Requirements to Have a Raffle in Pennsylvania

By Wayne Thomas

Raffles are considered a form of gambling in Pennsylvania. This classification applies to all games that require a fee to enter and include the possibility of winning a prize by random selection. However, the state does permit certain organizations to hold raffles, so long as a license is first obtained and all proceeds are used to further a charitable purpose. The process is governed by the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act of 1988, which contains specific registration, operating and reporting requirements.

Governing Bodies

Administrative oversight for all raffles conducted in Pennsylvania is spread across three primary state departments. First, licensing is done through the Treasurer's Office in the county where your business is located. Next, local law enforcement officials oversee the actual administration of the raffle and ensure compliance with all state and local laws. Finally, the Department of Revenue is charged with receiving and reviewing your reports and making sure that any proceeds from the raffle are used properly. To ensure compliance with the law, each of these bodies are authorized to freely exchange information about your organization and the raffle.

Eligibility

In order to conduct a raffle in Pennsylvania, your organization must meet state eligibility requirements and obtain a license. This requires that your business entity further a specific charitable or religious purpose, or be a fraternal or veteran's organization. Further, your organization must be in existence for at least one year before a license can be requested. Obtaining a license requires filling out an application and returning it to the appropriate County Treasurer's office, along with a filing fee. The application requires copies of your organization's bylaws or other governing documents.

Ready to form a nonprofit? Get Started Now

Limitations

Pennsylvania has strict limitations on where a raffle may be held, value of the prizes awarded and how funds generated are used by the organization. The raffle must be held on licensed premises, which generally means the location of your organization's principle office. If your organization does not have a location where it regularly conducts business, you may use an alternative location provided the owner is also licensed and you receive the owner's written consent. In addition, the value of any single prize awarded must not exceed $1,000 and no more than the equivalent of $10,000 may be awarded from the raffle per month. Further, all proceeds generated from the raffle must be used to promote charitable or other public interest purposes.

Record Keeping

Pennsylvania law requires that your organization keep sufficient records to ensure compliance with the act. These records must be maintained for a period of at least two years and made available for inspection. The records must contain the gross receipts from each raffle, total value of the prizes paid out and details regarding how the money generated was used. In addition, state law requires your organization to file a report with the Department of Revenue through the department's website.

Ready to form a nonprofit? Get Started Now
Non-Profit Rules for a Raffle in New Jersey

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Incorporate a Ministry in Texas

Donations often serve a vital role in ensuring the survival of a ministry. While it is not uncommon for these religious institutions to be supported by an affiliated church, the ability to solicit and receive funds directly from donors may prove desirable to members of your ministry. However, in order to achieve true financial independence, the ministry must first organize as a nonprofit under the Texas incorporation statute.

What Are the Requirements to Receive Donations in Georgia Through a Non-profit Organization?

Because the success of a nonprofit organization hinges on its ability to receive donations, an understanding of the reporting and solicitation rules is vital. Charitable organizations in Georgia must register with the Secretary of State, unless they meet the narrow definition for exclusion. Certain information must be included with registration, which can vary in detail based on the size of the organization. In addition, all nonprofits should be aware of the penalties associated with fraudulent or misleading practices, and avoid solicitation efforts that do not comply with Georgia law.

Requirements to Maintain 501C3 Status

More than 100 501(c)(3) organizations lose their exempt status every year, according to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. The Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) is a provision in the federal tax code, which allows certain nonprofit organizations, including charities, churches, educational institutions and other organizations that meet the requirements to be exempt from certain taxes. The IRS regulates and regularly reviews exempt organizations to ensure that they are following the regulations and that the organization continues to do the work that led to its exempt status. Failing to follow the guidelines can lead to fines and, in some cases, the loss of 501(c)(3) status.

Doing the right thing has never been easier.

Related articles

State Statute of Florida on Raffles & Charities

Fundraising is critical to the success of charities and other nonprofits. Games of chance, such as lotteries and ...

Rules for Fundraisers for Non-Profit Organizations in Florida

Nonprofit organizations carry out different activities to raise funds for their individual charitable or social ...

Non-Profit Fundraising in the State of Florida

The life of a nonprofit hinges on its ability to collect donations. In Florida, most nonprofits are subject to specific ...

Laws for Charitable Events in Michigan

Hosting an event can be an effective way to raise money for a charitable purpose in Michigan. The event might be to ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED