The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Don’t stirrup trouble this Melbourne Cup

4 November 2019

Kiwis are known for their unbridled enthusiasm for the Melbourne Cup, and for ponying up a few bucks for sweepstakes.

Te Tari Taiwhenua, Department of Internal Affairs, wants to ensure you’re on track for running a winning sweepstake.

If you’re holding the reins, make sure your sweepstake goes off without a hitch by following these rules, straight from the horse’s mouth:

  • Hold your horses – prize money can’t exceed $500.
  • No horsing around – all money raised must be returned as prizes.
  • Rein it in – firearms, liquor, tobacco and sexual services are all prohibited prizes.
  • Get off your high horse – 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 Kiwis can enjoy safe and fair gambling that contributes to community wellbeing.

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:

Don’t get saddled with a fine. Conducting illegal gambling can result in a fine of up to $20,000.

So, if you are thinking of running a sweepstake you can, but avoid any horse play by making sure you understand and comply with the rules.


Media Desk
Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs
Mobile: +64 27 535 8639 email: