Raffles are strictly regulated in the state of Washington under the Washington State Gambling Act. Only certain charitable or nonprofit organizations can conduct raffles without first obtaining a gambling license.
RSOs may conduct raffles on campus only if the organization qualifies and its proposed raffle follows specified requirements. Please note that one of the officers of the organization planning to hold a raffle on campus must meet with an adviser in the Student Activities Office at least three weeks prior to starting the raffle. As raffles are considered a form of fundraising, they would fall under the same procedure and regulations as stated for fundraising.
University Policies and Procedures
Student organization leaders must sell raffle tickets in designated areas outlined in the RSO Policy Guide. Sale locations, permits and policy information are available in the Student Activities Office.
Procedure for Obtaining Approval For On Campus Raffles
At least three weeks prior to starting a raffle, an officer or representative of the student organization must meet with an advisor in the Student Activities Office and complete a Fundraising Information Worksheet. The worksheet must be reviewed and a permit with all necessary signatures completed before the raffle begins.
Organizations Qualified to Conduct a Raffle
The student organization sponsoring a raffle must:
- Be a non-profit with one of the following purposes: charitable, educational, political, social, fraternal, civic or athletic.
- Have been organized and operating for at least twelve months prior to selling of the raffle tickets.
- Have been issued a letter from the IRS stating they are exempt from paying federal income taxes.
- Be able to prove that your organization has made significant progress toward accomplishing your stated purposes during the twelve consecutive month period preceding any raffle.
Conditions for Holding a Raffle
- Proceeds must be used for the organization’s stated purpose.
- Only members can manage, operate, or sell tickets, and no one can be paid for doing so.
- Membership cannot be dependent upon the purchase of a raffle ticket.
- Records must be maintained for at least one year from the date of the raffle and should include gross revenue, expenses, how the revenue will be used, prizes given, and who was awarded the prizes.
- Prizes must be owned prior to the drawing. Firearms cannot be used as prizes. Alcohol may be awarded as a prize only
if a special permit is obtained from the Liquor Control Board.
- There are two types of raffles; the following conditions apply to each:
- Limited public raffles—tickets sold to the general public (see RCW 9.46.0321)
Combined gross revenue from unlicensed must not exceed $5,000 during calendar year.
The local police (UW Police, if held on campus) must be notified of the raffle and date and location of the drawing at least five working days prior to the start of the raffle.
- Unlimited membership raffles—tickets are sold only to organization members (see RCW 6.46.0315)
Gross revenue cannot exceed $5,000 during a calendar year. Tickets must be sold and prizes awarded to regular members only.
Raffle Ticket Requirements
- Tickets must be consecutively numbered.
- All tickets must be sold at the same price, with a maximum price of $5.00 per ticket.
- No complimentary tickets are permitted.
- The following information must be printed on all raffle tickets:
- Cost of the ticket
- Date, time and location of the drawing
- Prize/s to be awarded (if more than one prize, all prizes must be stated)
- Whether or not the purchaser must be present to win
- Name of the sponsoring organization
- Email address of sponsoring organization
Conducting the Drawing
The ticket stubs from all ticket sales must be placed in a receptacle in such a manner that each ticket has an equal opportunity of being drawn as a winner.
Note: Conducting an illegal raffle may result in legal action against your organization and/or its officers.
The Washington State Gambling Act
The Washington State Gambling Act allows certain nonprofit organizations to use raffles as a fundraiser under specific conditions, without first obtaining a gambling license. For further information, consult RCW 9.46.0315, RCW 9.46.0321 and WAC 2301041075, or you can contact the Gambling Commission Office at (425) 776-6751.