Disclaimer: This article offers general information and is not intended as legal or professional advice. You should consult with legal counsel regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current as of August 27, 2021, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subject discussed.
Charitable gaming events like raffles and bingo are some of the best ways to raise both awareness and money for an organization. With a great balance of low cost, easy implementation, and wide appeal, charitable gaming can be a great idea for any nonprofit. Charitable gaming is a great tool to drive cost-effective community engagement, making it an attractive option for nonprofits, charities, and foundations. Religious, charitable, fraternal, veteran, or service organizations are entitled to apply for charity gaming licenses in Missouri.
Charitable gaming and raffles regulatory guidance for Missouri
How does the state of Missouri define charitable gaming?
Charitable gaming in Missouri covers bingo, pull-tabs, raffles, and sweepstakes.
Raffles: Raffles and sweepstakes must be sponsored by a federally recognized charitable or religious organization. No license is required.
Bingo: Bingo may be run with a proper license provided that all proceeds beyond the costs of running the game are used for charitable, religious, or philanthropic purposes and that no one involved in organizing or running the game is compensated.
Who can conduct online charitable gaming events in Missouri?
Raffles and sweepstakes in Missouri may be run by any organization that is recognized as ‘charitable or religious’ under federal law—this typically means having a 501(c)(3). However, no special license is required to run a raffle or sweepstakes in Missouri.
In Missouri, bingo may be conducted by any ‘religious, charitable, fraternal, veteran, or service organization’ as laid out in the Missouri state constitution. Further, any nonprofit organization applying for a bingo license must have been in operation for a minimum of five years before application. Any organization must have a minimum of twenty members to qualify for a bingo license.
Licensing and registration requirements for online charitable gaming in Missouri
Types of charitable gaming licenses
No license is required for raffles or sweepstakes in Missouri; Licenses are only required for bingo and pull-tab operations. There are two types of bingo licenses; for a single organization or multiple organizations.
A single bingo license is for organizations wishing to conduct bingo on a regular basis or for organizations wishing to conduct bingo during a special event.
Multiple organizations (up to five) may combine their applications as long as they all meet the requirements for applying individually.
How to apply for a charitable bingo license in Missouri?
Organizations can apply for these licenses, as well as other regulatory paperwork (i.e. record-keeping) on the Missouri Gaming Commission website. In addition to the required applications, applicants must submit:
- A copy of the letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) granting an exemption from the payment of federal income taxes as provided in section 501(c)(3), (4), (5), (7), (8), (10), (19) or section 501(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
- A complete list of the officers of the applicant organization and a complete list of all six- (6-) month bona fide members that will assist with the management, conduct, and operation of the bingo game.
The full text of all laws regarding licensure can be found in the rules outlined by the Missouri Gaming Commission.
How much does a charitable bingo license cost in Missouri?
A charitable bingo license in Missouri costs $50 in annual fees. This applies to both single- and multiple-organization licenses.
What is the validity of a charitable bingo license in Missouri?
A charitable bingo license in Missouri is valid for one year from the date of issue.
Charitable gaming resources for Missouri
Missouri Gaming Commission
3417 Knipp Drive
P.O. Box 1847
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Missouri Department of Revenue
301 W High St
Jefferson City, MO 65101