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Tools for Nonprofits

US raffle rules by state: Legal guidelines for nonprofits and 501(c)3

February 1, 2024

In the United States (US), each state has its own set of definitions and laws that dictate what is considered a raffle, which organizations are permitted to host a raffle, and what is required to legally host a raffle.

The first raffle you host can be a bit time consuming and probably confusing, but some of the biggest campaigns on Zeffy are raffles.

Raffles raise a lot of money for the nonprofits that host them.

If you’re feeling impatient, jump right to our raffle rules and regulations by state:

Are raffles in the US legal?

Raffles in the US are regulated at the state level. Most states have created laws, rules, and regulations that outline:

For the most part, nonprofit and 501(c)3 organizations can host raffles to raise money for their cause. But, the rules and regulations vary a lot from state to state.

Some states have strict regulations on how raffles can be conducted, including:

Others—we’re looking at your Texas—have almost no raffle rules or regulations, relying entirely on the honour system.

In the few states where raffles are straight up illegal or heavily regulated, we definitely suggest consulting with your lawyer or local government to understand the specific rules that apply to raffles in your area.

All that to say that, yes, in most cases raffles in the US are legal. But, it's important to check the specific laws in your state before your nonprofit or 501(c)3 organization hosts a raffle.

Who can host a raffle in the United States?

In 48 of the 50 US states, nonprofits and 501(c)3 organizations can host a raffle. While some states have almost no rules and regulations (Texas), others completely ban raffles (Alabama).

But, the one consistent rule in states that do allow raffles is: only nonprofit and 501(c)3 organizations are permitted to host raffles.

Okay, let’s break these raffle rules and regulations down state by state.

Nonprofit raffle laws and regulations by state: A-C.

Responsive Table
State sorted by alphabetical order Legal or prohibited Specific regulations Are online ticket sales permitted Cost Useful links
Alabama The State of Alabama considers raffles to be lotteries, which are illegal under state law. Nonprofits and 501(c)3 organizations cannot host raffles. N/A N/A - Code of Alabama: Chapter 12, Article 2
Alaska Raffles are legal in Alaska. Nonprofits and 501(c)3 organizations can host raffles as long as they have been in existence for at least three years, and have at least 25 members. Yes! $20.00 - Alaska Charitable Gaming Instructions and Forms
- Alaska Gaming Permit Application Instructions
Arizona Raffles in Arizona are not regulated, but there are a few rules that determine if you can host a raffle. - Raffles should be registered with the Attorney General’s office.
- Your nonprofit organization needs to have been in existence continuously in Arizona for at least one years.
Yes! (As long as the sale happens on your website.) $0.00 - Registration Information and Forms
- Charitable Gaming Rules
- Application for Certification for Qualifying Charitable Organization
- Gaming Tips
Arkansas Raffles in Arkansas are permitted as long as you have a permit. Your organization needs to be a qualified nonprofit tax exempt organization operating for at least five (5) years. No. - Annual license (to host multiple raffles): $100.00
- $25.00 to host one raffle
- Charitable Raffle Rule.
- Raffle FAQs
- Raffle application/renewal.
California Raffles are legal in California. Any nonprofit organization that has been operating in California for at least one year. (AKA your nonprofit does not need 501(c)3 status.) No. $30.00 - Nonprofit raffle laws in California.
- Application for Registration: Nonprofit Raffle Form.
Colorado Colorado requires nonprofit organizations to have a license for every raffle they host. - Have a nonprofit organization in Colorado.
- Operate without profit.
- Have been operating for 5 years prior to the applying for a bingo-raffle license.
Yes. $100.00 - Nonprofit raffle laws in Colorado.
- Planning a raffle.
- Application for a raffle license.
Connecticut Nonprofit organizations can host raffles as long as they apply for a permit. - Nonprofit organizations must have been functioning for at least one year prior to applying.
- Check with your municipality to see if they allow nonprofits to host raffles.
Yes! $15.00 - $300.00 - Nonprofit raffle laws in Connecticut.
- Application for a permit to concduct a raffle.

Nonprofit raffle laws and regulations by state: D-I.

Responsive Table
State sorted by alphabetical order Legal or prohibited Specific regulations Are online ticket sales permitted Cost Useful links
Delaware Nonprofit organizations can host raffles as long as they are 501(c) certified by the IRS. If you are a qualified charitable organization and your raffle ticket price is $5 or less and the total retail cash value of prizes to be awarded is less than $5,000, you are not required to obtain a raffle permit from the Board of Charitable Gaming. No. $15.00 - Raffle Events.
- Regulations Governing Raffles.
- Apply for a license online with a DELPROS account.
Florida To host a raffle in the state of Florida you need to be a qualified nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status and have a current determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service. You do not have to register or obtain a license or permit to host a raffle in Florida. (Go Florida!) However, you do have to be a qualified nonprofit organization and follow a few rules and regulations. We couldn’t find any laws or rules that say you can’t, so (as far as we can tell) yes you can! $0.00 - Nonprofit raffle laws in Florida.
Georgia Georgia does allow raffles, but nonprofits need to apply for a permit from the Sheriff’s Office in their county. Only nonprofit, tax-exempt churches, schools, civic organizations, or related support groups; nonprofit organizations qualified under 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code; or bona fide nonprofit organizations approved by the sheriff can host a raffle. No. $100.00 - Georgia Raffle Law.
Hawaii Raffles are illegal in Hawaii. Nonprofits cannot use raffles as a fundraising device unless they make it clear that participation is free of charge and donations are strictly voluntary. Yes. As long as participation is free of charge. $0.00 - Guidance Regarding Charitable Raffles.
Idaho Charitable and nonprofit organizations can conduct raffles in Idaho. - Must have been in continuous existence for one year in the county where you intend to operate.
- Have IRS tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3, etc., be exempt from taxes under Title 63, Idaho Code and be certified by the Secretary of State.
Yes. $100.00 for the first year + $100.00 - $300.00 for subsequent years. - Charitable Gaming FAQs.
- How to apply for a license.
- Download the application packet.
Illinois Nonprofit organizations can host a raffle in Illinois. Raffles in Illinois are controlled by the counties or municipalities. So, you need to apply through your county or municipality. Yes and no. (It depends on your county or municipality.) Expect to pay a minimum of $25 to apply for a license. - Nonprofit raffle laws in Illinois.
Indiana Nonprofit organizations can host a raffle in Indiana. Only qualified tax-exempt organizations who have received 501(c) status from the IRS may conduct charitable raffles in Indiana. No. (You cannot accept payment via credit card.) $50.00 - Become a qualified organization.
- Charity Gaming Basics.
Iowa Yes! Nonprofits can hold raffles in Iowa. - A license must be issued by DIA before gambling takes place, including the promotion and sale of tickets.
-You’ll need a State of Iowa Sales Tax Permit Number. (Yes, even non-profit organizations.)
Yes. (But only with a two-year license.) $15.00 - $150.00 depending on length and size of your raffle. - How to Apply for a Charitable Gambling License?
- Charitable Gaming Law.

Nonprofit raffle laws and regulations by state: K-M

Responsive Table
State sorted by alphabetical order Legal or prohibited Specific regulations Are online ticket sales permitted Cost Useful links
Kansas Charitable raffles are legal in Kansas. Only qualified, tax-exempt nonprofits who have received 501(c) status may conduct raffles in Kansas. Yes. $25.00 - $100.00 - Charitable Gaming License Information.
- Raffle License Application Form.
Charitable Gamming Handbook.
Kentucky Nonprofit’s can host raffles in Kentucky. Any charitable organization conducting charitable gaming in Kentucky is required to be licensed by the Department of Charitable Gaming. No. $25.00 - Department of Charitable Gaming.
- Charitable Gaming Application.
- Application for raffles that do not exceed $25,000.
- Guide to Charitable Gaming in Kentucky.
Louisiana Raffles are legal. Any charitable organization conducting gaming in Louisiana is required to be licensed by the Office of Charitable Gaming. Yes. $75.00 - Louisiana Office of Charitable Gaming.
- Raffle Application forms.
Maine Raffles hosted by nonprofit organizations are legal. An organization is not required to register with the Gambling Control Unit if the Raffle prize value is $10,000 of less. Yes. $15.00 - $700.00 - Maine Gambling Control Unit.
- Application to Register for a Raffle.
- Online Internet Raffle Considerations.
Maryland Raffles are permitted in Maryland but are governed by the counties. All organizations must reach out to their county before hosting a raffle. Yes and no. (It depends on the county.) $10.00 - $56.00 per raffle. - Maryland raffles page.
- Baltimore County Gaming Application form.
- Harford County Gambling.
Massachusetts Nonprofit organizations can hold raffles. - The nonprofit must be organized and actively functioning as a nonprofit in Massachusetts for at least two years.
- Before conducting a raffle, the organization must obtain a raffle permit from the city or town where the raffle is being held.
No. Determined by the city or town. - Guidance on Raffles.
- Law on Raffles.
Michigan Nonprofit organizations can hold raffles. Your nonprofit needs to be qualified by the Charitable Gaming Division and hold a valid raffle license. No. $15.00 - $50.00 - About Raffles.
- Raffle FAQs.
- Michigan Raffle Guide.
- Raffle Application.
Minnesota Raffles can be held by nonprofits. You can hold a raffle without a permit if: the total value of ALL prizes is less than $1,500. Or, your nonprofit is a 501(c)(3), the total value of ALL prizes for ONE event does not exceed $5,000. No. $100.00 - $150.00 - Minnesota Gambling Control Board: Raffles.
- Nonprofit Raffle Permits.
- Sample raffle ticket.
- Raffle FAQs.

Nonprofit raffle laws and regulations by state: M-N

Responsive Table
State sorted by alphabetical order Legal or prohibited Specific regulations Are online ticket sales permitted Cost Useful links
Mississippi Nonprofits can hold raffles. We suggest contacting the Mississippi Gaming Commission because their laws are based on bingo, but do mention raffles. No. $0.00 - Mississippi Gaming Commission.
- Mississippi Gaming Commission Rules.
Missouri Yes! Nonprofits can hold raffles. - Any organization recognized as charitable or religious pursuant to federal law may sponsor raffles.
- We had a hard time finding any clear information on raffles. Please contact your local government before holding a raffle in Missouri.
Yes. $0.00 - Missouri Gaming Commission.
- Missouri Raffle Laws.
Montana Yes! And you don’t need a license or permit. - A license or permit is not required to conduct a raffle in Montana.
- However, nonprofit organizations must register with the department if they wish to sell raffle tickets online.
Yes. But you need approval (Form 46). $0.00 - Montana Raffle Guidelines.
- Online raffle permit (Form 46).
Nebraska Yes! Nonprofits can hold raffles in Nebraska. - For raffles with cash prizes totalling less than $1000, you do not need a license.
- For raffles with merchandise prizes totalling $5000 or less, you do not need a license.
- For all other raffles, you need to apply for a license.
Yes. $30.00 - Raffle/Lottery Act.
- Raffle forms.
- Raffle Application Form.
- Do you need a license?
Nevada Nonprofits can hold raffles. Qualified organizations need to get approval from the Gaming Control Board. Yes. (With approval.) - $0.00 (Prizes totalling less than $100,000.)
- $25.00 (Prizes totalling more than $100,000.)
- Nevada Gaming Control Board.
- Raffle FAQs.
- Annual Registration under $100,000 prize.
- Event Application over $100,000 prize.
New Hampshire Raffles can be held by registered nonprofits. Nonprofit organizations must have been registered with the secretary of state for at least 2 years and in existence for at least 2 years in a town or city in this state. No. $25.00 per game date to a maximum of 10 games per year. - New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
- New Hampshire Raffle Laws.
- Charitable Organization Eligibility Determination.
- Games of Chance Welcome Packet.
New Jersey Nonprofit can hold raffles. - The municipality where the gaming will be conducted ultimately issues the license.
- In order for an organization to apply for a municipal license, it first must register with and obtain an “Identification Number” from the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission.
No. - $100.00 (Per identification number.)
- $20.00 - $400.00 (Depending on municipality.)
- Raffle License Process Instructions.
- Application for a raffle license.

