Q: Are there any limits on the number of raffles allowed under the permit?

A: No, there is no limit on the number of raffles that can be held.

Q: What is the difference between a raffle and a promotion?

A: A raffle requires a purchase in order to participate but a promotion does not. For example, radio stations may offer listeners a chance to win prizes; but if an individual does not have to pay to be eligible to win, it is considered a promotion. If a retailer does not require a purchase to participate in a give away of goods or services, it is conducting a promotion, not a raffle. This Guidance Document does not apply to promotions.

Q: Does an organization need a permit to conduct a silent auction?

A: No, a silent auction is not gaming activity.

Q: Can I raffle off my house if I give a portion of it to a nonprofit organization?

A: No. Only qualified non-profit organizations that have obtained a permit and act in accordance with M.G.L. c. 271, s. 7A and, if applicable, 940 CMR 12, can conduct raffles. An individual cannot hold a raffle even if a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a qualified nonprofit organization.

Q: Can a nonprofit organization hold an online raffle?

A: Currently, Massachusetts has no law that allows raffle ticket sales over the Internet. Under 940 CMR 12.04(2), both the raffle ticket seller and purchaser must sign the raffle ticket. In addition, raffle activity conducted online may implicate both federal and state laws and some states expressly prohibit it. Organizations wishing to hold online raffles should consult an attorney who can provide guidance on all legal requirements before conducting an online raffle.

Q: Can a nonprofit organization hold a 50/50 raffle or distribute a prize from the money collected from the sale of raffle tickets?

A: A nonprofit organization may hold a raffle to award various prizes that are announced in advance, such as a motorcycle, trip or television. If, however, the prize is cash (such as in the case of a 50/50 raffle where the winner receives 50% of the proceeds) or a portion of the prize is derived from the raffle proceeds, the raffle may run afoul of the prohibition against pooling contained in M.G.L. 271, s. 16A and 17.