Charity Housie is a game played with electronic or printed tickets or cards with numbered squares. When the announcer calls a number, the player marks the card or ticket and the first player to mark certain squares will win.
Housie includes housie-housie, bingo and games of a similar kind, such as Alphy and hoi. The main difference to club bingo is that prizes can be cash – up to $5,000. The total value of prizes cannot be more than $5,000. You can only play charity housie to raise money for a charity and you must lodge a permit application. The charity must receive at least 12.5 percent of the gross proceeds from the sale of the housie tickets.
Minor Housie Sessions
If you are unsure of the days, the dates or the places you plan to conduct housie games, or the games conducted by your organisation are done spontaneously, you can apply for a minor housie permit. Games under this permit are allowed if:
- the anticipated gross proceeds (the amount received from the sale of tickets) do not exceed $1000 in any one session
- the total value of jackpot prizes do not exceed $500
- no person (including the promoter) conducting or assisting in the conduct of the game receives remuneration, salary or commission.
Major Housie Sessions
These are housie sessions that are played on specific dates or days, at specific times and at a specific place. There is no limit to the gross proceeds but the maximum total value of jackpot prizes awarded in a major housie session cannot exceed $2,000.
Super Housie Sessions
Super housie sessions can be played on special events or periods like Christmas or Easter. The maximum total value of jackpot prizes cannot exceed $5,000. During a calendar year, no more than five super housie sessions can be played for the one benefiting charity; and no more than five sessions may be conducted on one premises. Super housie is linked to a prior existing major housie session. Prerequisites:
- a prior existing major housie session that has been conducted for at least 12 months
- the existing major housie session has complied with the conditions including obtaining a profit of at least 12.5 percent
- at least 44 major housie sessions have been conducted during the last 12 months and will continue to be conducted during the next 12 months.
You must have a permit issued under the provisions of the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901. A permit will not be issued for housie played on radio or television. An authority under the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 may be required. If you are unsure, lodge an enquiry.
How to get a permit
Complete and lodge the charity housie application form. PDF, 263.14 KB There are no fees.
How long does it take to obtain a permit?
Allow up to 20 working days for approval.
How long can a permit be issued for?
For a new session, the permit is normally issued for a maximum period of 12 months. Renewal of an existing permit can be issued for another two years. Permits have a maximum period of five years.
Prizes are usually money. When a money prize exceeds $2,000, you must pay the winner via a cheque or electronic transfer. Goods, wares, merchandise, services, vouchers for goods or services, tickets for admission to any entertainment and tickets for tours or journeys can also be offered.
The total value of prizes offered and or awarded in a session:
- maximum value 75 percent of the gross proceeds
- the gross proceeds are the amount received from the sale of tickets
- the maximum value of a prize in an ordinary game cannot exceed $200.
The total value of jackpot prizes awarded in a session cannot exceed
- minor housie session $500
- major housie session $2,000
- super housie session $5,000
Not more than one prize can be given in any one game. If there is more than one winner in any game, the value of the prize must be shared equally between the winners.
Can prizes be subsidised or sponsored?
No. Only the gross proceeds from the sale of tickets can be used to pay for the prizes. This also includes where non-money prizes are offered or awarded.
Can funds be put aside for prizes in future sessions?
Yes. A provision for prizes can be set up.
The following are prohibited prizes:
- tobacco products
- firearms or ammunition
- prohibited weapons
- cosmetic surgery or other procedure designed to improve personal appearance
- liquor prizes more than 20 litres with an alcohol content not exceeding 20 percent by volume or five litres with alcohol exceeding 20 percent.
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.
Can bonus prizes be offered?
You can organise a special bonus prize based on a ‘cleanup’ scheme. Under this scheme, players are encouraged to put their names on the back of the used books of tickets and put it into the draw. Players are not asked for more money.
This scheme encourages patrons to tidy-up the hall or facilities, and therefore, arguably reduces cleaning costs. The prize value cannot exceed $100. Cash prizes and jackpotting are not allowed.
Can other games or lotteries be played with charity housie?
Yes, it’s called an ancillary lottery. Ancillary lotteries are lotteries or games of chance authorised under the Act, which include fundraising raffles, fundraising no-draw lotteries, gratuitous lotteries, progressive lotteries, chocolate wheels; and if the game is played on the premises of a registered club – club bingo, promotional raffles and trade promotion lotteries.
There is a cap of $5,000 on the total value of prizes for all ancillary lotteries conducted in a Charity Housie session. For example, if a raffle prize is valued at $3,000, then the total value of prizes for all other ancillary lotteries cannot exceed $2,000.
Combined charity housie and club bingo sessions
You can combine charity housie and club bingo sessions with the following benefits:
- reduced cost of conduct and therefore arguably increased profit
- the registered club provides the prizes for the Club Bingo component at no cost to the charity (clubs cannot provide support for the Charity Housie prizes)
- reduced cost of entry to patrons, which may attract a wider range of clients (clients that may not otherwise attend housie sessions – e.g. pensioners).
Combined charity housie and club bingo sessions can be played in the same room, hall, enclosure, or area provided club bingo games are not conducted:
- during the conduct of the charity housie game, or
- within 30 minutes either side of the charity housie game.
Remuneration and expenses
The total allowable expenses, excluding the cost of the prizes in the housie session, must not be more than the actual expenses. Expenses that relate to all games can be allocated on a pro-rata basis for each session. Example one: If a major advertising campaign is undertaken every 12 months, the expenses can be averaged over the following 12 month period. Example two: If rental is payable every month, the expense may be averaged over the following four weeks.
What expenses may be incurred?
Reasonable expenses are:
- the printing or purchase of the tickets
- hiring or operating any device used
- renting premises
- advertising and promoting
- salaries, wages and commission.
