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Is selling raffle tickets for profit legal?

Updated March 23, 2017

State law governs most forms of gambling, including raffles. Some states allow non-profit organisations to raise money by selling raffle tickets, but no state allows individuals or for-profit groups to conduct raffles.

Raffles for Profit

If an individual, for-profit group or government entity conducts a contest that requires participants to buy a ticket, the contest is considered a lottery. Some states permit state-run lotteries, but private lotteries are generally prohibited.

Bans on Raffles

Arkansas, Hawaii and Kansas prohibit raffles of any kind.

Restrictions

Even states that permit raffles impose restrictions. Check state law (see Resources below) and local ordinances for those that apply in your community.

Online Raffles

While many charitable organisations conduct online raffles, their legality is unclear. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prohibits certain online gambling activities but leaves the definition of those activities to the states.

Tip

It may be possible to raffle off something you own if you partner with a non-profit organisation. The organisation must own the item at the time of the raffle. Consult an attorney to determine the legality of this option in your state.

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About the Author

Kate Fogle, an attorney and former English teacher, is the communications director for a non-profit agency in Stockton, Calif. Prior to recent articles on eHow.com, her writing has been published in-house for professional purposes. Fogle is a graduate of UC Davis with a JD from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall.