Raffles (excluding electronic or enhanced raffles)
Only a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization with a purpose that meets certain criteria is allowed to conduct raffles in Washington. The organization must be organized and continuously operating for at least 12 months before applying for a raffle license.
"Raffle" means a game in which
- Tickets bearing an individual number are sold for not more than $100 each
- Prize or prizes are awarded on the basis of a drawing from the tickets by the person or persons conducting the game
- No person other than a bona fide member of the organization takes any part in the management or operation of the game
- No part of the proceeds can benefit any person other than the organization conducting the game.
What qualifies as a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization
- Any organization, agricultural fair, or nonprofit organization with the following purposes only, may offer unlicensed or licensed raffle activities:
- Organized and operated primarily for purposes other than the operation of gambling activities
- Any corporation which has been incorporated under Title 36 U.S.C. whose principal purposes are to:
- furnish volunteer aid to members of the armed forces of the United States
- carry on a system of national and international relief
- apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other national calamities.
- Demonstrate that it has made significant progress toward the accomplishment of their stated purpose during the twelve consecutive month period prior to applying
- Contributions to the organization must be tax-deductible as determined by the IRS in order to qualify for this license
- Organization must be exempt from federal taxes as determined by the IRS.
Other organizations who can apply for a raffle
- Credit unions organized or operating under federal law
- A group of executive branch state employees that:
- Has requested and received revocable approval from the agency's chief executive official, or such official's designee, to conduct one or more raffles
- Conducts a raffle solely to raise funds for
- state combined fund drive
- an entity approved to receive funds from the state combined fund drive
- a charitable or benevolent entity, including but not limited to a person or family in need, as determined by a majority vote of the approved group of employees.
- No person or other entity may receive compensation in any form from the group for services rendered in support of this purpose
- Only employees of the agency conducting the raffle can participate in the drawing of and winnings of the raffle.
- A county, city, or town. All raffle revenue less prizes and expenses must be used for community activities or to promote tourism.
If you are a qualified bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization, you may offer a maximum of two unlicensed raffle, bingo, or amusement game events per calendar year. You may offer one of different types of activities, but the total number of unlicensed events cannot exceed two for the 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
- Raffles, unlike bingo and amusement games, may be offered longer than 12 consecutive days
- Gross revenues (money taken in) to the organization from all the activities together do not exceed $5,000 during any calendar year.
You must apply for a raffle license if your organization plans to offer the following as part of a raffle:
- Raffles where gross revenues exceed $5,000 in a calendar year
- Sell raffle tickets to the public
- Hold more than two raffles in a calendar year
- Alcohol as a prize, provided that your organization also holds the appropriate license from the Liquor & Cannabis Board (LCB)
- Offer firearms or similar devices as a prize, provided that the prize must be offered through a licensed Federal firearms dealer
- Conduct a joint raffle with another non-profit organization
- Give noncash incentives for selling tickets
- Sell discounted tickets
- Have someone other than a member of your organization sell tickets
- Choose winners using an alternative drawing format, such as a poker run.
Apply for a raffle online
You can apply for a raffle online through your SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account. This does not include Electronic or Enhanced Raffles.
If you would like to apply for a raffle license, complete and submit the 'Raffle - Charitable / Nonprofit Organization Application Packet'.
If you are currently licensed and would like to add raffles as a new activity, complete the ‘Add an Activity’ application.
Please complete and submit the following forms:
You must complete training within 30 days of the effective date of your license. Review the following rules thoroughly to ensure that you are in compliance with your activity:
- 230-06 Rules for all licensees (app.leg.wa.gov)
- 230-07 Charitable and Nonprofit Rules (apps.leg.wa.gov)
- 230-11 Raffles (apps.leg.wa.gov)
The following handouts are a recordkeeping requirement for your activity:
- Raffle Recordkeeping Packet (GC2-150) (PDF, 250 KB)
- Helpful “House Rules” for Raffles (GC2-356) (PDF, 25 KB)