Social housie is a game where players use electronic or printed tickets with numbered squares or symbols. A housie caller chooses numbers or symbols at random and announces them to the players. Each player marks off the numbers or symbols on their ticket as the caller announces them. A player wins when they are first to mark off all the numbers or symbols on their ticket. Housie includes housie-housie, bingo and games of a similar kind such as alphy and hoi.
You can conduct social housie only for entertainment, or to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation. You don't need a permit for social housie, but you can't conduct this game on the premises of a registered club or on licensed premises.
A permit is not required to play. Although you must follow the requirements of the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901. If a social housie game is played for the purpose of raising funds for a charity, an authority under the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 might be required. If you are unsure, lodge an enquiry.
The total amount or value of prizes in a game cannot be more than $40. The total amount or value of jackpot prizes in a session of games cannot be more than $200.
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.
The following are prohibited prizes:
- tobacco products
- firearms or ammunition
- prohibited weapons
- cosmetic surgery or other procedure 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.
The offer of perishable items such as green groceries, meat and fish as prizes is regulated under the Food Act 2003. Such prizes must satisfy the same requirements that apply to food sold through normal retail outlets. These include:
- the manner of handling and packaging the food
- the manner of labelling packages of food
- the temperature at which food must be kept.
Contact NSW Health for more information. Fish prizes must also comply with the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and the Fisheries Act 1935. A special permit is required. Contact the NSW Department of Primary Industries for more information.
Remuneration and expenses
No salary, wage, fee, commission, percentage or other benefit (other than a prize) can be paid or given to, or taken by, any person in connection with the conduct of the game.
How much should the benefiting organisation receive?
There is no stipulated amount or percentage that must be provided to a benefiting organisation if the game is conducted for raising funds for that organisation. As far as practicable, any advertising or promotion of the game should identify the amount or percentage of the gross proceeds that will be given to the benefiting organisation.
Maximum price per ticket
The maximum charge for each ticket or card is 40 cents. The selling price should be consistently applied to all the tickets sold.
How should ticket sales be managed?
You must have control over the selling agents, the receipt of monies and the receipt of unsold tickets. We recommended that a register of the tickets is kept.
Tickets with liquor prizes
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 I charge a fee other than the purchase price of the ticket?
- no payment or other benefit is to be given or asked for the right to enter any place where the game is played
- no payment or other benefit is to be given or asked for the right to participate in a game.
The law does not forbid a person under 16 from playing or assisting in the conduct of a game. This is a matter for the organisers and the patrons of the game to determine and should be included in the House Rules.
When advertising social housie, you should make the following information available:
- the price of the ticket
- if applicable, the name of the organisation for whose benefit the game is being conducted
- details of the prizes
- the place, time and date of the game.
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.
You must develop house rules. The house rules must include:
- the conditions of entry into the game, including the age of the persons allowed to participate
- the cost of tickets and how discounting works, if any charge is made
- the manner in which any prizes, including jackpot prizes, are calculated, determined and awarded
- a description of the particular arrangement of number or symbols required to be covered or marked in order to win
- the course of action to be adopted by the organiser of the game if an incorrect call is made by the caller
- the method for claiming prizes, including the action to be taken when a player overlooks the calling of housie
- the manner of disputes concerning the conduct of the game or the claiming of prizes are to be resolved
- the manner in which numbers or symbols appearing on a winning ticket will be verified by an independent person and called back to players.
The house rules must be displayed where the tickets are sold.
There is no requirement to keep records when the game:
- is organised on the basis that the gross proceeds from the sale of tickets, less costs and expenses incurred in connection with the conduct of the game, are wholly returned to players in the form of prizes, or
- there is no charge for persons to play the game.
When the game is organised to raise funds, you’re required to keep the following records:
- the gross proceeds of the game (if the charge for tickets or cards is not more than five cents, the gross proceeds may be calculated by adding together the total value of the prizes awarded, any costs and expenses, and the total amount of proceeds paid to the benefiting organisation)
- the details of the prizes
- any costs and expenses (itemised as to payee, amount and date of payment, and documented by receipts and invoices)
- the total amount of the proceeds of the game paid to the benefiting not-for-profit organisation, and details of any receipts from that organisation in respect of that amount.
These particulars may relate to the session of games rather than to each of the games played.
You must place all money received into an account at a bank, building society or credit union being an account belonging to the benefiting organisation as soon as practicable, preferably within two days. All payments should be made from that account.
You must keep all records, all unsold tickets or cards and all accounts and other documents, and all computer records relating to the game for seven years. Unsold tickets or cards belonging to a series must be kept for at least three months after the series was last used. Other unsold tickets or cards must be kept for at least three months after the conclusion of the game for which they were produced.