Nov 21, 2022
State Raffle Regulations
As a nonprofit organization, raffles can be an effective fundraiser to earn money for your cause. Raffles are considered games of chance, meaning participants pay for a chance to win a valuable prize. Because raffles are games of chance and can be considered lotteries, they’re heavily regulated in many states as a form of gambling. In many cases, organizations must be qualified and licensed under state or local law to conduct raffles. Are raffles legal in your state? Find out what you need before conducting a raffle in your state.
Disclaimer: Every effort was made to source up-to-date information from raffle governing bodies by state, but before you host an online raffle at your nonprofit, ensure you have verified regulations and applied for any necessary licenses. Raffle laws can change regularly, so make sure you are up-to-date.
Raffle laws by state
Raffle legality varies from state to state — some states have little to no restrictions, while others completely ban raffles. Be sure to understand all the state raffle laws where your organization is located to prevent repercussions. Here are some of the most important rules for raffles in each state.
In Alabama, raffles are considered lotteries, which are prohibited. Alabama prohibits having a state lottery, and gambling is illegal with few exceptions. All forms of casino-style gaming are illegal in Alabama too. Your nonprofit cannot legally hold a raffle in Alabama.
Alaska permits charitable gaming activities like raffles, lotteries, bingo, and pull-tabs. Licenses may be issued as the Department of Revenue sees fit.
In Arizona, all forms of gambling are illegal, though charitable organizations can qualify for exemptions to conduct raffles, lotteries, and pull-tab games. Unlicensed nonprofits are limited to conducting raffles only.
Arkansas has some strict raffle laws. Online raffles, electronic raffles, or raffles conducted through a third party are prohibited. Licensed and authorized organizations are permitted to conduct raffles for charitable and philanthropic purposes, though with a few restrictions. Additionally, your organization’s members and officers are the only people allowed to conduct the raffle, and they must volunteer without compensation.
Charities and nonprofit organizations are permitted to conduct raffles if they raise funds for beneficial purposes within the state. Other lotteries are required to donate 90% of their raffle receipts to charitable purposes in California. No raffle may not be operated in any manner over the Internet. This prohibits the selling, training, and redemption of tickets over the internet. You can advertise a raffle on the internet, though.
Nonprofit organizations must register before the raffle and file a financial disclosure report. Raffle registration must occur at least 60 days before the raffle is scheduled.
Only nonprofit organizations that have existed in the state of Colorado for at least five years are eligible to conduct raffles. Qualified organizations must obtain licensure through the Colorado Secretary of State’s office to do so legally.
Each municipality in Connecticut issues permits for raffles within the town. In most cases, the police department is responsible for permits and enforcement. After the raffle ends, your organization has a month to file verified gross receipts, net profit, expenses, and prizes with the municipality. If your raffle prizes exceed $7,500, there will be an investigation into your organization’s qualifications.
Raffle permits are required for raffles conducted in Delaware when tickets are more than $5 for a single drawing, a ticket is over $15 for several drawings or the total cash value of prizes is $5,000 or more. To be eligible to apply for a permit, your organization must have existed for at least two years and have IRS recognition as a charitable organization.
Raffles are considered a form of gambling, which is illegal in Florida. However, IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations are eligible to conduct raffles, given that they meet state requirements. For example, any marketing materials must disclose the organization’s name, the event’s rules, the source of the funds used for prizes, and the time and place of the drawing, as well as that no contribution or donation is necessary.
Nonprofit organizations that meet the IRS qualifications for a nonprofit may conduct raffles with a license. Licenses can be obtained from your county sheriff, though your organization must have existed for at least two years before applying.
Raffles are considered to be a lottery scheme in Hawaii, making it a form of gambling. While gambling is illegal in Hawaii, nonprofit and charity organizations can conduct raffles as long as they don’t require donations or charge for participation. The organization must make it abundantly clear that donations are voluntary and there’s no charge.
Nonprofit organizations are permitted to conduct raffles with a license, though they’re limited to 12 drawings per organization per year. Cash prizes for a single drawing cannot exceed $1,000. At least 80% of the raffle proceeds must be used for charitable purposes, and your organization must file a statement with the state lottery at the end of each year you hold a license.
Raffle licenses can be obtained within your municipality in Illinois. Eligible nonprofit organizations operate without compensating their members and have existed for at least five years before applying. Municipalities are responsible for setting their own raffle laws, so be sure to check where you operate.
Nonprofit organizations can file an application to qualify for conducting charitable gaming events like raffles. Qualified organizations can then apply for a year-long activity license or a one-time activity license.
Nonprofit organizations must obtain a license for the type of gambling activity they’re conducting. Online raffles are legal as long as the manufacturer or distributor is licensed and certified in Iowa.
Nonprofits in Kansas can apply for a raffle license. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days before the event. There are associated fees based on the annual gross raffle receipts.
Nonprofit organizations must submit a raffle application to the Department of Charitable Gaming at least 60 days before the expected raffle date.
Louisiana requires nonprofits to obtain licensure, with exceptions, and disclose all information about the raffle. Records of the raffle must be maintained for three years.
Eligible organizations must register to conduct raffles in Maine. Online raffles are permitted, though there are restrictions. For example, the online raffle operator must be licensed in Maine.
