Housie and bingo

How to run housie and bingo in NSW

Housie or bingo is any gaming activity played by 1 or more people using cards or a device with numbered spaces or symbols. Participants use the cards or device to match numbers or symbols that are randomly drawn.

Housie or bingo activities include charity housie, social housie and club bingo however there are some slight difference in how they are played. Learn more about the differences

Fair Trading authority is not required if the gaming activity is to raise funds for a charitable or non-profit organisation. However, it must be authorised in writing by the benefiting organisation.

Who can play?

Anyone can play housie or bingo unless they are:

  • conducting the gaming activity, including determining prize winners
  • involved in the management of any benefiting organisation

Children can participate unless the rules have an age limit.

Changes to the gaming activity

If there any changes to the rules for a gaming activity, you must take all reasonable steps to notify the participants or make the information publicly available within a reasonable time before the activity takes place.

Prizes

Eligible prizes

Prizes can be anything not on the prohibited list below:

  • 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 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 prize that contravenes any other law of this State or the Commonwealth. For example, the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 (NSW) and Gaming Machines Act 2001 (NSW)

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.
  • 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.

Prize notification

You must notify the results and arrange for prizes to be given in accordance with the rules of your gaming activity.

All prizes must be carefully preserved until they are awarded to the prize winners or until they have been disposed of in accordance with Part 4 of the Community Gaming Regulation 2020.

When a prize consists of money exceeding $5,000, if the prize winner requests, you must pay the amount that exceeds $5,000 by means of electronic transfer.

If the prize winner does not request for payment by electronic transfer, you must pay the amount exceeding $5,000 in a manner as agreed with the prize winner (other than in cash).

Tickets

Generally, housie and bingo tickets should contain:

  • the ticket price
  • name of the person or organisation conducting the gaming activity
  • name of the benefiting organisation (if applicable)

There is no restriction on who can sell tickets in a housie or bingo.

Advertising

The gaming activity rules must be clearly advertised so potential participants can­ 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:

  • encourage a breach of the law
  • 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

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

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Differences for charity and social housie, and club bingo

Charity housie

Charity housie can only be conducted to raise funds by, or on behalf of, a charitable organisation.

Maximum prize value

The total prize value must not exceed $10,000.

The total prize value must also not exceed 75% of the gross proceeds from the gaming activity.

Maximum number of tickets

A maximum of 48 tickets can be sold to a single participant.

Proceeds

At least 12.5% of the gross proceeds of a charity housie must be paid to the benefiting organisation.

Social housie

Social housie can only be played for social purposes and can’t be conducted on licensed premises.

Maximum prize value

The total prize value for one session of social housie must not exceed $40. The value of a jackpot prize must not exceed $200.

Proceeds

The total proceeds of a session of social housie must be returned to participants, after costs of prizes and permitted expenses.

Club bingo

Club bingo can only be conducted by, or on authority of, a registered club for the purpose of attracting patrons

Maximum prize value

The total prize value for a single game of club bingo can’t exceed $70.

If a bonus prize is offered at the end of a session, only 1 prize valued at no more than $70 may be awarded.

A club bingo prize mustn’t consist of or include money.

Administration

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.

Commission

Commissions and other payments can be paid except from funds received from conducting a social housie.

No payment can be made as a salary, wage, fee, commission, percentage or other benefit to anyone who conducts a social housie, whether or not the person participates.

Proceeds

You must deposit proceeds from your gaming activity into an account at an authorised deposit-taking institution no later than 2 business days after the money is received.

Record keeping 

Appropriate records must be kept for a period the operator thinks fit.

Records may include:

  • all expenses incurred
  • the date on or period during which the gaming activity was conducted
  • the date prize winners were determined and announced
  • prizes and total prize value
  • the gross proceeds
  • the proceeds paid to the benefiting organisation (if applicable) and the ratio of those proceeds to the gross proceeds received, expressed as a percentage
  • if practicable, the names and contact details of the prize winners and the prizes won

There is no requirement to keep records for a game of housie where:

  • participation is free, and
  • gross proceeds are wholly applied towards prizes or returned to players according to the rules.

Auditing

If the annual gross proceeds of the gaming activity exceed $250,000, accounts must be audited by a qualified auditor. This includes accounts relating to receipts and expenses.

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