Gaming types

Gaming types permitted in Western Australia.

Gaming function permit

A gaming function permit may be approved for any of the following games provided the funds raised are not for private gain or commercial undertaking and the game is conducted in accordance with the approved rules (see below) and, in the case of poker, in line with the current policy.

Gaming applications

Amusements with prizes and minor fundraising

Sections 107 and 108 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act provide that organisations may conduct fundraising activities through the provision of amusements with prizes and/or minor fund-raising activities.

Amusements with prizes are a minor form of gaming provided as entertainment which is ancillary to another event. Some of these activities may constitute a lottery (for example a Lucky Dip at a school fete). The opportunity to win prizes at the amusements provided cannot be the only, or substantial inducement to attend the event.

Minor fund raising activities such as guessing competitions, raffles, chocolate wheels or any other competition in which success does not depend to a substantial degree on the exercise of skill or any other minor fund raising activity which would otherwise be taken to constitute gaming, betting, or a lottery, when conducted as a means of raising money for the benefit of community, cultural, ethnic or charitable purposes, and not for the purpose of private gain or any commercial undertaking, shall be taken to be lawful and deemed to be conducting a permitted amusement with prizes.

Different limits apply to the cost of play and the value of prizes for amusements with prizes and minor fund raising. For amusements with prizes (other than at an agricultural show), the cost of play is limited to $2 and the value of prize is $10. Those amounts are $10 and $100 respectively for an agricultural show.

The aggregate value of prizes for minor fundraising activities is limited to $200 except in the case of a football tipping competition where the prize cannot exceed $10,000.

Bingo

Bingo is played with cards with each card having 15 numbers printed on it. There are now electronic versions of the cards in use. Numbered balls (1-90) are drawn, or a random number generator is used to draw the numbers. When a number is drawn the players mark off that number (if they have it) on their card. The game is won by the first player to mark off a certain pattern of drawn numbers.

A bingo permit may be issued to a sporting, community or charitable organisation to raise funds for an approved purpose. Bingo permits cannot be conducted for private gain or commercial undertaking.

The permit which may be issued for a maximum period of six months only authorises one session of bingo in any week with each playing date specified on the permit. An organisation may exercise two permits in the same week, being either two day sessions (three hour period between 9am and 7pm), two night sessions (three hour period commencing after 7pm and before 9am), or a combination of one day session and one night session provided the same premises are not used to conduct more than one day session and one night session in any 24 hour period.

The rules for the conduct of bingo are set out in Schedule 4 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Regulations 1988. Division 5 of the Regulations (regulations 19 to 26) details other requirements for permitted bingo.

The premises at which the bingo permit will be conducted is required to be approved under section 55 of the Act.

Senior Citizen's Bingo

The provisions of section 95(1)(a) and section 95(2)(a) of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act ("the Act") provide for the issue of a bingo permit for a 12 month period without specifying the dates on which play takes place and where the bingo is conducted by or on behalf of a club the members of which are comprised wholly or mainly of persons who are senior citizens or pensioners, and persons participating in the game are members or the guests of members being persons of a like kind.

Bingo conduct under such a permit is referred to as senior citizens bingo and although the terms "senior citizen" and "pensioner" are not defined in the Act or Regulations a person who has reached 60 years of age is considered a senior citizen. A person is considered a pensioner after reaching the pensionable age of 65 years and retired.

For the purposes of permitted bingo, a club is defined in section 94(1) as to include any society, institution, organisation, association or other body of persons and any separate branch or section of such society, institution, organisation, association or body, but a branch or section shall not be treated as a separate branch or section unless it occupies separate premises.

Senior citizen bingo games are small games not open to the general public, but conducted by the club more as a social outing for its members, and in some cases as recreation for residents of retirement homes or age care facilities. Funds raised from the bingo cannot be used for private gain or any commercial undertaking but in many cases, all proceeds are returned as prizes, which is acceptable.

The premises at which the senior citizen bingo permit will be conducted is required to be approved under section 55 of the Act.

Bingo rules of conduct

Calcutta

Calcuttas originated in Calcutta, India at the beginning of the 19th century when the British introduced a form of wagering in connection with a horse race by 'buying' a chance. The format had two components – a lottery (sweepstake) and an auction.

Regardless of whether a person drew a horse in the lottery, the ultimate holder of a particular horse became the person who was the successful bidder for that horse at the auction.

