The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Running a RWC sweepstake?

9 September 2011

With the Rugby World Cup tournament about to kick off the Department of Internal Affairs has issued a reminder about the rules for running a sweep.

Under the Gambling Act 2003, sweepstakes are a form of class 1 gambling where the total value of all the prizes offered is no more than $500, all entry money is returned as prizes and no one is paid to run the sweepstake. This means that the number of teams playing will determine how much can be charged for each ticket— with 20 teams in the Rugby World Cup, the maximum price of tickets would be $25.

The Department’s Acting Director of Gambling Compliance, Debbie Despard, says sweepstakes can add to people’s enjoyment of the tournament but, whether they are run in offices, pubs or clubs they need to comply with the law.

“To avoid the risk of problems we suggest it’s best to keep it small and keep it simple. Sweepstakes are intended to be small-scale gambling with simple rules, designed mostly to help protect employers, clubs and staff,” Debbie Despard said.

“People can run more than one sweepstake at the same office, pub or club but they must keep the money from each one separate. Each sweepstake must pay its own prizes and the total value of all prizes in each sweepstake must not exceed $500.

“It is illegal to operate as a bookmaker in New Zealand where bookies get a share of the funds and the value of the funds exceeds $500. Bookmaking activities include taking bets, organising pool betting, matching gamblers, and laying or offering odds.

"If people want to place larger bets on the cup then there are other legal ways of doing that outside of sweepstakes – under the Racing Act 2003 only the NZ Racing Board through the TAB can offer sports betting.”

See our website for more information.
Media contact:
Trevor Henry, senior communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679