Payment of commission and remuneration
You cannot pay any commission or remuneration to a person for services in connection with the housie session unless there is a written agreement between that person and the benefiting charity. The agreement must specify:
- the service to be rendered
- the remuneration to be provided
- the period of the agreement.
Under a minor housie permit, no one connected to the game can receive remuneration, salary or commission.
Can expenses be subsidised or sponsored?
Yes. With the exception of the prizes, all expenses in connection with charity housie can be subsidised or sponsored. For example:
- the provision of the venue
- the provision of staff to help conduct the game (selling tickets, marketing and promoting, accounting)
- the provision of refreshments
- the provision of gifts to patrons at special times of the year (e.g. birthdays, Christmas, Easter)
- the provision of the purchase price of tickets used in the game.
If the expenses are less than 12.5 percent, can the difference be offered as prizes?
No. The total value of prizes offered in a session must not exceed 75 percent of the gross from ticket sales plus any amount that has been previously accumulated from ticket sales. If expenses are below 12.5 percent, the difference must be paid to the benefiting charity as additional profits.
How much should the benefiting charity receive?
The benefiting charity must receive at least 12.5 percent of the gross proceeds and paid no longer than every 30 days.
Can profitable sessions support other less profitable sessions?
No. The proceeds from one housie session cannot be used to support another housie session. Each session must stand by itself.
Can funds be transferred from one session to a session on another day?
No. Funds accumulated on a particular session can only be carried forward to the same day and time the following week. Funds cannot be used to support another session conducted at another time or day.
Tickets may be sold for a price up to 40 cents each. All tickets in a game must be sold at the one price. Individual housie tickets cannot be discounted. The price of a book of housie tickets may be reduced if a person purchases after the start of the housie session. The benefiting charity cannot purchase tickets. Housie tickets cannot be offered as prizes in an ancillary lottery.
Is there a maximum number of tickets that may be sold?
Yes. A maximum 48 tickets may be sold to any one person.
Housie tickets must have 15 numbers displayed on the ticket; a ticket serial number must also be displayed on the ticket (the serial number may include letters and/or other characters). The mixing of ticket serial numbers is allowed so long as no more than two ticket serial numbers are used in a game, and tickets are sold in an orderly fashion (the tickets in one series must be sold before tickets in the next series are sold).
Reuse of tickets in certain circumstances
A ticket used to play one type of game (e.g. racetrack) may be immediately used to play another type of game (e.g. full house) provided a clear announcement is made before the game starts. The total value of prizes awarded on a ticket cannot exceed $200 in an ordinary game. For example, if the first prize awarded in an ordinary game is $80, the value of the prize in a subsequent game played with the same ticket cannot exceed $120. No further charge may be levied on the ticket and the original price cannot exceed 40 cents. Record the use of the ticket.
The house rules must include:
- the cost of tickets
- the way the prizes are calculated
- the conditions of entry, including the age of the persons allowed to participate
- the method adopted by the promoter if the caller makes an incorrect call
- the method to be adopted for claiming prizes, including where a player overlooks the calling of housie
- the manner of resolving disputes
- the manner in which patrons can inspect the permit, the permit conditions, and the financial statements
- the circumstances in which family members, spotters, callers and the benefiting charity’s representatives can participate as players.
The house rules must be displayed where the tickets are sold.
Persons managing housie
Generally, no person managing or assisting in the game can purchase tickets, participate as a player, or win prizes.
Benefiting charity representative
The benefiting charity is required to nominate a person(s) to be its representative and to be present when charity housie is played. Unless you have written approval from us, the benefiting charity representative must not:
- participate as a player
- be the promoter or caller
- sell tickets or otherwise be involved in the conduct of the games
- be a person who makes available the premises at which Charity Housie is conducted.
The representative of the benefiting charity is allowed to participate as a player where the game is administered entirely by members of the benefiting charity and the average gross proceeds do not exceed $1,000. There must also be proper disclosure of the relationship and the maintenance of certain records. Where the manner of conducting a game does not fit the standard conditions, we’ll consider applications to modify requirements.
Can children participate in charity housie?
There is no requirement that stops children from participating in housie. If you decide that children can play, it must be included in the house rules.
You must not publish any lottery advertising that:
- encourages a breach of the law
- depicts children participating in a lottery activity
- is false, misleading or deceptive
- suggests that winning will be a definite outcome of entering or participating in the lottery activity
- suggests that entering or participating in the lottery activity will definitely improve a person’s financial prospects
- is not conducted in accordance with decency, dignity and good taste.
Gambling Help NSW counselling notices
All advertising should contain a Gambling Help NSW counselling information message and Gambling Help NSW counselling notices where the game is played.
Banking, record keeping and computer systems
Banking the proceeds
All money received after deducting the cash prizes, should be paid into a bank, building society or credit union account. The money must be paid into the account within two business days. At least two people must be signatories to the account, one should be a member of the governing body or management committee of the benefiting charity.
Records to keep
You must keep all receipts, invoices and other records concerning costs and outgoings, and payments received and donations. You must also keep information on tickets sold, the income, the prizes awarded and the expenses.
You must keep all records, all accounts and other documents, and all computer records relating to the housie session for seven years. All records can be inspected by our authorised officers or police.
You must be prepared to accept full responsibility for all aspects of the housie session.You can elect a subcommittee from within the benefiting organisation to be the organising committee or they can ask individuals outside the organisation to manage the competition. If this happens, the benefiting organisation should introduce adequate controls to oversee the organisers, including:
- insisting on reports
- ratifying all expenses and prizes awarded
- having full access to records and registers
- ensuring financial records are audited