Where the drawer of a horse was the successful bidder, only half of the auction price was paid. If that person was an unsuccessful bidder they received half of the winning bid as the prize for being lucky in the first phase.

Monies raised from the sweepstake and net auction proceeds formed the prize pool. The organiser retained a small percentage of the prize pool and the remainder distributed, on a percentage basis, to the holders of the place getters in the race. Calcuttas have evolved to where there are also conducted on major sporting events such as professional golf tournaments and foot races.

Section 104(1c) of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act provides for the issue of a Calcutta permit to a race club or an approved club for fundraising purposes. A Calcutta permit is a specific form of a standard lottery and other than the format of the activity all requirements of a standard lottery apply to a Calcutta permit.

An organisation's responsibilities

A Calcutta is a combination of a lottery and an auction-commonly known as a sweepstake. These types of lotteries are usually conducted on major horse racing events, though consideration is given for a Calcutta on other major sporting events.

A permit is required for this type of activity. All applications must be made at least 14 days in advance of the commencement date. The application for a permit must be lodged online via the online portal.

Please note that a Calcutta can only be held for a specific and nominated event.

Continuing Lottery

A continuing lottery is a lottery in which tickets contain concealed pictures, figures, letters or other symbols which the ticket holder exposes to determine whether they have won a prize. They have been known as bingo tickets (a winning ticket spells bingo), beer tickets (winning tickets exchanged for beer) and break open tickets (the player “breaks open” the ticket to expose the concealed symbols).

Continuing lotteries have been conducted in Western Australia for over 30 years as a means of fundraising for community, sporting and charitable organisations. Continuing lottery tickets may be sold by means of a vending machine at licensed premises and also at bingo sessions. The conduct of a continuing lottery is lawful only if authorised by a permit. As with all other permit types, a continuing lottery cannot be conducted for private gain or commercial undertaking.

Division 2 of the Regulations (regulations 14 and 15) and Division 6 (regulations 32 to 36) detail the requirements for continuing lottery permits.

Social gambling

In Western Australia, social gambling is not unlawful. This means that certain types of games can be conducted without a permit. However, there are strict conditions that exist within legislation that defines social gambling.

Specifically, section 64 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987 defines social gambling as:

  • Is spontaneous, notwithstanding that it may occur regularly, habitually or by arrangement between the people involved in the game;
  • Is not promoted or conducted for the private gain of any person not participating in the gambling;
  • Is conducted in a manner that ensures;
    • No person is defrauded or cheated;
    • No charge in money or money's worth is made in respect of the gambling, and that no levy are charged on the winnings of any player;
    • No money or money's worth that any player puts down as stakes, pays as losses, or exchanges for tokens used in the game, are used for any purposes other than payment to the participants in the game;
  • Does not jeopardise the mental, physical or moral welfare of any child under the age of 16;
  • Does not contravene the requirements of the person responsible for the premises where the social gambling is taking place;
  • Is not Two-up;
  • Is not a game that is restricted to being played at Crown Casino, in accordance with the Casino Control Act 1984;
  • Is not a prohibited game in accordance with the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987;
  • Is a gaming which provides is equally favourable to all players participating in the game;
  • Is gaming where the chances of winning lie fairly between one participant and all other players.

Standard Lottery (raffle)

A standard lottery is another name for a raffle for which a permit is required. Tickers or chances in the lottery are offered for sale to the general public over an extended period and the lottery is decided after the cessation of ticket sales by the drawing of tickets or some other random means.

A standard lottery permit can be granted where the principal object of the lottery is the raising of funds for the active promotion, support or conduct of any sporting, social, political, literary, artistic, scientific, benevolent, charitable or other like activity. The lottery cannot be conducted for private gain or any commercial undertaking.

The rules for the conduct of standard lottery permits are set out in Schedule 4 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Regulations 1988. Division 6 of the Regulations (regulations 27 to 31) details other requirements for standard lottery permits.

An organisation's responsibilities

When an organisation intends to sell lottery (such as raffle) tickets to the public for more than one day a standard lottery permit is required. The application for a permit must be lodged online via the department’s website. The application must be submitted at least 14 days before the lottery is due to start (when tickets go on sale).

The permit generally is valid for three months, so tickets can be sold during that time. If an extension is required, apply in writing at least seven days before the original closing date.

The permit generally is valid for three months, so tickets can be sold during that time. If an extension is required, apply in writing at least seven days before the original closing date.

