In both the United States and Canada, all types of fundraising raffles are considered to be games of chance. Consequently, they are very tightly regulated and failure to adhere to state raffle laws is considered a serious offense.
If you have any doubt about the correct procedures, do not rely on anybody’s word but a government official or a lawyer knowledgeable in these matters. Get it in writing if its not available online.
In many areas there may be more than one governmental body that has jurisdiction over a fundraising raffle. It is always good to check your state/province/territory and your local government for any necessary licenses and permits.
In almost all cases an application for a license must be made to the governing unit. This application and the resulting permit may takes weeks or months to process and receive.
Do not proceed to hold a fundraising raffle without having the necessary paperwork in hand.
Each state in the United States sets their own rules for fundraising raffles. Some have very relaxed rules while on the other extreme, a few states do not allow fundraising raffles in any way, shape or form. Alabama and Hawaii both ban raffles outright.
Almost all states and local governments require certified nonprofit status to be eligible to conduct a raffle.
Here are links to raffle laws and regulations on a state-by-state basis (where available):
Nonprofit Raffle Laws State by State
Alabama – Illegal to do a raffle
Arkansas – Legalized in 2007, but no definitive information online yet. Link is to Secretary Of State website.
Colorado – Raffle permit application PDF
Georgia – Contact your County Sheriff’s Office
Hawaii – Illegal to do a raffle
Illinois – Contact your County Clerk for forms
Kansas – Legal with some restrictions
Michigan – Raffle permit application PDF
Montana – Nonprofit groups contact your local board of county commissioners’ office
Nebraska – Raffle permit application PDF
South Carolina – Legal, but limited online information as to how to get a permit
Utah – Illegal
West Virginia – Raffle permit application PDF