The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Services › Casino and Non-Casino Gaming › The Rules for Running a Gambling Activity

There are a number of gambling activities that societies (and in limited circumstances individuals) can run. These include housie, lotteries, games of chance, prize competitions and instant games.

If you want to run one of these games you need to follow the relevant game rules for the type of activity. You will not need a licence from the Department of Internal Affairs unless the total value of the prizes and/or the turnover exceeds certain limits.

  • Housie (also known as bingo)
  • Instant Games (i.e. scratch and win games run by schools and mystery envelopes)
  • Games of Chance (i.e. gaming session, filly stakes and parlour derby)
  • Lotteries (i.e. raffles and sweepstakes)
  • Prize Competitions (i.e. tagged fishing competitions, sporting competitions where some or all of the entrants go into a draw, rugby tipping-type competitions, and calcuttas)
See also:

Housie

Also known as bingo

All operators of housie need to comply with the
Housie Game Rules.

Societies can run housie games. Other groups and individuals can run housie in very limited circumstances.

You do not require a licence if total value of prizes for a session is $5,000 or less, and turnover of the gambling is $25,000 or less. These may be run as either Class 1 Gambling or Class 2 Gambling.

If the total value of prizes for a session of housie games is more than $5,000 your group must be a corporate society and it will need to obtain a licence.

Housie prizes are cash. See the rules around what gambling proceeds can be used for.

See also: Fact Sheet 10 - Housie

Instant Games

Scratch and win games run by schools and mystery envelopes

You will need to comply with the
Instant Game Rules.

You do not require a licence if total value of prizes is $5,000 or less turnover of the gambling is $25,000 or less. These may be run as either Class 1 Gambling or Class 2 Gambling.

If the total value of prizes is more than $5,000 you will need to obtain a licence.

See the rules around what gambling proceeds can be used for and the list of prohibited prizes.

Games of Chance

Gaming session, filly stakes and parlour derby

You will need to comply with the
Games of Chance Game Rules.

You do not require a licence if total value of prizes for a session is $5,000 or less, and turnover of the gambling is $25,000 or less. These may be run as either Class 1 Gambling or Class 2 Gambling.

If the total value of prizes is more than $5,000 you will need to obtain a licence.

See the rules around what gambling proceeds can be used for and the list of prohibited prizes.

Lotteries

Raffles and sweepstakes

You will need to comply with the
Lottery Game Rules.

You do not require a licence if total value of prizes for a session is $5,000 or less, and turnover of the gambling is $25,000 or less. These may be run as either Class 1 Gambling or Class 2 Gambling.

If the total value of prizes is more than $5,000 your group must be a society and it will need to obtain a licence.

See the rules around what gambling proceeds can be used for and the list of prohibited prizes.

Prize Competitions

Tagged fishing competitions, sporting competitions where some or all of the entrants go into a draw, rugby tipping-type competitions, and calcuttas

You will need to comply with the
Prize Competition Game Rules

See Game Rule 10 for information about running calcuttas.

A prize competition is gambling which has an element of chance but also requires participants to exercise some knowledge or skill.

You do not require a licence if total value of prizes is $5,000 or less, and turnover of the gambling is $25,000 or less. These may be run as either Class 1 Gambling or Class 2 Gambling.

If the total value of all prizes is more than $5,000 you will need to obtain a licence.

See the rules around what gambling proceeds can be used for and the list of prohibited prizes.

A competition involving skill may not be subject to the Gambling Act 2003 requirements if there is no gambling involved.

Exemption for some spot prize competitions

When the value of your spot prizes falls within the definition of Class 3 gambling, provided your spot prize competition meets certain criteria, you do not have to apply for a Class 3 licence and your spot prize competition is exempt from the Gambling Act 2003.


The spot prize competition must comply with all of the following:
  • the spot prize competition forms part of (or is subsidiary to) a main event. A main event can be a competition (for example, a sporting or fishing competition) or other event that benefits the community in which it is held (or some wider community of which it forms part) such as a home or lifestyle show, food festival, or fashion show;
  • the spot prize draw is completed within seven days of the main event;
  • no additional consideration (direct or indirect) is required to participate in the spot prize competition (over and above any fee to participate in the main event);
  • the determination of its outcome does not involve any gaming machine;
  • no prize given out is prohibited property under the Gambling Act 2003; and
  • the main event is not itself defined as gambling.
View a copy of the exemption regulations, the Gambling (Non-gambling Activities) Regulations 2013.

If you have a query you can contact the Gambling Compliance Group on 0800 257 887 (Free phone - New Zealand only) or by email to gambling.compliance@dia.govt.nz

What gambling proceeds can be used for

Money obtained from gambling must benefit the community, as determined by the
Gambling Act 2003.

NO commission can be offered or paid to, or received by, a person for conducting gambling, except if a Licensed Promoter is employed. Licensed Promoters can be employed only by a society holding a licence to conduct Class 3 Gambling.

NO remuneration is to be offered or paid to, or received by, a person for conducting gambling, except a caller of housie or an authorised representative of the society conducting the gambling.

With the exception of Class 1 Gambling turnover and/or total prizes for Class 1 gambling are each $500 or less, and the gambling is conducted by individuals (for example, an office sweepstake or a school raffle), net proceeds from gambling must be applied or distributed to Authorised Purposes. Authorised Purposes must be non-commercial. They must also be charitable or of benefit to the community.

Proceeds from Class 1, 2 and 3 gambling (lotteries, housie, instant games etc.) can be also used for electioneering purposes.

Prohibited Prizes

It is illegal to offer the following as prizes:
  • A firearm, explosive (including ammunition), restricted weapon, or airgun
  • Liquor
  • Tobacco products
  • A taonga tuturu (an object more than 50 years old that relates to Māori culture, history or society, and was manufactured, modified, used, or brought into New Zealand by Māori)
  • Vouchers or entitlements to commercial sexual services
  • Vouchers or entitlements to any of the other property listed above.
Second-hand goods and non-residential land can be offered as prizes.

Game rules require that the nature of gambling prizes must be fully disclosed.
  • Prohibited Gambling - certain forms of gambling are specifically prohibited under the Gambling Act 2003.

Obtain a Licence

Where the prizes for any of the above games (excluding housie) exceeds $5,000 the gambling activity
must be conducted by a society and the relevant forms filled in to obtain a licence. These should be sent, with the applicable fee, to the Department's Gambling Compliance Group.

With the exception of housie, a Class 3 gambling licence is a "one-off" issued for the duration of that specific activity (e.g. lottery, gaming session, etc). Each subsequent activity requires a separate licence application.

Note: A housie licence can be granted only to a corporate society. A housie licence is valid for one year, and must be renewed each year. If it is not renewed, it expires at the end of the 12-month period for which it was issued.

Class 3 Operator's Licence Application Forms