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 30, 2021, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subject discussed.
Charitable gaming can be a fantastic tool for cost-effective fundraising while driving community engagement. With a great balance of low cost, easy implementation, and wide appeal, charitable gaming can be a great idea for nonprofit organizations, charities, and foundations. The Commonwealth of Virginia allows for qualified charitable organizations to conduct limited gaming operations under the purview of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Charitable gaming and raffles regulatory guidance for Virginia
How does the state of Virginia define charitable gaming?
The Commonwealth of Virginia designates raffles and bingo as valid forms of charitable gaming.
Who can conduct online charitable gaming events in Virginia?
Virginia permits the following types of organizations to conduct charitable gaming with the proper license:
- Volunteer fire departments or volunteer emergency medical services
- An organization operated exclusively for religious, charitable, community, or educational purposes
- An athletic or band association or booster club established solely to raise funds for school-sponsored athletic or band activities for a public or private school
- An association of war veterans or auxiliary units
- A fraternal association or corporation operating under the lodge system
- A local Chamber of Commerce
- Any other nonprofit organization that raises funds by conducting raffles that generate annual gross receipts of $40,000 or less, as long as all proceeds from the raffle are used exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or community purposes.
Any organization wishing to conduct charitable gaming in Virginia must have existed in the Commonwealth for at least three years immediately prior to applying for a permit. (There are limited exceptions to this for new organizations created to raise funds for a specific purpose.) The organization must currently be operating, must always have operated as a nonprofit, and must have at least 50% of its members in the Commonwealth of Virginia. (exceptions are made for national organizations.)
Licensing and registration requirements for online charitable gaming in Virginia
Qualified nonprofit organizations are required to obtain a charitable gaming license issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. As of July 1, 2021, organizations that are only conducting raffle activities and generate less than $40,000 in gross receipts from all of their raffle activities combined during any 12-month period are exempted from the permit requirement.
Types of charitable gaming licenses
The Commonwealth of Virginia has a single type of charitable gaming license that covers all eligible games and organizations.
How to apply for a charitable raffle license in Virginia?
To apply for a charitable gaming license in Virginia, applicants must fill out the application form available on the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. On this page, applicants can also find a detailed checklist of all required documentation to be included with the application. In addition to the applications, applicants may be required to include confirmation of their registration with the Virginia State Corporation Commission and confirmation of their registration with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to solicit contributions for charitable purposes.
How much does a charitable gaming license cost in Virginia?
An application must be accompanied by a non-refundable $200 application fee. Volunteer fire departments or rescue squads are exempt from this fee.
What is the validity of a charitable raffle license in Virginia?
A charitable gaming license in Virginia is valid from the date of its approval for a predetermined amount of time that may not exceed two years.
How long does it take to get a charitable raffle license in Virginia?
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service has 45 days to review and process any applications for charitable gaming licenses.
Charitable gaming resources for Virginia
The Office of The Governor of Virginia
State Capitol Third Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 786-2211
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 786-3501
The Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
202 N 9th St, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 786-2071