Gaming nights

Gaming nights usually involve people getting or buying chips, tokens or imitation money to play casino games like roulette, blackjack or crown and anchor. You can hold gaming nights as entertainment, or to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation. The chips people use during a gaming night are not allowed to have a value that players can redeem for cash.

You do not need a permit for a gaming night.

What is a gaming night?

There is an increase in the popularity of charitable and non-profit organisations conducting “casino gaming nights” for the purpose of raising funds. Although the format can vary, they normally involve a participant being given or purchasing chips, tokens, play money or similar play pieces which are otherwise valueless. These are used to play well-known casino table games – roulette, blackjack, two-up and crown and anchor. These types of games are illegal under the Unlawful Gambling Act 1998 if players risk a stake on the outcome. This includes players, at the conclusion of the event, using the chips to bid in an auction. The chips should not be seen to have any intrinsic value whatsoever. If the method of playing or conducting these events is modified to remove the element of any player ‘risking a stake on the outcome’, then it’s legal.

How to conduct lawful gaming nights

If you’re having a ‘casino gaming night’ or similar casino type event, you must follow the following requirements:

  • an admission fee or donation may be charged for entry into the event (the fundraising amount)
  • gaming chips, tokens, etc. must be distributed fairly to participants
  • further chips or tokens may be purchased during the event
  • patrons cannot risk a stake on the outcome
  • patrons cannot win and cannot lose anything of value while playing the games
  • chips cannot be redeemed for money or anything of value
  • chips cannot be used for the purpose of bidding in an auction either during or after the event.

Anyone who plays in a ‘casino gaming night’ does so for the entertainment value and with the knowledge that the proceeds from the event will help the benefiting charity.

If there is any variation to this format, you must get a ruling from NSW Fair Trading by lodging an enquiry.

Need more information?

The Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901 and the Lotteries and Art Unions Regulation 2014 regulate lottery or game of chance. Go to the Legislation website for more information.

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