Additional information that may be required includes:

  • Consent letter from school principal (if the permit is conducted by a school’s P&C).
  • If funds raised are proposed to be donated to charity or other community organisations, the beneficiary must confirm in writing that they are aware of the fundraising activity.
  • If funds are to be used to offset the costs of transport or accommodation for an excursion, a copy of the excursion itinerary must accompany the application.

Liquor as a prize

  • The provision of liquor as a prize is prohibited unless the retail value is less than $1000.
  • Written confirmation that person sunder 18 years old will not purchase or sell tickets in the raffle.
  • The Liquor Control Act 1988 provides an exemption for liquor supplied as a prize under a lottery permitted issued under the Gaming and Wagering Control Act.

Vehicle as prize

  • Must be a new car, unless veteran, vintage or post vintage vehicle, valued by a qualified valuer with certificate.
  • Letter must be provided confirming that vehicle offered as a prize is unencumbered.

Progressive draw lottery

A standard lottery permit (raffle) may also conducted as a progressive draw lottery. This enables organisations/clubs to sell tickets for a period of up to three (3) months and conduct a number of draws on various nominated dates over a stipulated period of time after tickets for the lottery have been sold.

In addition to the conditions associated with a standard lottery permit, the following conditions are also applicable in respect to progressive draw lotteries:

  • All tickets must be sold prior to the commencement of the first draw.
  • Tickets cannot be purchased after the ceasing date of the sale of tickets.
  • All tickets must be the same price.

The purchase of a ticket entitles a ticket holder to participate in all draws irrespective of how many draws they may win.

The drawing and publishing dates for all draws must be clearly stated.

Fees associated with a progressive draw lottery are those applicable for a standard lottery permit.

Small private lotteries

Section 103 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act provides that small private lotteries can be held without a permit in the following circumstances:

  1. Where tickets are sold to persons who work or reside on the same premises, or to persons who are all members or the guest of a member of a body of persons (such as a club), where the sale of tickets and the declaration of prizes takes place within 8 days and the maximum value of the prize does not exceed $1000 (one thousand); or
  2. Where the sale of tickets and declaration of the result takes place on the same day and on the premises on which the tickets are sold and the aggregate value of the prizes offered or distributed does not exceed $2000 (two thousand).
  3. The provision of liquor as a prize is prohibited unless the retail value is less than $1000.

Trade promotion lottery

A trade promotion Lottery is a lottery conducted to promote the sale of goods or the use of services, in which every participant in the lottery takes part:

  • without cost; or
  • by reason of the purchase of goods or use of services, the cost of which is no greater than the cost would be without the opportunity to participate in the lottery.

Provided the conditions associated with a trade promotion lottery are met, there is no requirement for an application to be lodged with the Gaming and Wagering Commission. A generic permit for the conduct a trade promotion lottery is available to download or by contacting the department on +61 8 6551 4888.

Two-up

Two-up may be played with coins or dice and it is immaterial whether the coins are thrown up into the air or down onto the ground. Two-up permits may be issued to sporting, charitable and community organisations outside a 100 km radius of Crown Perth Casino. Race clubs within a 100km radius may apply for Ministerial approval to conduct two-up under section 40 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987. Requests of this nature require the consent of Crown Perth Casino and approval will only be considered for major special events, special occasions and other exceptional circumstances. Two-up permits cannot be conducted for private gain or commercial undertaking.

The premises at which the two-up permit will be conducted is required to be approved under section 55 of the Act.

Two-up general conditions

Video Lottery Terminal

A video lottery terminal (VLT) is a machine which displays electronically on a video screen a depiction of a card displaying symbols, by reference to which prizes in the game played may be won. The concept is basically an electronic version of a continuing lottery and was introduced into Western Australia in 1996.

VLTs must be designed not to dispense cash where a prize is won, but to issue a docket displaying the value of the prize (or value of cumulative prizes) which is exchanged for cash. Also, winnimngs cannot be played off as credits.

A VLT permit may be issued to sporting, charitable and community organisations for fundraising purposes. A separate permit is required for each VLT. VLTs can only be placed in premises approved by the Gaming and Wagering Commission, usually licensed clubs, hotels, taverns and bingo premises. No more than 5 VLTs may be installed in any one premise.

VLTs can only be supplied by the holder of a valid gaming equipment supplier’s certificate for the category of sale and supply of VLTs. Each machine must display a registration plate issued by the Commission.

Division 4 of the regulations (regulation 18AA) detail the requirements for VLTs as does the Gaming and Wagering Commission’s policy.

Page reviewed 30 July 2019