Nonprofit raffle laws and regulations by state: N-O

Responsive Table
State sorted by alphabetical order Legal or prohibited Specific regulations Are online ticket sales permitted Cost Useful links
New Mexico Yes! Qualified nonprofits can host raffles. If the prize has a value greater than $75,000 then the Gaming Control Board must be notified at least ten (10) days prior to beginning raffle ticket sales or advertising using form BR-024. No. Unclear. - New Mexico Gaming Control Board FAQs.
- New Mexico Raffle Act.
- Raffle License Application.
- $75,000 or more Raffle Request.
New York New York allows nonprofit to hold raffles. You do not need to apply for a license or submit a financial report for individual raffles with anticipated net proceeds under $5,000 or under $30,000 for all raffles within a calendar year. Yes. (You have to apply.) $25.00 - Nonprofit raffle laws in New York.
- Application for games of chance license.
- Apply to sell your raffle tickets online.
North Carolina Nonprofits can host raffles. - Any organization recognized as charitable or religious pursuant to federal law may sponsor raffles.
- We had a hard time finding any clear information on raffles. Please contact your local government before holding a raffle in Missouri.
No. Unclear - Nonprofit gaming laws.
North Dakota Nonprofits can apply to hold raffles. - Local permits are the responsibility of the city or county.
- If your organization’s prizes will exceed the primary prize limit of $8,000 and/or exceed the $40,000 maximum per year, you must apply for a State Gaming License.
Yes. $175.00 per license. - Charitable Gaming.
- State Gaming License.
Ohio Nonprofits can conduct raffles. All 501(c)(3) organizations are permitted to hold raffles and no license or report is required. No. $0.00 - Charitable Gaming in Ohio.
Oklahoma Nonprofits can holf raffles. All nonprofit organizations are permitted to hold raffles and no license or report is required. No. $0.00 - Press release: Raffles now legal for nonprofit organizations.
Oregon Raffles are legal for nonprofits in Oregon. - Only organizations exempt from paying federal income taxes may conduct charitable gaming events in Oregon.
- You need a license unless you’re holding raffles with a cumulative handle of no more than $10,000 per calendar year.
No. $40.00 - $100.00 - Oregon Dept. of Justice charitable gaming FAQs.
- Charitable gaming license applications.
- Application for a new raffle license.
- Oregon Gaming Handbook.

