Raffles are one of Wisconsin’s favorite and most profitable forms of fund raising. However, only qualified organizations may legally conduct a raffle in Wisconsin. Qualified organizations consist of religious, charitable, service, fraternal, veterans or other tax exempt organizations. The only legal forms of gambling in Wisconsin for charitable organizations are bingo and raffles.
Did you know that you need to obtain a license to conduct fund raising raffles or bingo events in Wisconsin? There are two types of raffle licenses, class A and class B.
Class A licenses apply to raffles in which some or all of the tickets for that raffle are sold on days other than the same day as the raffle drawing. Tickets are pre-printed with all of the raffle information on them. The winner of the raffle need not be present to win.
Class B licenses apply to raffles where all of the tickets for that raffle are sold on the same day as the raffle drawing. Generic tickets may be used and the winner must be present to win. Raffle tickets sold at a church picnic with a drawing the same day would be an example.
An organization conducting both Class A and Class B raffles must obtain a license for each type of raffle and separate applications must be submitted for each. Applications and detailed rules and regulations are available on the State of Wisconsin website at www.doa.state.wi.us/gaming. The fee for a license is $25, and the license is good for one year.
There are many illegal types of raffles commonly taking place today. Examples are those such as casino nights, duck races, pull tabs, poker tournaments, and the popular “heads and tails” games. While these games are very popular, they are illegal in the State of Wisconsin and penalties could be imposed on organizations promoting these games.
Qualified organizations conducting raffles or bingo games must apply for the license(s). The application fees are small compared to the penalties that could be imposed if you fail to obtain one. If you have questions about conducting a raffle or need assistance with this, give us a call; we would be happy to help.