The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


How to run a Melbourne Cup sweepstake without ending up with a long face

5 November 2018

Kiwis are known for their unbridled enthusiasm for the Melbourne Cup, and for ponying up in the workplace sweepstake.

  • The Department of Internal Affairs doesn’t want to spoil the mane event for anyone this Tuesday, so those saddled with responsibility for running a sweepstake should keep these rules in mind:
  • Prize money can’t exceed $500. Otherwise, you’ll need to apply for a licence.
  • Any money raised must be returned as prizes.
  • Firearms, liquor, tobacco and vouchers for sexual services are all prohibited prizes. So you’ll need to rein it in if you planned to offer these as sweepstake prizes.
  • The organiser can’t pocket a fee or profit in any way from holding a sweepstake.
DIA’s role in regulating gambling
We regulate casino and non-casino gambling in New Zealand to ensure it’s fair, honest and New Zealanders benefit from it.

Workplace sweepstakes, such as those run during the Melbourne Cup, are allowed under the Gambling Act 2003 but must comply with certain rules, which are summarised above and can be found can be found in full here:

Breaching the Gambling Act for a workplace sweepstake can result in a fine of up to $1,000. So, if you are thinking of running a sweepstake you can – the hurdles are not too hard and make a lot of sense— but do make sure you understand and comply with the rules.