How to Hold a Legal Raffle

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Raffles are a popular way to raise money for nonprofits and charities. In most states, these are the only groups that can hold a raffle legally, since it is considered gambling. You may also need to apply for a permit. Raffles are always illegal in Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas and Utah. Follow all the guidelines to make sure you are holding a legal raffle, and remember—this does not constitute legal advice. Begin the process two or three months before the raffle itself so you will have time to complete all paperwork.

Look up the laws specific to your state. Raffle FAQ (see Resources) has handily categorized all the information links by state, as well as the strictness of the limitations.

Contact your city hall and ask about a raffle permit. They will let you know if one is required, and if you will have to contact the county or state. Fill out the permit, if necessary, and allow four to eight weeks for processing.

Rent the space for the raffle under the name of the organization or nonprofit officially running the raffle. If possible, do it on the organization's property, whether a school, church or nonprofit.

Order raffle tickets bearing the name of the organization, date and location.

Follow all your city, county and state guidelines. If you have further questions, contact your attorney general.