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Raffle Tickets

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth about US Raffle Law Part I

By Lance Trebesch June 18, 2011

Conducting a Local Raffle or Prize Draw in Full Compliance with State Regulations

Your organization wants to earn more money to support your cause, but you don’t want to run afoul of state ordinance regarding fundraising. That’s why it’s important to conduct your research in advance to ensure that you are running your business or charity raffle according to the rules. In addition, good planning up front will pay off in the long run. Keeping all your affairs in order will help you out later when you are preparing your taxes or planning another prize draw!

In addition, staying in touch with your legal responsibilities will come in handy when you’re ready to print your own raffle tickets and start selling them.

I. Are Raffles Legal in My State? Getting Started, Staying Safe

Raffles are effective ways organizations of all kinds can raise money, but raffles are not legal in some states. It is imperative to check on whether it is legal or not in your state, but also to be clear on the details of the raffle laws in those states where raffles are legal.

Just a few years ago, a web search would have revealed a number of states where any raffles were considered an illegal, unlicensed form of gambling, but in many cases these laws have been relaxed. Today, your search would reveal sources explaining that raffles are completely are complete illegal only the following states: Alabama and Hawaii. Be aware, though, that according to this source, there are states where raffles have only recently become legal. There are also states where there is little or no online information about laws regarding raffles. Other sources add Hawaii and Kansas to the list. It depends on what you consider a raffle, and how you organize.

  • • Be thorough and clear. It may be a good idea to consult with a legal expert before beginning your organization’s raffle prize fundraiser. The bigger your organization or prize draw, the more important it will be that you ask a lawyer for advice, or make sure that you’ve followed all the necessary procedures.
  • • The first step in this process is determining whether or not it is legal in your state. The second step is to familiarize yourself with your state’s law on raffles. The inability to do these things may result in your organization breaking the law and would result in legal ramifications.
  • • States may also require a Raffle License Application for the raffle to take place. Again, be sure to study the laws and the steps necessary to operate your raffle legally in your state.

In the United States, many raffles only possess legality if the proceeds go to charitable causes. This is a fairly common element in United States raffle laws, and should be a major consideration in your business or organization’s raffle ticket event. Again, be sure to gain knowledge and seek legal counsel regarding your state’s rules and regulations.

If you can’t afford legal counsel, how can you become familiar with your state’s laws? TicketPrinting.com offers a complete page of references, state by state, so you can begin familiarizing yourself with the proper steps. You can also run your own Internet searches or contact a local governmental agency for more information. Remember, advice you receive online may not always be accurate or up-to-date! It’s a good idea to pick up the phone and call the state gaming commission whenever you’re in doubt.

Learning more about the local laws will pay off, so don’t hesitate to spend some time researching them. It’s a bit of an esoteric subject, and a little research will transform you into an expert on local law. You’ll become a helpful resource to any organization that requires fundraising help.

Next week: State by State: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Legally Printing and Selling Raffle Tickets