Legal Issues of Online Raffles for Nonprofit Fundraising

Written by jessica brower
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Legal Issues of Online Raffles for Nonprofit Fundraising
Online raffles can help raise money, but laws must be followed. (ticket row image by Nicemonkey from

A ticket raffle can be a successful and lucrative fundraising option for a non-profit organisation. Before accepting prize donations, printing and selling tickets, the most important detail is to first research state gambling laws. Legislation varies, and in some states, such as Arkansas and Kansas, raffling is illegal.

License Requirements

Some states require obtaining a license prior to selling tickets. In Iowa, processing can take up to 30 days so it is important to apply early. In nearly every state requiring a license, a fee does apply. Refer to the Resources section of this article for a list of state officials and specific requirements by state.

Raffle Requirements

Before even applying, an organisation must qualify for non-profit charity status based on requirements dictated by local government regulations. In Colorado, a charity organisation must exist for 5 years before being allowed to hold a bingo or raffle. Other states do not have a minimum year, but instead apply maximum permit numbers per year.

Online Alternatives

Some states have specific laws limiting the value of prizes or the way they can be sold. In this situation, an organisation can consider hosting an online auction. CMarket, for example, offers low cost hosting for this type of event, as well as auction help. CMarket currently holds auctions for national companies like United Way and The American Red Cross.

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