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Raffle laws

Georgia Raffle Laws for Nonprofits: Are Raffles Legal in Georgia? [2024]

April 4, 2024

Hosting a raffle in Georgia as a nonprofit organization is legal, but only if you follow a highly specific list of rules. Georgia Code places restrictions and regulations on raffles to ensure they comply with the law.

Knowing how to raise money while avoiding violations is helpful if you're considering running a raffle or supporting one.

Take some time to review the need-to-know details in this article, including:

What is a raffle and how to run one in Georgia

A raffle is a popular fundraising option for charitable organizations to expand their reach among supporters. People get excited about the prospect of winning, and their ticket purchases and optional donations add up quickly.

Raffles can be conducted virtually or in-person to gather new and existing donors. The campaign format lends itself to raising money and building relationships beyond the raffle itself.

Georgia Code Section 16-12-22.1 defines a raffle as a scheme or event in which people pay or are promised consideration for a chance to win a prize. The state also recognizes door prizes and activities that award something in exchange for the cost of admission.

Learn how this nonprofit raised thousands with Zeffy’s free raffles and lotteries solution

How to get a license to run a raffle in Georgia

Any organization or entity that wants to run a raffle in Georgia must obtain a permit from its local sheriff's office. 

See an example of Fulton County’s raffle license instructions here

There are two types of raffle licenses in Georgia:

  • Standard raffle license: This license is best for an that will hold four or more raffles in a single year
  • Special limited raffle license: This license is best for an organization that will hold three or fewer raffles in a single year as long as the raffle lasts 30 days at maximum.

Georgia raffle licenses come with the following requirements:

  • Your local sheriff's office determines an annual fee of up to $100.
  • A minimum of 24 months in operation for any tax-exempt organizations
  • A determination letter from the IRS to certify an organization is tax-exempt
  • A copy of the lease or rental agreement for the raffle location (if applicable)
  • A statement of conviction(s) for criminal offenses for all individuals on the application

Important Georgia raffle laws for nonprofits

The following raffle laws are set forth by Georgia code for all organizations that obtain a legal raffle license.

Raffle eligibility 

Any nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, church, school, civic organization, and related support group can run a raffle in Georgia.

When it comes to individuals, firms, associations, or corporations, partnering or entering into a contract (even for consulting) with a nonprofit for a raffle is illegal. Eligible organizations are prohibited from lending their name or identity to an ineligible entity to operate or advertise a raffle. 

Raffle location and operations

Raffles can only be located on the following premises:

  • Any premises that the licensed organization owns
  • Any premises that the licensed organization leased or rented
  • Any premises used regularly for operations outside of the raffle

If an organization wants to host a raffle in more than one Georgia county, it may do so without acquiring multiple licenses. In this case, only a license from the county where the organization is headquartered is necessary.

A raffle license has to be visible at the location where the raffle takes place.

Licensing and violations

Operating a raffle without a license, an expired license, or not complying with requirements results in:

  • Violation of Georgia law and potential prosecution
  • Committing the offense of commercial gambling
  • Felony with incarceration of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both

Important dates regarding raffle licenses:

  • December 31st and midnight: Raffle licenses given that year will expire
  • January 1st: Raffle license renewals are due to continue operating legally
  • April 15th: Licensed organizations must file a report with their local sheriff's office to disclose receipts and expenditures for raffles that occurred in the previous year

Raffle participation and support

Anyone under 18 cannot participate in a raffle unless an adult accompanies them.

There are also participation restrictions for anyone member of more than one organization that hosts raffles. They can only participate or work at raffles run by two organizations in which they are members.

These individuals can also only accept $30 per day for assisting in raffle operations across all organizations they support.

Raffle reporting requirements

All organizations hosting raffles are required to submit thorough reporting following their event. A certified public accountant must prepare and sign these reports which are considered public records subject to public inspection.

Reports should include the following information:

  • An itemized list of gross receipts for each raffle hosted
  • An itemized list of expenses
  • The name(s) of anyone whom expenses were paid and relevant receipts
  • A list of all prizes awarded and the name and address of winners for any prize with a value over $50.00
  • An itemized list of anyone who received proceeds from a raffle other than the licensee 
  • A record of the number of participants in all raffles conducted

Manage all supporter information in one place with Zeffy’s free donor management solution

Georgia laws in Georgia: FAQs

Are raffles legal in Georgia?

Raffles are legal in Georgia for any nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations, churches, school, civic organizations, and related support group

All raffles are subject to state laws outlined in Georgia Code § 16-12-22.1 - Raffles operated by nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations.

Can you sell raffle tickets online in Georgia?

As of 2024, nonprofits cannot host online raffles in Georgia. The raffle must take place on property owned by the organization running the raffle.

While you can’t use Zeffy’s free raffle solution to sell tickets, you can use it to simplify reporting requirements.

Here are a few ways Zeffy has your back:

  • Tracking your in-person raffle ticket sales for easy summaries and analytics
  • Tracking participant information
  • Maintaining clean records of prizes and prize winners
  • Making it easy to follow up and build relationships with supporters after your raffle
  • Hosting more engaging (and fully compliant) online fundraising campaigns

What is the legal difference between a raffle and a drawing?

The legal difference between a raffle and a drawing is the criteria for entering for a chance to win. Raffles require payment for entries or a promise of a chance to win, while drawings do not.

Georgia law regulates the operations of all lotteries, raffles, drawings, sweepstakes, and games of chance.

Learn how to price raffle tickets for the best fundraising outcomes

Do raffles count as gambling?

Raffles do not count as gambling when conducted with a proper license and do not violate regulations set forth by Georgia Code. If raffles happen without a license, with an expired license, or fail to adhere to requirements, they are considered gambling.

The violation is equivalent to illegal gambling as it can result in prosecution and a heavy fine.

What is the law on raffles in Georgia?

The law on raffles in Georgia is that anyone who runs one must obtain a raffle license and comply with regulations established in Georgia Code § 16-12-22.1.

Additionally, any local sheriff's office has the authority to:

  • Suspend or revoke licenses for violating the law
  • Enter the premises of a raffle licensee or the location of a raffle to examine accounts and records
  • Establish rules and regulations necessary for raffle law enforcement as long as they do not conflict with existing rules

Keep reading :

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