worth of football.

    You can run a tipping competition partly to entertain and partly to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation.

    The total value of money prizes cannot exceed $7,000.

    You must apply for a trade promotions permit(PDF, 647KB) when the prizes are worth more than $25,000, when there is no entry fee, or when the prize pool exceeds the total amount paid by players as entrance fees – less any costs incurred in running the competition.

    Learn more from our FS3002 Tipping competitions fact sheet​​ (PDF, 264KB).

    Trade promotions

    This free-entry lottery allows businesses to promote their goods or services. It's sometimes called a sweepstake, competition, contest or giveaway and it must have an element of chance to determine whether you award a prize.

    However, trade promotions do not include games of skill where organisers judge the entries, such as a write in 25 words or less competition.

    The most common example of a trade promotion is when people buy a particular good or service and get the chance to enter a lottery to win a prize.

    You need to apply for a trade ​promotions permit to run the competition. There is an application fee.

     

     

    ​If you need to change your permit, you need to apply for an amendment. There is an amendment fee.

    ​Lottery rules – also known as terms and conditions – must be available to entrants free.

     

    If your application is approved you need to follow permit conditions (PDF, 214KB).

    Businesses that want to run a trade promotions lottery can learn more from our trade promotions fact sheet for businesses (PDF, 477KB).

    Consumers who want to know their rights with a trade promotions lottery can learn more from our trade promotions fact sheet for consumers (PDF, 647KB)​.

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