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U.S. Online Raffle Legal Rules Summary by State

Are Online Raffles Legal? We get that question all the time. Online Raffle and Raffles in general are governed by state laws. A few States, such as Utah and Hawaii have very strict laws. 45 States allow online raffles. Most states have various requirements regarding online raffles with the most common ones being the raffle must be for a non-profit charitable organization. Many states require that the raffle provide a way for someone to enter with no purchase necessary. In Florida, for example, the raffle has to be for a charity, the name and address of the charity must be listed in the raffle rules, the date of the drawing must be posted and there must be a way for someone to enter without making a donation. So in the sample rules, Chance2Win has provided for all of these requirements,and the charity will accept self addressed stamp envelope with 1 per entry to meet the no purchase necessary requirement. The Sample Rules are simply a guideline, you need to check with your governing organization to make sure your charity online raffle meets the requirements.

Below is a summary of various legal rules regarding online raffles by State.  This is not legal advice, we always suggest you consult with an attorney regarding the proper rules for your raffle.

Alabama Charitable Raffles (no)

Alabama does not allow any online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

Ala. Code § 13A-12-20

State charitable gaming laws ban raffles outright.

Arkansas Charitable Raffles (yes/no) – consult legal assistance

Arkansas is strange.  Please see the following for more information:

Arkansas Code,§ 23-114-101, et seq Department of Finance and Administration

http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx

The Director of the Department of Finance and Administration is the governing body. Charitable Bingo and Raffles Enabling Act is the code.

The following point is confusing:

23-114-202.2c All bingo faces and raffle tickets must be preprinted on paper or plastic in a form approved by the director. No electronic devices, machines, or facsimiles may be used as bingo faces, raffle tickets, or otherwise, by participants of games of bingo or raffles conducted under this chapter.

California Online Charitable Raffles (no)

California allows Fundraising Raffles but not Online- for more info see:

Governing legislation California Penal Code Section 320.5 State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

http://oag.ca.gov/charities/raffles

Special Circumstances to pay attention to when creating your rules and your raffle:

320.5.b.4A At least 90% of the gross receipts generated from the sale of raffle tickets for any given draw are used by the eligible organization conducting the raffle to benefit or provide support for beneficial or charitable purposes…..

This makes 50/50 raffles in California difficult to do. The following two points make electronic raffles in California very difficult to do as well.

320.5.b.4C.e No raffle otherwise permitted under this section may be conducted by means of, or otherwise utilize, any gaming machine, apparatus, or device, whether or not that machine, apparatus or device meets the definition of slot machine contained in Section 330a, 330b, or 330.1

and

320.5.2 (2) A raffle may not be operated or conducted in any manner over the Internet, nor may raffle tickets be sold, traded, or redeemed over the Internet……

Colorado (yes)

Colorado allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

12-9-101 may be cited as the Bingo and Raffles Law

 

Connecticut (yes)

Connecticut allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 7-170 to 7-186

Specific Issues to be aware of:

Connecticut allows raffles and there are number of different licenses:

§ 7-175. Kinds of permits

Permits under the provisions of sections 7-170 to 7-186, inclusive, shall be of seven kinds. “Class No. 1” permits shall allow the operation of a raffle which shall be consummated within three months of the granting of the permit and the aggregate value of the prize or prizes offered shall be not more than fifteen thousand dollars. “Class No. 2” permits shall allow the operation of a raffle which shall be consummated within two months of the granting of the permit and the aggregate value of the prize or prizes offered shall be not more than two thousand dollars. “Class No. 3” permits shall permit the operation of a bazaar for a period of not more than ten consecutive days, excluding legal holidays and holy days on which the bazaar is not functioning. Any bazaar held under the authority of any such permit shall be held within six months of the granting of such permit. “Class No. 4” permits shall allow the operation of a raffle which shall be consummated within one month of the granting of the permit and the aggregate value of the prize or prizes offered shall be not more than one hundred dollars. “Class No. 5” permits shall allow the operation of a raffle which shall be consummated within nine months of the granting of the permit and the aggregate value of the prize or prizes offered shall be not more than fifty thousand dollars. “Class No. 6” permits shall allow the operation of a raffle which shall be consummated within one year of the granting of the permit and the aggregate value of the prize or prizes offered shall be not more than one hundred thousand dollars. “Class No. 7” permits shall allow the operation of a raffle which shall be consummated within fifteen months of the granting of the permit, shall allow no more than twelve prize drawings on separate dates and the aggregate value of the prize or prizes offered shall be not more than fifty thousand dollars. No more than one “Class No. 1” permit, two “Class No. 3” permits, one “Class No. 4” permit, five “Class No. 5″ permits, five Class No. 6” permits or three “Class No. 2” permits shall be issued to any qualifying organization within any one calendar year. The aggregate value of prizes offered under any of such permits shall represent the amount paid by the applicant for the prize or prizes or the retail value of the same if donated.

Delaware (yes)

Delaware allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

10-100-102 Del. Code Regs

Department of State, Division of Professional Regulation. http://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/gaming/raffle.shtml

Specific Issues to be aware of:

If you are a qualified charitable organization and your raffle ticket price is $5 or less and the total retail cash value of prizes to be awarded is less than $5,000, you are not required to obtain a raffle permit from the Board of Charitable Gaming.

Florida (yes)

Florida allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

Fla. Stat. § 849.0935

 
You need to be aware of sections 849.0935(3):
All brochures, advertisements, notices, tickets, or entry blanks used in connection with a drawing by chance shall conspicuously disclose:
(a) The rules governing the conduct and operation of the drawing.
(b) The full name of the organization and its principal place of business.
(c) The source of the funds used to award cash prizes or to purchase prizes.
(d) The date, hour, and place where the winner will be chosen and the prizes will be awarded, unless the brochures, advertisements, notices, tickets, or entry blanks are not offered to the public more than 3 days prior to the drawing.
(e) That no purchase or contribution is necessary.

And of 849.0935(4)(b) To require an entry fee, donation, substantial consideration, payment, proof of purchase, or contribution as a condition of entering the drawing or of being selected to win a prize. However, this paragraph does not prohibit an organization from suggesting a minimum donation or from including a statement of such suggested minimum donation on any printed material used in connection with the fundraising event or drawing;

Make sure you post this information in your raffle description and that you have an way for people to enter via mailing in a card, etc. in your rules.

 

Georgia (yes)

Georgia allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

Ga. Code Ann. § 16-12-22

Specific Issues to be aware of:

Contact the county sheriff’s office.

§ 16-12-22.1.

(h) Raffles shall be operated only on premises owned by the nonprofit, tax-exempt organization operating the raffle, on property leased by the nonprofit, tax-exempt organization and used regularly by that organization for purposes other than the operation of a raffle, or on property leased by the nonprofit, tax-exempt organization operating the raffle from another nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.

Hawaii (no)

Hawaii does not allow online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1220

illegal to do a raffle

Idaho (yes)

Idaho allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

Idaho Code Ann. § 67-77

Title 67 State Government and state affairs Chapter 77 Bingo and Raffles http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title67/T67CH77SECT67-7710.htm

Below makes it difficult to hold a 50/50 raffle let alone an electronic 50/50 raffle in Idaho

Specific Issues to be aware of:

(2) Raffle drawings must be held in Idaho and shall be limited to twelve (12) per charitable or nonprofit organization per year, provided that this limitation shall not apply to public or private elementary schools, secondary schools or higher education institutions located in this state. The maximum aggregate value of cash prize(s) that may be offered or paid for any one (1) raffle, which is not a duck race is one thousand dollars ($1,000) and if merchandise is used as a prize and it is not redeemable for cash, there shall be no limit on the maximum amount of value for the merchandise.

Illinois (yes)

Illinois allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

230 Ill. Comp. Stat. 15/8.1 Illinois General Assembly

Contact your County Clerk

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1400&ChapAct=230 ILCS 15/&ChapterID=25&ChapterName=GAMING&ActName=Raffles+Act.

 

Specifics to be aware of:

(230 ILCS 15/4) (from Ch. 85, par. 2304) Sec. 4. Conduct of raffles. 6) A person under the age of 18 years may participate in the conducting of raffles or chances only with the permission of a parent or guardian.

Indiana (yes)

Indiana allows online charity raffles.  Please see the following for more information:

68 Ind. Admin. Code 21-1-01 through 21-7-14

Indiana Gaming Commission, Charity Gaming Division

Iowa (yes)

Iowa allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Iowa Code § 99B.6 Department of Revenue

https://tax.iowa.gov/

See chapter 99b under games of skill or chance, and raffles

Kansas (no)

Kansas does not allow charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-4302

 

Louisiana (yes/no) – Consult Legal Advice

Louisiana has some very interesting laws.

See the following Statute:

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 4:701-740; § 27-402

Charitable gaming is handled by the Office of charitable gaming

http://www.ocg.louisiana.gov//default.asp

Special Situations to pay attention to.  Advise to consult a lawyer before hosting an online raffle.

The issue seems to be “… a loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit…”    Given a non-profit charity does not make a profit, this law is confusing at best.

§90.3. Gambling by computer….

A. The Legislature of Louisiana, desiring to protect individual rights, while at the same time affording opportunity for the fullest development of the individual and promoting the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people, including the children of this state who are our most precious and valuable resource, finds that the state has a compelling interest in protecting its citizens and children from certain activities and influences which can result in irreparable harm. The legislature has expressed its intent to develop a controlled well-regulated gaming industry. The legislature is also charged with the responsibility of protecting and assisting its citizens who suffer from compulsive or problem gaming behavior which can result from the increased availability of legalized gaming activities. The legislature recognizes the development of the Internet and the information super highway allowing communication and exchange of information from all parts of the world and freely encourages this exchange of information and ideas. The legislature recognizes and encourages the beneficial effects computers, computer programming, and use of the Internet resources have had on the children of the state of Louisiana by expanding their educational horizons. The legislature further recognizes that it has an obligation and responsibility to protect its citizens, and in particular its youngest citizens, from the pervasive nature of gambling which can occur via the Internet and the use of computers connected to the Internet. Gambling has long been recognized as a crime in the state of Louisiana and despite the enactment of many legalized gaming activities remains a crime. Gambling which occurs via the Internet embodies the very activity that the legislature seeks to prevent. The legislature further recognizes that the state’s constitution and that of the United States are declarations of rights which the drafters intended to withstand time and address the wrongs and injustices which arise in future years. The legislature hereby finds and declares that it has balanced its interest in protecting the citizens of this state with the protection afforded by the First Amendment, and the mandates of Article XII, Section 6 of the Constitution of Louisiana and that this Section is a product thereof.

B. Gambling by computer is the intentional conducting, or directly assisting in the conducting as a business of any game, contest, lottery, or contrivance whereby a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit when accessing the Internet, World Wide Web, or any part thereof by way of any computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, or any server.

Louisiana does not prohibit persons under the age of 18 from playing charitable gaming activities…..unless a computer/video device is utilized.

Maine (yes)

Maine allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17 § 331

Maryland (yes)

Maryland allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Md. Code Title 13 Gaming Office of the Secretary of State

http://www.sos.state.md.us/Charity/Raffles.aspx

Raffles are authorized by state law, but issued by local governments.

Michigan (yes)

Michigan allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Mich. Comp. Laws § 432.101 et seq  Charitable Gaming Division of Michigan lottery.

http://michigan.gov/documents/BSL-CG-1824_26045_7.pdf

Potential Issues to be aware of:

Lotto or lottery cannot be used in advertising of a raffle or on the raffle tickets.

 

Minnesota (yes)

Minnesota allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Minn. Stat. §§ 349.11 to 349.23  Office of Reviser of Statutes

http://mn.gov/gcb/

Potential Issues to be aware of:

Subd. 2d. Raffle prizes.
The board may not impose an annual limit on the value of raffle prizes awarded by licensed organizations but the total value of an individual raffle prize may not exceed $50,000.

Alternative methods of determining winners has it’s own rulings.  Such legal drawings may include a golf ball drop, cow-a-bunga bingo where there is a random dropping of a cow pie.

 

Mississippi (yes)

Mississippi allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-33-50 et seq  Mississippi Gaming Commission

http://www.msgamingcommission.com/

Missouri (yes)

Missouri allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 313.005 to 313.080

 

Nebraska (yes)

Nebraska allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Neb. Rev. Stat.§ 9-1,101 et seq Department of Revenue

Nebraska charitable gaming created a powerpoint regarding raffles : http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/gaming/Lottery_Raffle_11-2012.ppt

http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/lottraff.html

Potential Issues to be aware of:

Nebraska has defined lottery and Raffle separately,  where lottery= cash prizes and raffles = Merchandise Prizes.  Both types of charitable gaming are allowed for eligible non-profits to hold.

Nevada (yes)

Nevada allows charitable raffles.  For more information see:

Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 462-064; 462-130 to 462-200 state gaming control board

New Hampshire (yes)

New Hampshire allows charitable raffles.  For more information see:

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 287-A:1 to 287-A:11

Potential Issues to be aware of:

Raffle tickets cannot be sold to children – you must be 16 or older.

New Jersey (yes)

New Jersey allows charitable raffles.  For more information see:

N.J. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 5:8-50 to 5:8 Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Legalized games of Chance and Control Commission

http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/lgccc/

New York (yes)

New York allows charitable raffles.  For more information see:

N.Y. Rac. Wag. Law §§ 185 to 195r

 

North Carolina (yes)

North Carolina allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 14-309.15; § 105‑130.11 et seq

Potential Issues to be aware of:

(c)        Raffles shall be limited to two per nonprofit organization per year.

(d)        Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section,  the maximum cash prize that may be offered or paid for any one raffle is one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000) and if merchandise is used as a prize, and it is not redeemable for cash, the maximum fair market value of that prize may be one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000). The total cash prizes offered or paid by any nonprofit organization or association may not exceed one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000) in any calendar year. The total fair market value of all prizes offered by any nonprofit organization or association, either in cash or in merchandise that is not redeemable for cash, may not exceed one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000) in any calendar year.

