Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bucket Raffles and Gambling License(s)

Our local unit is conducting a raffle as part of our fall fundraising.  The chair has proposed that we conduct it similar to how the Scholarship Basket Raffle is held at the Washington State PTA Convention, i.e. participants can put their tickets in receptacles associated with each of the prizes, and each prize is drawn only from those tickets placed in its associated receptacle.  We hope to sell more than $5,000 worth of tickets so we will need to apply for a license, but if we have, for example, 15 prizes, do we have to get 15 licenses or will one license cover the entire event? 
There’s actually a subsection of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC)—the state’s regulatory code—addressing this very question, under the heading of “bucket raffles.”  If all of the tickets are good for all of the prizes—i.e. purchasers buy tickets that they can choose to put into the drawing for any of the prizes—then the state Gambling Commission considers the activity to be one raffle, and only one license is required. 

However, if different tickets are sold for each of the prizes then each of the drawings is considered a separate raffle.  You can view the WAC here (look at subsection (6), “bucket raffles”) or obtain more information from the Washington State Gambling Commission via its website ( or by calling 1-360-486-3440.