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 September 6, 2021, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subject discussed.
Charitable gaming presents a good means of raising funds and awareness for an organization. As an online fundraiser, events such as raffles and sweepstakes represent a great balance of low cost and far reach. Few things can drive community engagement as effectively as prizes, making online charitable gaming an attractive option for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits that are tax-exempt in California are eligible to run raffles and bingo in New York.
Charitable gaming and raffles regulatory guidance for New York
How does the state of New York define charitable raffles?
New York state has authorized charitable and nonprofit organizations to conduct charitable raffles. These fall into two categories based on net proceeds:
- Category 1: All raffles with anticipated net proceeds exceeding $5,000 for a single raffle and over $30,000 for cumulative raffles within a calendar year.
- Category 2: All raffles with anticipated net proceeds under $5,000 for a single raffle or under $30,000 for cumulative raffles within a calendar year.
Who can conduct charitable raffle events in New York?
New York State allows for bona fide religious, charitable, educational, fraternal, service veterans, volunteer firefighters, or volunteer ambulance workers to operate charitable raffles.
Licensing and registration requirements for online charitable raffles in New York
Types of charitable raffle licenses
New York State offers licenses for Category 1 raffles as well as other games of chance. A complete list of all licenses can be found on the New York State Gaming Commission website.
How to apply for a charitable raffle license in New York?
To run a Category 1 raffle, an organization must first apply for and obtain a Games of Chance identification number by filling out form 1A (please see the 1A Application Instruction Letter for complete details).
Next, an organization must submit a completed Games of Chance License application to the municipal clerk using forms GC-2, GC-2A, and GC-2B, along with a $25 annual license fee and obtain a Games of Chance License issued by the municipal clerk on Form GC-5.
To run a Category 2 raffle, an organization must fill out and submit form GCVS-1. It must also meet the standards for an “authorized organization” set out in section 190-a (2) of the General Municipal Law. In the event that a Category 2 raffle’s net proceeds exceed $5,000 for a single event or $30,000 in a calendar year, the organization will apply for and be granted a Category 1 raffle license.
How much does a charitable raffle license cost in New York?
When an organization applies for a Games of Chance License, it must include a $25 annual license fee. Additionally, there is an annual 2% fee on all net proceeds over $30,000. A full list of fee structures can be found here.
No license fees are required for a Category 2 raffle.
What is the validity of a charitable raffle license in New York?
Unless otherwise stated, all charity gaming licenses in New York are valid for one calendar year.
How long does it take to get a charitable raffle license in New York?
All documents must be submitted no later than two weeks before the event start date. This can be done either in person or online.
Charitable gaming resources for New York
New York State Charitable Gaming Commission
New York State Gaming Commission
PO Box 7500, Schenectady, NY 12301
Phone: (518) 388-3300
New York State Governor’s Office
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: (518) 474-8390
New York Department of Taxation and Finance
Harriman Campus Rd, Albany, NY 12226
Phone: (518) 457-5431