Nonprofit raffle laws and regulations by state: P-V

Responsive Table
State sorted by alphabetical order Legal or prohibited Specific regulations Are online ticket sales permitted Cost Useful links
Pennsylvania Eligible non-profit organizations can hold raffles. To be granted a games of chance license in Pennsylvania, your nonprofit needs to be have been working towards fulfilling its purpose for at least one year. Yes. (As of May, 2023.) - $25.00 (For a monthly license.)
- $125.00 (For an annual license.)
- Nonprofit raffle laws in Pennsylvania.
- Games of chance application.
Rhode Island Raffles can be conducted by charities. After you complete the application, submit it along with the $5.00 application fee in the form of a check or money order (cash is not accepted) to the Chief of Police in the city/town where the drawing will be held. Yes. (As long as the third party platform has been licensed by the Superintendent of Rhode Island.) $5.00 per application. - Rhode Island Charitable Gaming Unit.
- Raffle Rules and Regulations.
- Raffle Application Form.
South Carolina Raffles can be held by registered nonprofits. - To conduct a raffle, a nonprofit must file an annual raffle registration form with the Division of Public Charities.
- You do not need to register your raffle if prizes have been donated, noncash prize(s) valued at $950.00 or less. OR The raffle must be a fifty-fifty raffle in which the total proceeds do not exceed $950.00.
Yes. $50.00 - South Carolina Raffles.
- Annual Raffle Registration Form.
- Exempt and nonexempt raffles.
- Nonprofit raffles how-to video.
- Nonprofit raffles: How-to guide.
South Dakota Raffles can be held by nonprofits. - Your nonprofit raffle must be registered at the county/city level where the drawing is held thirty (30) days before selling tickets.
- If tickets are sold state-wide, written notice must also be provided to the South Dakota Secretary of State.
Yes. $0.00 - South Dakota Raffle Requests.
- Statewide raffle request form.
Tennessee Raffles can be held by registered nonprofits. Only a qualified 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) organization that has submitted an application to the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming and has been approved by the Tennessee General Assembly can hold a raffle. No. $150.00 - $600.00 - Charitable Gaming Guide and FAQs.
- Gaming Rules.
Texas Yes! - To host a raffle in Texas you need to be a qualified nonprofit.
- You do not have to register or obtain a license or permit to host a raffle in Texas.
Unclear. $0.00 - Info. on Charitable Raffles.
Utah No. The state of Utah does not allow fundraising raffles. No. N/A - Utah State Code: Gambling.
Vermont Yes! Nonprofits can hold raffles. - The nonprofit must have been engaged in charitable activities for at least one year.
- You do not need a license to host a raffle in Vermont.
No. $0.00 - Vermont Gambling info.

Nonprofit raffle laws and regulations by state: V-W

Responsive Table
State sorted by alphabetical order Legal or prohibited Specific regulations Are online ticket sales permitted Cost Useful links
Virginia Raffles are allowed. To apply, you mush by a nonprofit that has been in existence and met on a regular basis for at least three years prior to applying. Yes. (Approval required.) $200.00 - Virginia Charitable Gaming Code.
- Charitable Gaming info.
- Charitable Gaming Permit Application.
Washington Nonprofits can host raffles in Washington State. - In the state of Washington not every nonprofit requires a raffle license.
- Your nonprofit can host two unlicensed raffles each year as long as the combined gross revenue from the two raffles does not exceed $5,000.
Yes. (Approval required.) $70.00 - Nonprofit raffle laws in Washington State.
- Washington State Gambling Commission: Raffles.
- Raffle packet.
- Apply for a raffle license.
- Electronic Raffles.
West Virginia Nonprofits can host raffles. - Your organization must have been in existence in West Virginia for at least one year for a Raffle License.
- If your organization does not sell more than $15,000 worth of tickets in any calendar year and does not award any individual prize valued at more than $4,000, you do not need a license.
Yes. $0.00 - West Virginia Charitable Gaming PDF.
- West Virginia Raffle Registration.
- Application for a raffle license.
Wisconsin Yes! Raffle licenses can only be granted to a local religious, charitable, service, fraternal, veterans, or 501(c)(3) organization in Wisconsin, which have been in existence for at least one (1) year or that is chartered by a state or national organization which has been in existence for at least three (3) years. No. $5.00 - $25.00 - Wisconsin Raffle Licenses.
- Wisconsin raffle FAQs.
- Applying for a new raffle license.
- Class A (tickets sold in advance) License.
- Class B (tickets sold day of) License.
Wyoming Yes! Nonprofits can hold a raffle in Wyoming. Charitable Gaming licensure is not required on the State level in Wyoming. Unclear. $0.00 - Wyoming Gaming Commission.

Is there a way to host a raffle without registering with the government?

Raffle laws vary from state to state, but there is almost always a way your nonprofit can hold a raffle without a license or permit.

We’ve come up with a few tips for holding a fundraising raffle without government registration. But, we do recommend looking into your state’s laws on raffles.

How to legally hold a raffle for your nonprofit?

