Melbourne Cup & Other Sweeps

melcupsweepMost people are familiar with Melbourne Cup Sweeps. Technically you are not limited to the Melbourne Cup but in NSW it needs to be an approved  racing event. See “Legal Requirements” below. You can hold sweeps for other races. The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday of November, usually at 3PM. It is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world, and one of the world’s richest turf races.

There are two basic forms of Sweeps:

The Common Sweep

In a regular  or common sweep a person purchases a ticket. There is then a draw to see which horse is allocated to which ticket. We suggest that to make it more interesting you use a chocolate or prize wheel to draw the horses. It can be set up such that each drawn horse is automatically taken off the wheel. The tickets would be purchased online but the draw would be held at an event. The prize pool consists of the proceeds from all ticket sales less a % as a contribution to your charity / not-for-profit organisation. There are usually prizes for fist second and third horses and possibly the last.

You can have different price tickets for different sweeps.  For example $50, $20, $10 and $5.

Calcutta Sweepstake (or ‘Auction’)

This is where participants bid at auction on the horse they wish to back (like in a property auction). the auction can be online or online leading up to a live event which doesn’t have to be held immediately prior to the running of the race. For example the event could be held a few nights beforehand. The amounts paid for the successful bids forms the prize pool with a % as a contribution to your charity / not-for-profit organisation.

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Check out the demo online Calcutta at our Demo Auction

Put Together a Sweepstakes Kit

Don’t be limited to just one event. Encourage other groups and members of your organisation to hold sweeps on your behalf at other venues and their workplaces. This is on the basis that there is a % as a contribution to your charity / not-for-profit organisation. You could offer to set them up online if they wish. Their access could be password protected so as to keep it a private event.

Don’t forget to sell Tickets to Your Melbourne Cup Event

Tickets can be sold online as well as the sweep tickets


There could be sponsorship of the sweepstakes and the live event. Sponsors could also provide prizes which would release more funds for the organisation.

Run a Hat Competition at the Event

The one day when women wear hats as a fashion accessory.  men also have punters hats.

Legal Requirements

It is your responsibility to check the legal requirements in each State. For  example, in Victoria, a Calcutta can only must be conducted with a permit issued by the Minister for Racing. In New South Wales, sweeps and Calcutta may be conducted without a permit if the total ticket sales are $20,000 or less.

Prizes can consist of money, goods, gift vouchers for example. However, there are certain prizes that are prohibited and includes tobacco products, firearms, ammunition, weapons, cosmetic surgery and in New South Wales, liquor prizes amounting to more than 20 litres, are not allowed to be given away as prizes.  In Victoria, the total value of prizes must not exceed $5,000.

There needs to be an acknowledgment by the ticket buyers and bidders in the case of a Calcutta that they agree to a % being donated to your organisation.

There is a useful guide issues by the Victorian Commission for Gaming & Liquor Regulation on Melbourne Cup Sweeps and Calcuttas.

There is also a detailed guide published by NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing

Check out the demo online sweep tickets at our Demo Shop