Sweeps and calcuttas

How to conduct sweeps and calcuttas in NSW

What is a sweep?

A player buys a ticket in an event for a chance to win, by lot, a participant, such as a horse or other contestant. After the event, the prize pool is distributed to the players who hold the successful participants.

What is a calcutta?

A calcutta is the same as a sweep except at the completion of the draw there is a an auction in which all ticket purchasers can bid for each participant. Players who were successful in the draw may choose between selling the participant and receiving half of the proceeds of the sale or retaining the participant by making (and paying half of) the highest bid.

Is an authority required?

An authority is required if the total value of all the prizes exceeds $30,000.

Apply for an authority

The application fee depends on the length of the authority.


Fixed Fee

Processing Fee

Total Fee

1 year




3 years




5 years




Notification of commencement of gaming activity

If the gaming activity requires an authority, the operator must provide a copy of the gaming rules to NSW Fair Trading at least 10 working days before the proposed sweep or calcutta takes place.

Gaming activities cannot commence until notification is given via this notification form.

Who can conduct a sweep or calcutta?

Anyone can conduct a sweep or calcutta for social entertainment or to raise funds for, or on behalf of, an approved fundraising organisation.

Approved fundraising organisations

The following are approved fundraising organisations:

  • charitable or non-profit organisations
  • political parties or trade unions
  • registered clubs
  • a club registered under the Rules of Racing of Racing New South Wales
  • a greyhound racing club within the meaning of the Greyhound Racing Act 2017
  • a harness racing club within the meaning of the Harness Racing Act 2009.

An operator must have written authorisation from the organisation to conduct the sweep or calcutta.

Who can play?

Anyone can enter a sweep or calcutta unless they are:

  • conducting the gaming activity including determining who wins a prize
  • involved in the management of any benefiting organisation

Children can participate unless the rules of the sweep or calcutta have an age limit.

Entry requirements ­

There is no fee or benefit involved, other than the stake money for the activity.

Fees may be charged to enter the venue. For example, at a racecourse.


Eligible prizes

Prizes may consist of anything except a prohibited prize.

The following prizes are prohibited:

  • a firearm, ammunition, an imitation firearm or a prohibited weapon within the meaning of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998
  • tobacco, smoking or vaping product
  • cosmetic surgery and other procedures falling under Division 1A of Part 3 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966
  • more than 20 litres of liquor with an alcohol content not exceeding 20% by volume or more than 5 litres of liquor with an alcohol content exceeding 20% by volume
  • any other prize that contravenes any other law of this State or the Commonwealth . For example, Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 (NSW) and Gaming Machines Act 2001 (NSW)

Maximum prize value

There is no prize limit for a sweep or calcutta.

Unclaimed prizes 

The rules should outline how an unclaimed prize will be dealt with.

  • If a prize isn’t claimed within a set period of time it can be forfeited and another draw can take place to determine a new winner. Otherwise, the prize must be preserved until it is awarded to the winner.
  • Every reasonable effort must be taken to contact the prize winner. If contact can’t be made, the operator must retain the prize for the time period stated in the rules.
  • If no time is specified for an activity where an authority is required, the prize must be kept for at least 3 months after the draw. After this, steps may be taken to redetermine a winner.
  • Perishable prizes, such as a meat tray, can be disposed of or sold for a reasonable price. The money (after sale or disposal costs) must be held in trust for the winner.

Ticket sales

There is no restriction on who can sell tickets in a sweep or calcutta.

Anyone who sells tickets must return all ticket butts, unsold tickets and the gross proceeds of ticket sales to the operator before the draw takes place.

Ticketing errors

A player's right to a prize isn't affected due to an error in the production of tickets or cards.

Changes to the sweep or calcutta

An operator can change how the art union is conducted as long as the change mean the gaming activity is still conducted fairly and impartially.

The operator must notify players of the change or make the information publicly available within a reasonable time before the activity takes place.

Changes may include:

  • prizes or prize value
  • the date or method prize winners are determined
  • the authority holder
  • a significant change in the number of tickets

Any substantial change must be reported to NSW Fair Trading by filling out a Changes to Gaming Activity notification form.


The rules of the sweep or calcutta must be clearly advertised to enable potential participants to make informed decisions about entering.

Where it’s not possible to publish the rules in an advertisement or on a ticket, the included information must state where the rules can be found such as a website.

Advertising material must not:

  • depict children participating in the gaming activity
  • suggest that winning will be a definite outcome of participating in the gaming activity
  • suggest that participating in the gaming activity will definitely improve a person’s financial prospects
  • encourage a breach of the law

If your gaming activity requires an authority, all advertising material must clearly display the authority number.


Where applicable, the following requirements apply to gaming activities.

Organiser expenses

Unless participation is free, you may incur reasonable expenses for:

  • the cost of producing or obtaining the tickets or cards
  • advertising and promotion
  • hiring or operating a device, or premises
  • the cost of prizes, and prize money
  • salaries, wages and commission paid to persons assisting in the conduct of the gaming activity
  • auditing accounts relating to the gaming activity
  • other amounts that, under an authority, a person or organisation is permitted to deduct from money received in connection with the gaming activity.


Anyone who conducts a sweep or calcutta can’t receive payment. This includes a salary, wage, fee, commission, percentage or other benefit.

However, salary or wages may be paid to people who assist in the promotion of a sweep or calcutta.


If a sweep or calcutta is conducted for, or on behalf of, an approved fund raising organisation then a reasonable amount of the gross proceeds must be paid to the organisation.

The amount to be paid should be agreed in writing before the sweep or calcutta is conducted.

If a sweep or calcutta is conducted for social entertainment purposes all proceeds must be paid to players holding the successful participants in the event linked to the sweep or calcutta.

Record keeping

There is no requirement to keep records when conducting a sweep or calcutta.

However, it’s recommended records be maintained  as this will help properly manage the games.


If the annual gross proceeds of the sweep or calcutta exceeds $250,000, accounts must be audited by a qualified auditor. This includes accounts that relate to receipts and expenses.

Contact us

Prev Lotteries
Next Trade promotions