Sweepstakes are a way of fundraising or betting by pooling money, then giving each participant a randomly drawn entrant in a horse race, harness race or greyhound race. Prizes are then given from the pool of money collected.

Sweepstakes don’t need a licence if:

  • it's run by an organisation on its own behalf
  • the gross proceeds don't exceed $2,000
  • the prizes don’t include banned goods or services
  • all money collected is used for prizes.

You must be 18 years or older to participate.

Calcutta sweepstakes

A calcutta sweepstake is a way of fundraising where the chance of winnings from a race, game or sporting event is auctioned to ticket holders.

A calcutta doesn’t need a lottery licence if:

  • the gross proceeds are less than $15,000
  • it's run by an organisation
  • the prizes don’t include banned goods or services.

A calcutta may only be conducted for:

  • a horse race, harness race or greyhound race
  • the final of the Bay Sheffield Foot Race.

Guidelines for a calcutta sweepstake

  • all runners must be auctioned
  • tickets prices must be set before the auction and race
  • only ticket holders can be in the auction and draw
  • if the draw happens on a different day from the race, the results must be announced to everyone who has a ticket
  • the amount of the pool must be announced before the auction and progressive totals must be announced after each runner is sold
  • if a ticket holder doesn’t join or doesn’t win at the auction, they forfeit their ticket
  • if a ticket holder wins the auction, they pay the amount of the bid minus the amount already paid for the ticket.
  • if the person who drew the runner isn’t at the auction, their ticket can be sold to someone else.


For a sweepstake, the total value of prizes must be at least 20% of the gross proceeds. At least 35% of the gross proceeds, as well as all net proceeds, must be used for an approved purpose.

For a calcutta sweepstake, the running costs can’t be more than 10% of the gross proceeds. All remaining money must be used for prizes.

The funds raised can’t be used to benefit a member of an organisation or a registered corporation that returns profits to its members.


All tickets must be sold at the same price and have an equal chance of winning.

Tickets can’t be sold more than three months before the race.

If tickets are sold before the day of the draw, or at a different location:

  • each ticket and butt must contain:
    • the name of the organisation
    • the name of the race
    • the date, place and time of the draw
  • the butt of each ticket must contain the contact details of the buyer
  • the draw must happen on the day, place and time stated on the ticket.

You can’t offer incentives to participate, other than the prizes.


Each person must be notified of the runner they've drawn before the race. A list of names in the draw must be read out and displayed straight after the draw.


All winners must be given their prize or notified of the time and place they can collect it, within four days of the race. Unclaimed prizes must be kept for three months.

Record keeping

Records of a sweepstake must be kept for three months from the date it was drawn.

Apply for a licence

If your sweepstake doesn't meet these requirements, you may need to apply for a major lottery licence.

Contact CBS Lotteries

Contact form

131 882 (option 6)

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

Related information

On this site



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Page last updated 9 January 2023

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
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