Mini-numbers lotteries go by many names – mini-lotto, lionball, kick-a-ball, make-a-mark and pick-the-pack.
A player pays a small entry fee and selects six numbers from a maximum of 20. Organisers draw six numbers and if a player gets all six numbers, they win a prize. The prize jackpots to the next draw if no one has all six numbers.
You can only run a mini-numbers lottery to raise money for a not-for-profit organisation. You don't need a permit.
The total value of cash prizes must not be more than $10,000. The total value of prizes cannot exceed $20,000 and must be at least 50 percent of the gross proceeds.
Mini-numbers lotteries can be played without a permit.
Is there a limit on how many mini-numbers lotteries may be conducted?
Yes. Not more than one mini-numbers lottery may be conducted for the benefit of a not-for-profit organisation at any one time. And, not more than one may be conducted for that organisation in any period of seven days. In addition, not more than one mini-numbers lottery may be conducted on the premises of a registered club, hotel or any other premises at any one time.
What if I only want to conduct one mini numbers lottery at a special event?
There is no reason why you cannot conduct a mini numbers lottery in connection with a special event. In such cases, it would be conducted in accordance with the terminating lottery rules (refer to the section ‘What is a terminating lottery’ for more information).
Prizes can be goods, wares, merchandise, services, vouchers for goods or services that are not redeemable for money, tickets for admission to any entertainment and tickets (with any spending money) for tours or journeys. Spending money can be given as part of a tour or journey provided the total value does not exceed 20 percent of the total value of the travel prize.
Money prizes are allowed provided the total value is no more than $10,000. If any prize is more than $10,000 the offer of a shopping voucher or store credit provides a viable alternative. As mini-numbers may involve more than one winner it may be difficult to share a particular product or service between the winners. A voucher or store credit system can facilitate the sharing of prizes. A voucher or store credit system also facilitates the jackpotting of prizes (where a prize is not won).
The total value of prizes must be at least 50 percent of the money received from the sale of mini-number tickets. However, the total value of prizes in a mini-numbers lottery cannot exceed $20,000.
Is there a limit on the total amount of money prizes?
Yes. The total amount of money prizes (excluding spending money) cannot be more than $10,000. Spending money may be awarded in conjunction with a prize comprising tickets for a tour or journey – a travel prize. The maximum amount of spending money that may be awarded with a travel prize is 20 percent of the total value of the travel prize.
Prohibited prizes are:
- money prizes over $10,000
- tobacco products in any form
- firearms or ammunition
- prohibited weapons
- cosmetic surgery or other procedure designed to improve personal appearance
- liquor prizes - more than 20 litres of liquor with an alcohol content not exceeding 20 percent by volume or more than 5 litres of liquor with an alcohol content exceeding 20 percent by volume.
Tickets for liquor prizes cannot be sold by or to a person under 18. Also a person under 18 cannot give or collect a liquor prize.
Remuneration and expenses
What expenses may be incurred?
Reasonable expenses are for:
- the purchase of the tickets
- hiring or operating any device used
- renting premises
- advertising and promoting the lottery
The total allowable expenses must not be more than 10 percent of the gross proceeds. These expenses exclude the cost of the prizes – which must be at least 50 percent of the gross proceeds.
Payment of commission and remuneration
No commission, fee or other benefits can be paid to an organiser of a mini-numbers lottery or to an authorised selling agent.
How much should the benefiting organisation receive?
The profit must be at least 40 percent of the gross proceeds. If the lottery does not achieve 40 percent profit, you must apply to us in writing for approval to accept the reduced percentage. The application must explain the unusual and unexpected circumstances which resulted in this outcome.
The charge for a ticket cannot exceed $2.00. The sale price must be consistently applied to all tickets sold and tickets cannot be discounted.
The following must not purchase tickets and play a mini-numbers lottery:
- the benefiting organisation
- a person involved in the management of the benefiting organisation
- the organisers of the lottery
- a person conducting the draw
- the spouse, de facto spouse or other family member of a person referred to above, if the spouse or family member lives at the same address
- a person under 18 years.
The tickets of each lottery must have a serial number or unique symbols from each other series of tickets, and the tickets in each series must be numbered consecutively. The entry portion of the ticket must show:
- 20 boxes numbered from 1 to 20
- show whether it is a continuing or terminating lottery
- specify that the purchaser is to choose six numbers from 20 numbers in the boxes, unless it is a jackpot lottery when it must indicate which numbers have been excluded from the draw and therefore should not be chosen
- the serial number of the ticket and the unique series number to which the ticket belongs
- its price
- the name of the benefiting organisation
- the amount or the percentage of the amounts received from the sale of tickets to be returned to the benefiting organisation
- provision for the purchaser to record his or her choice of numbers
- provision for recording the purchaser’s name and contact details
- provision for the name of the authorised selling agent
- how the prize pool is determined and whether there is a minimal prize amount.
What information must I provide?
The following ‘how to play’ information should be available to purchasers:
- instructions on how to mark their choice of numbers
- the closing date and time for the receipt of entries
- the place, date and time of the draw
- details of how the results of the draw will be published
- what happens if there is more than one winner
- how winners are to be notified and are to collect their prizes.
This information can be printed on the back of the ticket.
You must not publish any lottery advertising that:
- encourages a breach of the law, or
- depicts children participating in a lottery activity, or
- is false, misleading or deceptive, or
- suggests that winning will be a definite outcome of entering or participating in the lottery activity, or
- suggests that entering or participating in the lottery activity will definitely improve a person’s financial prospects, or,
- is not conducted in accordance with decency, dignity and good taste.
The prize winner in a mini-numbers lottery is determined by picking six numbers at random. If a mechanical or electronic device is used it must be approved by a qualified person. The draw should be from the numbers 1-20, except where a prize is carried over to a subsequent lottery, in which case, the draw should be from the following numbers:
- 1-19, for the first lottery to which the prize is carried over
- 1-18, for the second lottery to which the prize is carried over
- 1-17, for the third lottery to which the prize is carried over
- 1-16, for the fourth lottery to which the prize is carried over
- 1-15, for the fifth lottery to which the prize is carried over
- 1-14, for the sixth lottery to which the prize is carried over
- 1-13, for the seventh or subsequent lottery to which the prize is carried over.
What happens if the amount of the prizes exceeds $20,000?
If the amount of the prizes exceeds $20,000, the organiser must hold a terminating lottery.
What is a terminating lottery?
A terminating lottery is conducted when the value of the prizes has reached $20,000. It can also be done when the organiser has not distributed the prizes, but wants to cancel the lottery. The organiser should give at least seven days public notice before the draw. Under the terminating lottery provisions, if there is no prize winner in the draw, the prize winner can be:
- the person whose mini-numbers ticket show that they’ve chosen five numbers drawn, or
- if there is still no prize winner, the person whose ticket shows four of the numbers drawn
- if there is still no prize winner, the person whose ticket shows three of the numbers drawn
- if there is still no prize winner, the person whose ticket shows two of the numbers drawn
- if there is still no prize winner, the person whose ticket shows one of the numbers drawn.
If there is still no prize winner, a further draw should be played.
What happens if there are multiple prize winners?
The prize is to be shared equally among the winners.
Notifying the winners
You must try to notify each prize winner within two days after the draw.
If you cannot contact a prize winner you must keep the prize for three months after the lottery. If a prize is perishable (e.g. a meat tray), it can be sold or disposed of and the money should be held in trust. If a prize remains unclaimed at the end of three months, you should send a letter to us with the details of the steps which you took to contact the winner and have the prize delivered, and seeking permission to sell the prize. When you receive written approval, the prize can be sold and the proceeds of the sale paid into the funds of the organisation in aid of which the lottery was held.
Banking the proceeds
All money received should be paid into an account at a bank, building society or credit union of the benefiting organisation. This should be done within two days.
What records do I need to keep?
You must keep all receipts, invoices and other records concerning costs and outgoings, and payments received and donations. Any recordkeeping requirement imposed by the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 is in addition to those required to be kept by the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901. You must also keep a record of:
- the total amount of money received
- the value of the prizes
- source documents evidencing expenses – such as receipts and invoices
- distribution of proceeds itemised as to payee and amount and date of payment
- the number of tickets produced or acquired for the lottery, together with their serial number in the series to which they belong and their unique numbers or symbols
- the number of tickets distributed for sale (including their serial number and unique number or symbol)
- the name and address of each authorised selling agent, together with the number of tickets distributed (including their serial number and unique series number or symbol)
- the number of tickets unsold (including their serial number and unique series number or symbol)
- the number of tickets cancelled (including their serial number and unique series number or symbol)
- the names and contact details of all prize winners together with details of their prizes.
For how long are records required to be kept?
You must retain all records, accounts, other documents, and all computer records for seven years. Unsold tickets must be retained for at least three years (unless we have authorised a shorter period generally or in a specific case). All sold and cancelled mini-numbers tickets must be retained for six months after the determination of the winner.
Are financial statements or returns required?
You are not required to submit a return to us unless specifically requested. However, the organisation for whose benefit the mini-numbers lottery is conducted must ensure that the organisation’s financial statements detail the gross proceeds and expenses of the lottery.
The promoter or organisers are jointly responsible. A subcommittee can be elected from within the benefiting organisation to be the organising committee. If there are external organisers, the benefiting organisation should oversee the operation, including insisting on reports, ratifying all expenses and prizes awarded, having full access to records and registers, and making sure that financial records are audited.
Are the records subject to inspection?
Yes. All records can be inspected by Fair Trading officers or the police.