Have you ever been to an event and someone breaks out a roll of tickets and proceeds to raffle something off? I've seen this done at fundraisers. 

You can purchase a roll of raffle tickets at a party or other similar store with no difficulty and sell tickets to your heart's content – but is it legal?

According to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division, it is, but not everyone can do it. There are rules about these things.

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"Gaming events such as raffles, casino or Las Vegas nights, or poker tournaments may only be conducted by a non-profit organization (whether or not incorporated) that has been organized and actively functioning in Massachusetts for at least two years and is one of the following:

A veterans' organization chartered by Congress; a church or religious organization; a fraternal or fraternal benefit society, such as an Elks Club or union; an educational or charitable organization; a civic or service club; or another club or organization operated exclusively for non-profit purposes," according to the AG's Office.

That means you cannot conduct a raffle to buy Aunt Ginny a prosthetic leg. It's not legal.

Having A Raffle In Massachusetts Can Land You In Trouble
Paul Morigi

The Commonwealth says raffles "in which a chance to win is sold to participants and the winner or winners are selected from the chances actually sold, are regulated by law."

A raffle can only be legally operated by a "qualified non-profit organization." 

A municipality or other government organization such as a public school or a conservation commission cannot sponsor a raffle under Massachusetts law because they do not "fit within any of the authorized categories."

Funds raised through gaming activities are regulated and can only be used for "educational, charitable, religious, fraternal, or civic purposes or for veterans' benefits."

Mass.gov has a complete list of the rules and regulations concerning gaming activities in Massachusetts. Perhaps you can attend a licensed gaming event and win money to buy Aunt Ginny a wooden leg.

Indications Of A Gambling Addiction

Here are some indications you may have an addiction to gambling. There is help available. Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit ncpgambling.org

Gallery Credit: Dr. T

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