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Raffles with prizes of NZ$500 or less

What is a raffle?
A raffle is a lottery with prizes totalling NZ$500.00 or less. All raffles and lotteries must follow rules set out in the Gaming and Lotteries Act.

Your game is a raffle or lottery if:
  • people buy tickets to enter
  • the result is decided by a draw (which is random and entirely dependent on chance)
  • people can win prizes.
If your game misses one of these points it is not a raffle or a lottery. However, if it has an element of chance, it might still be covered by the Gaming and Lotteries Act.

If the total retail value of your prizes is more than NZ$500.00, you must have a licence. To get a licence you need to be a society raising funds for authorised purposes, and make an application for a licence.

Rules: Raffles with prizes totaling NZ$50 - NZ$500
A raffle cannot jackpot.

It is illegal to offer the following as prizes:
  • firearms and ammunition
  • liquor
  • second hand goods
  • land not zoned residential (e.g. commercial/industrial land)
  • vouchers or entitlements for the above.

You cannot pay anyone commission to run (or help with) your raffle. No other payments to organisers or ticket sellers are allowed either - unless your organiser already works for the society, in which case they can be paid their normal salary.

Raffles with prize values between NZ$50 and NZ$500
Only a society can conduct this kind of raffle. Individuals and commercial businesses can not.

A society is a body established and run entirely for non-commercial purposes. Types of organisations which may be societies include:
  • Boards of Trustees or PTAs
  • charitable trusts
  • chartered clubs
  • church groups
  • amateur sports clubs affiliated to a recognised organisation.

Profits must be for authorised purposes only
Profits must be used for "authorised purposes" only. Profits cannot be used for personal or commercial gain.
Authorised purposes are charitable, philanthropic, cultural and party political purposes, and other purposes that are beneficial to the community or a section of it.

Examples of things that could be authorised purposes include:
  • refurbishment of a local marae
  • computers for a school
  • a sports trip for a recognised amateur sports team.

Examples of things that would not be authorised purposes are:
  • funds for a family reunion
  • an overseas trip for yourself
  • the cost of "after match" functions for sporting groups
  • funds to support your business.

The organiser
Your society must appoint an organiser to be responsible for running your raffle, who is a member of your society or someone your society has authorised to run the raffle.

You must print special tickets for your raffle, except when tickets are sold only to members of your own society.

Your tickets must be consecutively numbered and include all of the information on the draft ticket shown here. You cannot alter any of this information once tickets have gone on sale.

  • Any advertising material for your raffle should include all the information which has to be printed on the ticket.
  • You can sell raffle tickets for up to three months.
  • After you start selling tickets, you cannot change the prizes you are offering or the authorised purpose for which you are raising funds.
  • Tickets can only be given to people who have requested them and no ticket should be held in the name of, or on behalf of, your society.
  • The organiser needs to keep track of ticket sales, keep a record of what ticket numbers have been distributed for sale, and collect all unsold tickets, butts and cash when the raffle closes.

You must inform the police
At least seven days before your raffle tickets go on sale the organiser should contact the nearest police station and advise them of:
  • when and where you will draw the raffle, and
  • what you will spend the profits on.

The police do not have to supervise the draw for this type of raffle.

The draw
Your raffle must be drawn within 14 days of the closing date. Only tickets that have been sold can be included in the draw. The draw must be fair and open to the public. Getting an independent person from the community to draw the raffle is a good idea.

Publishing the results
The results must be published within one week of being drawn. There are two types of raffle where you do not have to publish the results:
  • When your raffle is sold only to members of your society.
  • When the raffle is ancillary to the provision of entertainment. These raffles must be sold, drawn and the result announced inside the venue while the entertainment is being provided. You should not promote the raffle as the main reason for people to attend the entertainment. All the other rules still apply to this sort of raffle.

Prizes can only be given to the person who purchased the winning ticket. If a prize has not been claimed within three months then you should sell it and apply the proceeds to your authorised purpose.

Keep records for at least two years
You may be directed to provide audited records about your raffle to Inspectors of Gaming or the Police, if any complaints are made about your raffle.

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Rules: Raffles with prize values up to NZ$50
If the total value of your prizes is NZ$50.00 or under, you can run private raffles, or raffles at fairs and similar public events.
In both cases, the raffle can only be advertised, sold and drawn inside the venue.

For these raffles you do not have to print special tickets, notify the police, advertise your results, or retain audited records.

Private raffles
You can run a private raffle with prizes of NZ$50.00 or less in a club, workplace or hotel.

This type of raffle can be run by a person or a society.

If a person runs a private raffle, all proceeds must be returned as prizes. If a society runs the raffle then the proceeds can be returned as prizes or put towards an authorised purpose.

Raffles at fairs, galas or similar public events
A typical example is the chook raffle run at school fairs.

The raffle cannot be promoted as the main reason for people to come to the fair.

These raffles can only be run by a society, which can return the proceeds as prizes or put them towards an authorised purpose.

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Last updated: 18/02/2004