Nonprofit organizations may conduct two raffles per year with a permit from the county where it will be conducted. The organization must also provide the Charitable Organizations Division with disclosure of raffle information before advertising or conducting the event.
Only organizations operating for nonprofit purposes can conduct raffles. The organization must have been active for at least two years in Massachusetts. Additionally, a permit must be obtained from the Town or City clerk where the raffle will be held.
Qualified nonprofit organizations can obtain a license to conduct raffles and other charity games. Before applying for a license, the organization must file a qualification form and documentation.
Registered nonprofit organizations are permitted to conduct raffles. Online raffles are prohibited, though electronic raffle selection systems are allowed, given they meet the requirements.
Nonprofit organizations are eligible for a charitable gaming license if it has at least a three-year documented history of charitable activity. There are fees due at the time of application.
Recognized nonprofit organizations can conduct raffles after applying for and receiving licensure.
Permits or licenses aren’t required for nonprofit organizations to conduct a raffle. However, the organization must register with the gaming department to sell raffle tickets online. Credit cards are prohibited when doing so.
To apply for a Nebraska raffle license, a nonprofit organization must have at least 10 members and have IRS recognition as a tax-exempt nonprofit. Some jurisdictions within the state require local raffle permits and may charge a raffle tax.
Qualified organizations can hold raffles if they’re registered to do so. Nonprofits can register with the Chair of the Nevado Gaming Control Board.
Nonprofit organizations can conduct a raffle with a permit from the town it will be held in. The raffle should promote the organization’s purpose.
Raffles are legal in New Jersey, though organizations must register with the gaming commission to receive an identification number. The identification number can then be used to apply for a raffle license through the municipality where the event will be held.
Gambling and gaming activities are illegal in New Mexico. However, nonprofit organizations can qualify for raffle licenses to sell raffle tickets. Profits from the event must go towards a charitable purpose.
Authorized organizations can conduct raffles. All proceeds must be used for lawful purposes.
Any nonprofit organization in North Carolina can conduct a raffle. Nonprofits are limited to conducting a maximum of four raffles a year.
Organizations must either obtain a State Gaming License through the Attorney General’s Office or a local permit from the city or county where the event will be held.
Only eligible organizations, like nonprofits, can conduct raffles in Ohio. No license is required, though organizations must comply with regulations outlined in Chapter 2915 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).
Nonprofits must qualify to conduct raffles in Oklahoma. Organizations are prohibited from using a third party to sell tickets or solicit contributions.
Nonprofit organizations in Oregon can apply for a charitable gaming license if they’re exempt from federal income taxes and have held that status for a year or more.
Eligible, licensed organizations can conduct raffles. Nonprofits can obtain yearly or monthly licenses, and special raffle permits are available for events that may exceed the normal restrictions.
Nonprofit organizations are eligible to conduct raffles in Rhode Island. Raffle applications must be submitted to the police chief in the town the raffle will be held. Rhode Island prohibits online raffles — the internet can only be used to advertise the event.
In South Carolina, only certain nonprofit organizations may conduct raffles, given that they meet the legal requirements. Eligible nonprofits are prohibited from contracting with third parties to conduct raffles.
Raffles for charitable purposes are permitted in South Dakota. Organizations must provide the Secretary of State with written notice of the raffle and register with the city in which the event will be held.
Nonprofit organizations that have existed for at least five years within Tennessee are eligible to apply for permission to conduct a raffle. Organizations can only hold one “game of chance” event per year.
While no licenses or permits are required in Texas, only qualified, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations that have been operating in Texas for three or more years can hold raffles. Online raffle ticket sales and advertisements are prohibited.
Gambling and lottery schemes are illegal in Utah, though there has been a possibility of charity raffles being made legal so it’s best to check with local authoritative entities for updated information.
Only nonprofit organizations may conduct raffles and other games of chance, and there are no license requirements for simply operating the games. Events can be held twice a week in Vermont.
Nonprofit organizations eligible for Virginia raffle permits must have existed in the state for at least three years as a nonprofit.
Only certain nonprofit organizations qualify to conduct raffles, and they must have been in operation for at least a year before they can conduct a raffle. Certain circumstances may require an organization to obtain a raffle license.
To qualify for a raffle license in Washington D.C., organizations must be nonprofit, incorporated in the District of Colombia and either Maryland or Virginia and have existed for at least one year prior to applying, among other requirements.
Only tax-exempt nonprofit organizations can obtain licensure to conduct raffles in West Virginia. Organizations must apply through the Tax Commissioner at least 60 days before the event. Raffle games must be purchased from a distributor with West Virginia licensure.
Nonprofit organizations may qualify to conduct raffles if they meet certain requirements. Additionally, licensure may be required depending on circumstances.
On the state level, there is no license required for charitable raffles, though some Wyoming counties may require nonprofits to obtain a county raffle license.
Holding a Raffle in Your State
Most states have extremely detailed and specific rules and regulations regarding gambling, charitable games, and raffles specifically. Understanding all the regulations before conducting your raffle is crucial to ensure nothing is missed. For example, many states have rules outlining limits for prize values and whether the winner must be present at the time of the drawing.
Further research into your state’s raffle laws is highly suggested. If anything remains unclear, consider consulting legal counsel to ensure you know how to hold a raffle legally. Failure to comply with all regulations can result in criminal charges.
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