A charity recently had to cancel their holiday raffle because it was against the law.

The charity had 500 tickets to sell through their website at a price of $10 each. The competition was to offer six prizes worth $280 each, with the proceeds being given to the charity.

A member of the public emailed the charity, raising their attention to a provision in the Gambling Act 2003. The Act states that online raffles are considered a form of online gambling and are prohibited in New Zealand, regardless of whether they are for a charitable purpose.

The charity had to cancel the raffle altogether and refund the tickets already sold, meaning the charity missed out on some key funding for the year.

It is common for businesses to run sweepstakes and raffles throughout the year, especially around the holidays, as it is a great way of accruing funds. If your business is planning on running such a competition, it is important to ensure that you’re not breaking any laws, as doing so could prove to be costly.

If you are unsure about your legal responsibilities, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors