Housie, raffles and games of chance

Many community groups use some form of gambling to raise funds. Activities such as housie, raffles, lotteries and games of chance must comply with the Gambling Act 2003. These activities are placed into class 1, 2 or 3 depending on the level of money involved.

Class 1

Has a limit of $500 on both the total turnover and on the total value of the prizes payable in any one session. A society may not conduct more than one session per day.

Class 2

Total gambling turnover per session exceeds $500 and may be up to $25,000 and the total value of prizes per session exceeds $500 and may be up to $5,000.

Class 3

Gambling where the total value of prizes for a session is more than $5,000. Class 3 gambling requires a licence (class 1 and 2 do not need a licence).

For an introduction to the Gambling Act 2003 see Gambling - rules and regulations


For housie, a minimum of 70 percent of turnover must be returned as prizes. The effective maximum turnover for a class 2 housie session is therefore $7,143 (because 70 percent of $7,143 is $5,000, which is the maximum total value of prizes allowed in the session).

Housie rules

Housie must comply with the Gambling Act (Housie) Game Rules 2004 (referred to here as the 'Housie Rules'). This is as well as complying to the provisions in the Gambling Act 2003. The Housie Rules apply to all housie, whether it is class 1, 2 or 3 gambling. The Gambling Act 2003 and the Housie Rules replace the old Housie Regulations 1989.

You can read the main points of Housie Rules in the Department of Internal Affairs Housie fact sheet

Raffles, lotteries and games of chance

These gambling activities are covered by the Gambling Act 2003 and can be classified as class 1, class 2 or class 3, depending on the level of money involved.

Lottery draws must be supervised by an appropriate person (lottery game rule 6(14)). The person must be independent of the organisation conducting the lottery and can be, but is not necessarily limited to, a person who can take declarations under section 9 of the Oaths and Declarations Act. This includes a:

  • barrister and solicitor of the High Court
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Notary Public
  • Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District Court, High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court
  • someone authorised by law to administer an oath
  • Member of Parliament.

More information on running gambling activities

Visit the website of New Zealand Legislation to read the Gambling Act 2003

The Department of Internal Affairs website has a number of gambling-related fact sheets

For more information, contact the gambling group at Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs.