Lucky Tickets

Australians love to take a chance. Could your fundraising reveal Lady Luck by selling lucky tickets?

How it works?

Lucky tickets—also known as lucky numbers, lucky envelopes, continuing lotteries, pull-tab or break-open—are a game of chance.

A buyer tears, opens, or scratches a ticket to reveal a number. If the number on the ticket matches one of the ‘lucky’ numbers on a poster, the player gets to take home a prize, then and there. Sounds easy!

Particularly when you compare it to the aftermath of raffles and silent auctions, as this Fetes and Festival Facebook fan remembers:

“At our fete last year, our fireworks were washed out and a lot of people had left by 4.30pm, instead of the usual 7pm, and the cent auction wasn’t drawn until 5pm which meant all the cent auction prizes were unclaimed. That caused real headaches in the school office over the next few weeks. Office staff didn’t know to check winners’ names against the prize list and wrong prizes were handed out as some of the prizes were very similar.”

Rules of fundraising with lucky tickets

As a game of chance, lucky tickets constitute gaming. Every Australian state and territory has slightly different rules on gaming but these basics apply for lucky envelopes:

  • Your organisation has a declared status as a charitable organisation.
  • Lucky tickets require a permit. The cost varies.
  • Lucky envelope tickets have specific print requirements.
  • The overall value of prizes is specified.
  • The profit is specified.
  • Some prizes (such as tobacco and cosmetic surgery) are prohibited. Others (like liquor) have limitations.

Read your state or territory’s gaming requirements for lucky tickets:


New South Wales



South Australia

Western Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

The odds of being a fundraising winner

State laws determine the minimum percentage of lucky numbers in a series.

As a fundraiser you can make the odds of winning more attractive, as this Fundraising Directory Facebook fan recalled:

“We made it a one in three chance of winning with minor prizes being the things that would normally be in a cent auction, like bracelets, lollies, toys, stationery, vouchers, and a few big ticket major prizes.”

But you also have to work out whether there’s enough in it for you to make money—given setup costs (such as printing of tickets, purchase of some prizes (make sure you get donations too) and permit).

Fundraising support services MSMerrywheels, which provides equipment and prizes for lucky envelopes, explains a useful formula to work out whether this is a fundraiser you can bank on.


Original article published Feb 8, 2012

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