Charitable and nonprofit activities that don't require a license

Charitable and nonprofit organizations may offer several activities without applying for a gambling license.

Social card and dice games

Per Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 9.46.0351: If you have a "Restaurant – Spirits, Beer and Wine" liquor license, you may allow your members to use your premises to play Poker, Hearts, Pinochle, Cribbage, Rummy, Panguingue, Pitch, Bridge, Bid whist and social dice games if:

  • Only members of your club or bona fide auxiliary play (i.e., no guests)
  • Players' get all of their winnings back
  • You do not charge a fee
  • You do not collect anything from players or collect a percentage of the wagers (i.e., no house-banked games)
  • All players play on an equal basis

Golfing sweepstakes

Per RCW 9.46.0341: You may conduct golfing sweepstakes based on the score(s) or the playing ability of a golfing contest between individual players or teams of players. Only members of your organization and their guests may participate.

There are 3 types of sweepstakes that are allowed:

Golfing sweepstakes #1

  • Outcome is dependent on score
  • May be individual or team
  • Tickets sold for “win,” “place,” or “show”
  • Pay-off using a pari-mutuel system
  • All money returned to winner, minus expenses of the sweepstakes OR to carry out the organization’s purpose.

Golfing sweepstakes #2

  • Contestants pay the same fee amount into a prize fund
  • Scheme to earn points is determined (eagle, birdie, etc.)
  • All contestants that reach a predetermined number of points will share in the prize fund
  • Nothing goes back to the organization.

Golfing sweepstakes #3

  • Contestants bid on a team or player in an auction
  • Contestant with the highest bid is awarded the auction proceeds, minus expenses of the sweepstakes OR to carry out the organization’s purpose.

Turkey shoots

Per RCW 9.46.0361:

  • Only members of your organization and their guests may participate
  • Target must be no more than 100 equal squares
  • Squares are sold for no more than $1 each
  • Squares must be sold for the same price
  • Contestants must sign their name on squares they purchase.

Target must state:

  • Distance from shooting position
  • Shotgun gauge
  • Type of choke
  • Size of shot
  • Prizes to be awarded.

Other requirements for turkey shoots

  • Shooters must be members of the organization, but not a contestant (shooter cannot purchase a square)
  • Targets, shotguns, and ammunition must be available for inspection before the prize is awarded
  • Winning square is the one that the most shots strike
  • Prize may not be advancement to another turkey shoot
  • Gross revenue must not exceed $5,000 per year
  • All income, less prizes and expenses, must go to support the organization’s stated purpose and goals.

Members-only raffles

You may hold an unlimited number of unlicensed members-only raffles your combined gross revenue (money taken in) does not exceed $5,000 in a calendar year.

If you exceed $5,000, you need to apply for a license.

Per RCW 9.46.0315 and Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 230-11-070-090:

  • Only members of your organization or their guests may purchase tickets or win prizes
  • Guests cannot exceed 25% of members present at the meeting
  • Tickets must be purchased and prizes awarded during a single event or meeting
  • Liquor may be awarded as a prize if you have a permit from the Liquor and Cannabis Board
  • Members-only raffles are the only raffles where liquor can be awarded as a prize

Public raffles, bingo, and amusement games

Per RCW 9.46.0321: In addition to members-only raffles, you may offer 2 unlicensed raffle, bingo or amusement game events to the public each year. You may allow the public to participate in the activity, as well as members of your organization. Liquor and firearms must not be awarded as prizes. Records must be kept for one year. Notify local police at least five days in advance. Bingo and amusement games can be offered up to 12 consecutive days; however, raffles can go longer. The combined gross revenue from the two unlicensed bingo, raffle and amusement game events must not exceed $5,000 in a calendar year. Raffle tickets must be sold for the same price (no discounts) and only by members of your organization. Ticket stubs from all ticket sales must be placed into a receptacle and selected randomly to allow an equal chance of winning.