1. Make sure your nonprofit is eligible.

In the US, the states that allow raffles to be held normally only allow them to be held by registered nonprofits or charities with a 501(c)3, etc. status.

It’s worth checking with your local government to make sure your nonprofit qualifies. But, in the states that allow nonprofit and charity organizations to host raffles:

2. Fill out and submit all the required forms and include any additional information and fees.

There’s not a ton we can add to this section. But, we do recommend reading through the entire application before starting to fill it out. And, if your state has one, read or watch their how-to guide.

It’s also a good idea to reach out to your local government if it’s your first time applying. They might be able to give you a few tips or even help you fill out the application form.

3. Wait for your confirmation. (Some states can take up to 90 days to grant a raffle license or permit.)

This one is important. The states that require you to have a license or permit to hold a raffle mean it. So, apply for your license or permit well in advance. Most states require 30 days, some 60 days and a few 90 days.

Whatever the case, don’t host your raffle until you have your license or permit in hand. (And pay special attention to the number, size, and type of raffle your permit or license allows you to hold.

4. Host your raffle on an online fundraising platform.

There are quite a few paid fundraising platforms out there that can help you host your raffle:

But, there’s only one, 100% free raffle platform for nonprofits: Zeffy.

5. Submit your nonprofit’s raffle report after your raffle has ended.

We know, we know. The last thing anyone wants to do is more paperwork. But, most US states require nonprofit organizations that host raffles to submit specific record-keeping forms and keep everything raffle-related for at least 3 years.

Most online raffle platforms will help you track ticket sales, names, addresses, prizes, etc. So, even if your state doesn’t allow online raffle ticket sales, it’s still a good idea to equip yourself with a raffles and lottery platform.

The difference between raffles, contests, and sweepstakes.

Let’s start off by getting into the similarities between raffles, contests, and sweepstakes.

Alright, now for the differences.

So, what are raffles?

The definition of a raffle varies from state to state, but usually includes:

  1. Prizes awarded to winners.
  2. Winners selected based on chance.
  3. Consideration is required for entry. (AKA, the participant has paid money to play.)

What exactly is a sweepstakes?

A sweepstakes is a draw in which prizes are given away to participants. There is no purchase required to enter (Although nonprofits can suggest participants give a donation.) and the winners are selected at random from all the eligible entrants.

What makes a contest a contest?

A contest is an event where participants compete and ****are judged according to a predefined set of criteria. The criteria can be a skill, such as proficiency at writing or drawing, or an opinion such as the popularity of an entry among fans. The “best” entry is selected to win and is awarded a prize.

Raffle laws FAQs.

What’s the legal difference between a raffle and a drawing?

The simplest answer is:

A raffle requires participants to pay to play and drawing is free to play.

Is a giveaway a raffle?

In a raffle, participants buy tickets for a chance to win, with the winner being chosen at random. In a giveaway, participants enter for a chance to win by completing a specific action, such as following a social media account.

Do you need a license or permit to hold a raffle in the US?

Yes and no! 48 out of the 50 US states allow nonprofits to host raffles. Of those 48, eight (8) don’t require nonprofits to apply for a license or permit. (Florida, Maine, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.)

How much does it cost to apply for a raffle license in the US?

Hosting a raffle in the US can cost your nonprofit anywhere from $0.00 to $600.00. Plus, some states require nonprofits to also pay a percentage of their ticket sales to the state or municipality.

What to include on your raffle ticket?

This template is a great example of what your tickets should look like. Feel free to use it as a guide to make your own. (We recommend using Canva for nonprofits.)

Start your raffle for free on Zeffy.

Not all states allow nonprofits to sell raffle tickets online. But, you can still use online fundraising and raffle platforms to:

Related reading about raffles:

How to run a raffle?

How to host an online raffle?

33 Unique Raffle Prize Ideas to Raise Money

50/50 Raffle: The Ultimate Guide for Fundraisers

77 Creative Raffle Basket Ideas for Fundraisers