Tis the season when well-intentioned charitable organizations conduct raffles to raise funds for worthy causes. The New York State Gaming Commission’s Division of Charitable Gaming reminds everyone that raffles, like other forms of charitable gaming, are subject to certain laws.
Division Director Stacy Harvey said representatives from the division will host two seminars – from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 20 and Dec. 18 – to assist organizations with compliance with the various laws, rules and regulations that govern the conduct of raffles. Both seminars, which are free to attend, will be held at the at the commission’s main office in Schenectady.
“It’s our job to make sure raffles are conducted legally, and the proceeds raised go to the intended charity,” Harvey said.
For organizations thinking about conducting a charity raffle, Harvey offered these key points for consideration:
•Raffle ticket sales and drawings may only be conducted in a municipality that has passed a games of chance local law.
•Raffle tickets may not be sold online or through the mail.
•Only members of the organization may assist with the conduct of raffles, and no one may be under the age of 18.
•Alcohol may not be awarded as a raffle prize. This includes gift cards to liquor stores.
•Raffle prizewinners need not be present to win.
A reference guide for the conduct of raffles for authorized organizations, municipal clerks and chief law enforcement officers is available here on the commission’s website. Questions regarding the seminars and seat reservations should be directed to the division at 518-388-0210.
Charitable gaming, in the form of bingo, bell jar ticket sales, Las Vegas nights, and raffles, is conducted in each of New York’s 62 counties.
The Division of Charitable Gaming is responsible for the investigation, audit and monitoring of the sale of hundreds of millions of bell jar tickets sold annually, and the verification of the lawful disbursement of bingo, bell jar, Las Vegas night and raffle proceeds. The division also issues licenses to bingo and games of chance manufacturers and suppliers; collects the license fees paid by those licensees; determines commercial bingo hall rental fees; approves bell jar ticket games; and issues bingo and games of chance identification numbers to applicant organizations as a prerequisite to their licensing by municipalities.