What is a sweep?
A sweep is a game in which a person (a player) buys a ticket for a chance to win, a horse or other contestant in an event. The prize pool, which includes the total amount of ticket sales (less expenses and, if applicable, the amount of money raised for the benefiting organisation), is distributed to the winners.
What is a calcutta?
A calcutta follows the same method as a sweep up to the completion of the draw. On completion of the draw, an auction takes place where all ticket purchasers can bid for each participant as it’s offered. Players who were successful in the draw can choose between selling the participant and receiving half of the proceeds of the sale, or retaining the participant by making (and paying half of) the highest bid. The prize pool, which includes ticket sales and net auction proceeds (less expenses and, if applicable, an amount of money that was raised for the benefiting organisation), is distributed to the winners.
A sweep or calcutta may be conducted only on the Melbourne Cup or another approved event. The full list is below.
If the event is not approved, can I make application for its approval?
Yes. Your application should include the following information:
- The event must have wide community support and benefits to the community.
- The event is a recognised sporting event in which there is an element of skill.
- The event is not contrived for the purpose of the conduct of the sweep or calcutta.
- If the event is used to raise funds for a specific body, that body has approved of the event.
- The views of the peak sporting bodies involved with the event are to be obtained, as appropriate.
In addition to the above, the following must done for a bush picnic race:
- The event may be managed by an unregistered race club and an incorporated body.
- The event must be played to raise funds for charitable purposes.
- The race is part of a mixed sports meeting where horse and greyhound racing events do not constitute more than 30 percent of the total number of events or activities.
- No more than six racing events.
- The mixed sports meeting cannot be advertised or promoted as a race meeting.
Who may hold a sweep or calcutta?
Social sweeps and calcuttas: Anyone can hold a sweep or calcutta as social entertainment.
Fundraising sweeps and calcuttas: Anyone can hold a sweep or calcutta for raising funds for an organisation like:
- a political party
- a trade union
- a registered club under the Registered Clubs Act 1976
- a club registered under the Rules of Racing of the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Board
- a greyhound racing club
- a harness racing club, or
- any organisation not formed or conducted for private gain including charities, social clubs, etc.
- If total ticket sales will be $20,000 or less you can hold a sweep or calcutta without a permit.
- If total ticket sales will be more than $20,000, you need a permit.
Getting a permit
Complete and lodge the sweeps/calcuttas application form PDF, 98.18 KB and attached a copy of the proposed advertising and the rules or conditions of entry into the sweep or calcutta. There are no fees.
Prizes can be money, goods, wares, merchandise, services, vouchers for goods or services, 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. Where a money prize exceeds $2,000, the organiser must pay to the prizewinner via cheque or electronic transfer.
The prize pool includes all money invested by players (proceeds of ticket sales and net auction proceeds) less any expenses properly incurred in connection with the conduct of the sweep or calcutta. However, where the sweep or calcutta is played for raising funds for a benefiting organisation, an amount can be deducted for that organisation. You must advertise to all players how the prize pool will be divided.
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.
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.
Perishable items such as green groceries, meat and fish as prizes are regulated under the Food Act 2003. These items must follow the regulations, including:
- 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 Department of Primary Industries for more information.
We must be informed of any prize that remains unclaimed after three months, together with details of the actions taken to identify or to find the prize winner. You must not dispose of unclaimed prizes until we authorise you to do so.
Remuneration and expenses
Expenses in connection with the game can be deducted from the total proceeds. These include the cost of purchasing tickets or stationery. Wages or remuneration cannot be deducted unless the sweep or calcutta is played under the authority of a permit.
How much should the benefiting organisation receive?
There is no rule against the amount or percentage that must be provided to a benefiting organisation. However, the organisation should receive a reasonable return.
There is no maximum price per ticket, however, the selling price should be consistently applied to all the tickets sold.
Social sweeps and calcuttas
Often, proper tickets would not be normally used where a sweep or calcutta is played at a workplace, a social gathering, etc. as a social entertainment. However, where the total value of tickets to be sold will be greater than $5,000, proper tickets need to be played. These tickets should include the purchase price (its face value) and a serial number. A butt portion should be attached showing a serial number identical to that shown on the ticket proper, and with space for the name, address and telephone number of the purchaser to be written. Where possible, the ticket should also include the full name and address of the promoter or organiser. A rubber stamp can be used.
Fundraising sweeps and calcuttas
Proper tickets must be played whenever the sweep or calcutta is conducted for raising funds. All tickets should be numbered consecutively in the one series. The ticket must include the same serial number as the ticket-butt. Where possible, the ticket should also include its price and the full name of the benefiting organisation. A rubber stamp could be used. Ticket-butts must be numbered in the same series as the ticket. Ticketbutts should also contain space for the name, address or telephone number of the purchaser to be written.
Social and fundraising sweeps and calcuttas with total ticket sales greater than $20,000
If the total value of ticket sales will be greater than $20,000, the ticket must include:
- (if conducted for raising funds) the name and address of the benefiting organisation
- the name, address and telephone number of the promoter or organiser
- the number of tickets to be sold
- the permit number together with the words ‘Authorised under the provisions of Section 4D of the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901'
- the way the prize pool is to be divided
- (if applicable) the amount or percentage of the total amounts invested to be returned to the benefiting organisation
- the ticket must also have a butt portion attached, showing:
- the same consecutive number as the ticket
- (if applicable) the name of the benefiting organisation
- a note that the butt portion must be completed to be eligible to enter the draw.
How should ticket sales be managed?
If you intend to sell tickets in a street or public place in a local government area, you might need written permission from the local council. You should contact your local council for more information.
All players participating in a sweep or calcutta should have the following rules or conditions of entry clearly available:
- the time and place of the draw
- how and when successful players are notified of the draw outcome and time and date (for a calcutta, or if the organiser of a sweep considers appropriate) that the scratching of participants will have no effect, ie. “all in”
- how winners will be decided (eg TAB), and what happens in the event of a dead heat
- how the prize pool will be divided
- the amount or percentage of the total amounts invested to be returned to the benefiting organisation
- the total amount of estimated expenses to be incurred
- how the winners are going to be notified and how to collect prizes
- (for a calcutta) that at the conclusion of the draw, or at some time or place identified, an auction will be held
- (for a calcutta) that successful purchasers must pay for their participants immediately following completion of the auction – no credit can be given
- (for a calcutta) how players are to be told of the outcome of the calcutta.
This information could be printed on the reverse side of the ticket or a separate sheet.
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 promoter or organiser of a sweep or calcutta with total ticket sales over $5,000 must keep records of income and expenditure, including:
- the gross income from ticket sales and, in the case of a calcutta, the gross proceeds from the auction
- the total prize pool
- any deductions as documented by receipts and invoices from gross receipts
- the distribution of any money invested, itemised as to payee, amount and date of payment
- the names and addresses of the persons successful in the draw and, in the case of a calcutta, the names and addresses of all persons who purchased a participant in the calcutta at the auction
- the name and addresses of all prizewinners, together with details of their prizes
- details of all ticket-butts, and the number of unsold tickets together with the serial numbers of those tickets
- if the sweep or calcutta is conducted for raising funds, the total amount given to the benefiting organisation, and details of any receipts from that organisation.
If tickets are sold over several days or weeks, money received should be put into an account at a bank, building society or credit union (being an account belonging to the benefiting organisation) within two business days. All payments should be made from this account.
You don’t need to keep records if the total ticket sales in a sweep or calcutta will be less than $5,000. We recommended that you keep these records anyway.
How long are records required to be kept?
You must keep all records in relation to the sweep or calcutta for at least three months. If the sweep or calcutta is for raising funds for a benefiting organisation, the records must be kept for seven years. Any unsold tickets must be kept for at least three years (or such shorter period as approved by us) after the date of the draw. This requirement does not apply if the value of the tickets sold is less than $5,000. All records can be inspected by our authorised officers and police.
Are financial statements or returns required?
A return is not required to be lodged with us unless specifically requested. However, you must tell us immediately if there is any discrepancy between the amount of gross receipts determined by the ticket sales or the auction and the amount of gross receipts determined by totalling the cash receipts.
The promoters or organisers are both responsible for the proper management and conduct of the sweep or calcutta. A subcommittee can be elected from within the benefiting organisation to be the organising committee. If there are external organisers, the benefiting organisation should:
- insist on reports
- ratify all expenses and prizes awarded
- have full access to records and registers
- ensure financial records are audited.
Approved horse racing events where sweeps and calcuttas can be played:
Horse racing events - Part 1
Melbourne Cup. Each principal annual Cup race conducted by a racing club registered in NSW under the Rules of Racing of the NSW Thorougbred Racing Board. For example, the Sydney Cup and the Newcastle Cup.
Horse racing events - Part 2
Event conducted by:
Albury Base Hospital Cup Albury Racing Club
Albury Pacers Cup Albury Harness Racing Club
Ballina Bracelet Ballina Jockey Club
Bathurst Gold Crown Bathurst Harness Racing Club
Bathurst Gold Tiara Bathurst Harness Racing Club
Black Opal Stakes ACT Racing Club Incorporated
Bracelet Talmoi Amateur Picnic Race Club
Brambles 2 Year Old Classic Illawarra Turf Club Limited
Carrington Stakes Tattersall’s Club
Caulfield Cup Victorian Amateur Turf Club
Central West Stakes Orange Jockey Club
Chelmsford Stakes Tattersall’s Club
Coca-Cola Bottlers Classic (Group 3) Newcastle Jockey Club Limited
Cox Plate Moonee Valley Racing Club Inc
Doncaster Handicap Australian Jockey Club
Dorrigo Cup Clarence River Jockey Club Limited
Epsom Handicap Australian Jockey Club
Golden Slipper Stakes Sydney Turf Club
Grafton Cup Clarence River Jockey Club Limited
Harrington Cup Taree Race Club
Inter City Pace Final Maitland Harness Racing Club
Interdominion Championship Australian Harness Racing Council
Invitation Stakes Cowra Jockey Club
Ladies Auxiliary Final Maitland Harness Racing Club
Lady’s Bracelet Wagga Wagga Amateur Picnic Race Club Inc. (in combination with the other horse-races run as part of the first day of the Wagga Wagga Picnic Race Meeting)
M & M.J. Webb Tamworth Pacers Cup Tamworth Harness Racing Club
Maclean Cup Clarence River Jockey Club Limited
MIA Coprice Breeders Plate Final Leeton Harness Racing Club
Miracle Mile NSW Harness Racing Club Limited
Morundah Bush Picnic Race Morundah Bush Picnic Race Committee Inc.