(e)        Raffles shall not be conducted in conjunction with bingo.

(f)         As used in this subsection, “net proceeds of a raffle” means the receipts less the cost of prizes awarded. No less than ninety percent (90%) of the net proceeds of a raffle shall be used by the nonprofit organization or association for charitable, religious, educational, civic, or other nonprofit purposes. None of the net proceeds of the raffle may be used to pay any person to conduct the raffle, or to rent a building where the tickets are received or sold or the drawing is conducted.

(g)        Real property may be offered as a prize in a raffle. The maximum appraised value of real property that may be offered for any one raffle is five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). The total appraised value of all real estate prizes offered by any nonprofit organization or association may not exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) in any calendar year.

North Dakota (yes)

North Dakota allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

N. D. Cent. Code§ 53-06.1  Gaming Division

http://www.ag.nd.gov/Gaming/raffle/Raffle.htm

Potential Issues to be aware of:

Within seven days of a raffle, an organization shall notify the winning player verbally or, if the value of the prize exceeds two hundred dollars, in writing, of the prize and arrange the pickup or delivery of the prize. If a prize remains unclaimed by a winning player for thirty days following the date of the written notification and an organization has made a good-faith effort to contact the winner to redeem the prize, the organization may retain the prize, have a second prize drawing, or award it in another raffle or game.

An organization may award a bonus prize based on a separate drawing of previously drawn winning tickets.

 

Oklahoma (yes)

Oklahoma allows charity raffles.  Please the following for more info:

Okla. Stat. tit. 3A, §§ 401 to 427  Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General

http://www.ok.gov/oag/

Pennsylvania (yes)

Pennsylvania allows raffles for charities – See the following statute:

10 Pa. Code §§ 311 to 327 Secretary of State

http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/061/chapter874/chap874toc.html

A Weird Issue:

If a winner has not claimed their prize within a year, it goes to the State Lottery Fund:  Unclaimed prize money on winning raffle lottery game tickets will be retained by the Secretary for payment to the persons entitled thereto for 1 year from the announced close of the raffle lottery game. If no claim is made within 1 year of the announced close of the raffle lottery game conducted by the State Lottery under this chapter, the right of a ticket holder to claim the prize represented by that ticket, if any, expires and the prize money will be paid into the State Lottery Fund and used for purposes otherwise provided for by statute. 

Rhode Island (yes)

Rhode Island allows raffles for charities – See the following statute:

R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-19-1 et seq.; 41-3-1 et seq

South Carolina (Yes)

South Carolina DID NOT allow raffles for charities – But recently in 2015 they voted to change the law and now South Carolina is legal to host raffles.

Here is a current summary of the law

Basically you must be a non profit charitable organization and depending on the size and type of the raffle you may need a permit.  50-50 Raffles are also allowed.

South Dakota (yes)

S.D. Const. § 25;S.D. Codified Laws § 22-25-23 et seq

Tennessee (yes)

Tennessee allows raffles for charities – See the following:

Tenn. Code Ann.§ 3-17-101 et seq  Secretary of State

http://www.tennessee.gov/sos/charity/gaming/gaming_faq.htm#2

Potential Issues:

Raffles, reverse raffles, cakewalks, and cakewheels, etc are allowed, but bingo, pulltabs, punchboards are not.

There is also an application requirement with a sliding fee scale.

 

Texas (yes)

Texas allows raffles for charities – See the following:

Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 2002  Attorney General

This chapter may be cited as the Charitable Raffle Enabling Act

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer/raffle.shtml

Possible Issues:

Cannot have cash prizes so 50-50 types of raffles are not allowed in Texas

Vermont (yes)

Vermont allows Raffles – Here is the legal info:

Utah Const. Art. 4, Sec. 27  Secretary of State

https://www.sec.state.vt.us/

 

Virginia (yes)

Virginia allows raffles for charities – See the following statute:

Va. Code Ann. §§ 15.2-912.2; 18.2-334.2; 18.2-340-16 et s

Washington (yes)

Online Fundraising Raffles in Washington are monitored by the WA Gambling Commission

Wash. Rev. Code. Ann. § 9.46.0311  Washington state gambling commission

http://www.wsgc.wa.gov/

Washington, D.C. (yes)

Washington D. C. allows fundraising raffles – please see the following statute:

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 30, § 1500 et seq

Wisconsin (yes)

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 563-90 et seq  Department of Administration

Quirks

Wisconsin law proscribes that no salaries, fees or profits can be paid to any other
organization or individual in connection with the operation of a raffle.

http://www.doa.state.wi.us/Divisions/Gaming

Utah (no)

The State of Utah prohibits Fundraising Raffles. We will not accept raffles hosted in Utah.