Newcastle Cup Newcastle Harness Racing Club
Orange Cup Orange Harness Racing Club
President’s Cup Wagga Wagga Amateur Picnic Race Club Inc.
(in combination with the other horse-races run as part of the second day of the Wagga Wagga Picnic Race Meeting)
Prime Television Stakes Tamworth Jockey Club
Ramornie Handicap Clarence River Jockey Club Limited
Re-Car Mile Newcastle Harness Racing Club
Sires Stakes Moree Race Club
Soldiers Saddle Bathurst Turf Club
South Grafton Cup Clarence River Jockey Club Limited
Tattersall’s Cup Tattersall’s Club
Tattersall’s Plate Tattersall’s Club
The AHA Cup The Sapphire Coast Turf Club
The Banjo Paterson Classic
The Orange Harness Racing Club Ltd
The Davis Samuel Classic The Albury Racing Club Limited
The Gundaroo Cup The Gundaroo Festival Inc.
The Ladies Open Cross Country Race
The Gundaroo Festival Inc.
The NBN Handicap Scone Race Club Limited
The Wagga Town Plate The Murrumbidgee Turf Club Limited
Tooheys Golden Guitar Final Tamworth Harness Racing Club
Wellington Boot Wellington Race Club Inc.
Winter Cup Sydney Turf Club
Any mixed sports meeting organised under the auspices of the Northern Rivers Charity Picnic Racing Association
Australian Match Play Championship
Australian PGA Championship
Johnnie Walker Classic
Palm Meadow’s Cup
US PGA Championship
Yarrawonga & Border Pro-Am
Tooheys Maiden — conducted by Dapto Agricultural and Horticultural Greyhound Racing Club
The Blacktop Race – conducted by the NSW National Coursing Association Ltd
The Botany Bay Gift
The Christmas Gift (at Pagewood)
The Coffs Harbour Festival Gift
The Coonabarabran Gift
The Country Energy Queanbeyan Gift—conducted by NSW Athletic Inc
The Diet Coke Mile - Elite Men’s Race
The Diet Coke Mile - Elite Women’s Race
The Diet Coke Mile - Sporting Celebrities’ Race
The Dubbo Gift
The Gilgandra “Cooee” Festival Gift
The Harden Gift
The Macksville Gift
The Newcastle Harbour Gift
The North Sydney Gift
The Port Macquarie Gift
The Stroud Gift
The Temora Golden Gift
The Uralla Sports Club Gift
The Young Cherry City Gift
Australian Grand Prix
Overall Group A Touring Car Championship
Fred Osborne Memorial Invitation
Snooker Classic—conducted by Commercial Club (Albury) Limited
Australian Open Snooker Championship— conducted by Billiards and Snooker Association of NSW Inc.
Australian Women’s Snooker Championship—conducted by Billiards and Snooker Association of NSW Inc.
Tattersall’s (Annual) Snooker Tournament—conducted by Tattersall’s Club
Australian Pro-Celebrity Tennis Championships—conducted by Starlight Foundation of Australia
Australian Yard Dog Championships— conducted by the Australian Yard Dog Association Inc.
Armidale Snail Races—conducted by the Armidale Branch of the Challenge Foundation of New South Wales
Battle of the Stars–conducted by Special Olympics Australia
Invitation Classic Pairs—conducted by Deniliquin Bowling Club
Oaklands Camel Cup—conducted by the Lions Club of Oaklands and District Inc.
Park Beach Proton Singles—conducted by Park Beach Bowling Club Limited.
Perisher Blue Team Pro-Am—conducted by the Australian Disabled Skiers Federation Inc.
The Barrier Homing Society Pigeon Race—conducted by the Barrier and Broken Hill Homing Club Inc.
The Grand Prix National Circuit, the Grand Prix Regional Circuit, the New South Wales Championships for 18-Foot Skiffs, and the Australian Championships for 18-Foot Skiffs—each conducted by the Australian Yachting Federation Inc.
The Silver City Classic Pigeon Race— conducted by the Barrier and Broken Hill Homing Club Inc.
Thredbo Team Pro-Am—conducted by the Australian Disabled Skiers Federation Inc.