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How to Raffle

How to Raffle
What is a raffle?
A raffle is a lottery or game of chance used as a way of raising funds, subject to certain restrictions. Raffle winners are typically decided through a drawing or some other method based on an element of chance. A raffle does not include a "skill" event, nor can a raffle be determined by the outcome of a publicly exhibited sporting event.

A political committee may conduct a raffle only if it first receives an approved license from the State Board of Elections. Such licenses are free of charge and may be sought by submitting a one-page application available from the Board. Some counties or other local jurisdictions in Illinois may also have additional requirements for conducting raffles – committees should check with local authorities where a raffle is planned.

What are the requirements for obtaining a raffle license?
As already mentioned a political committee must obtain a raffle license before conducting a raffle or selling or issuing chances for a raffle. The License Application to Conduct a Raffle requires information about when and where chances will be sold, when and where the winning chances will be determined, what prizes are involved and the names and addresses of the committee officials responsible for the conduct of the raffle. The application must be signed by the Chairman or Treasurer of the committee and the application must be notarized.

An established political committee is eligible to conduct a raffle regardless of how long it has been in existence. However, a committee is not eligible for a raffle license if it:

  1. owes the State Board of Elections any unpaid civil penalty [230 ILCS 15/8.1(c)(3)(vii)],
  2. has any outstanding required campaign disclosure report or document that is more than 10 days overdue [230 ILCS 15/8.1(c)(3)(viii)] , or
  3. is the subject of an unresolved claim for a civil penalty. “Unresolved claim” includes any contested or appealed fine that has not been finally decided by the Board or in some cases by the Courts of Illinois [230 ILCS 15/8.1(c)(3)(vii)].
Additionally, a committee is barred from conducting a raffle if any officer of the committee is a professional gambler or gambling promoter, or if any officer of the committee has been convicted of a felony, an offense identified in Article 10 of the Election code or an offense identified in 5/9-25.1 of the Election Interference Prohibition Act [10 ILCS 5/9-25.1 et seq.]. For a complete list of restrictions and requirements, please see the Illinois Raffles Act [230 ILCS 15/8.1].

How is a raffle license obtained?
The License Application to Conduct a Raffle should be downloaded, completed and mailed to the Board's Springfield or Chicago office, or faxed to 217/782-5959. In the case of an approved application, a signed and date-stamped copy of the application will be returned to the committee. In the case of a denied application, the submitting committee will be notified of the reason for the denial and (if applicable) may re-submit the application if time allows. Please be aware that if information listed on the application (such as the committee officers) does not match the Board’s records, the raffle application will be rejected.

Although the Board is allowed 30 days to act on a license application, the process generally takes place the same day the application is received. It is therefore possible for same-day approval of a raffle application for an event taking place that day, but it is recommended that an application be submitted at least several days before the actual date of the proposed raffle. A raffle license cannot be approved retroactively, but can only be approved for raffles occurring subsequent to the date the application is received by the Board. If an application includes sales or drawing dates that are prior to the date the application is received, it will either be denied or approved only from that date forward.

In general, a separate raffle license should be obtained for each raffle to be held by a committee. However, a raffle license may be valid for multiple raffles to be conducted over a period of up to one year. This option is only for committees that intend to conduct regularly scheduled raffles, such as a 50/50 drawing at monthly meetings. In the case of multiple raffles, the application must specify the number of raffles to be held and the dates for those raffles.

What reporting is required for a raffle?
All receipts and expenditures from a raffle must be reported by a committee on its next Semi-Annual Report. Raffle receipts may also need to be included on a Pre-Election Report, if raffle sales occur during a pre-election reporting period. Additionally, a separate Raffle Report must be submitted for each gathering or occasion at which a committee conducts a raffle.

A Raffle Report must include the totals of gross receipts, expenses and net proceeds for a given raffle event. It also must include a detailed listing of the distribution of net proceeds from the raffle. Cash prizes should be itemized by listing the date and amount of the payout, as well as the payee’s (raffle winner's) name and address and the purpose of the payment (such as "raffle winner" or "prize"). The section of the Raffle Report labeled "distribution of net proceeds of cash" should also include a listing of the net proceeds retained by the committee conducting the raffle. Non-cash prizes should be itemized by listing the winner's name and address and the date of the distribution, as well as a brief description of the item or prize.

Although a Raffle Report only requires a total figure for expenses related to a raffle, committees must additionally maintain detailed records for all deductions from gross receipts for each raffle. These records should include (1) receipts or other records indicating the amount, (2) a description of the purchased item, service or other reason for the deduction and (3) the recipient.

A Raffle Report must be signed by either the Treasurer or Chairman of the committee and should be filed (upon completion of the raffle) with a committee's next required report – either a Pre-Election, Semi-Annual or Final Report. For committees conducting multiple raffles on one license, a separate Raffle Report should be filed for each raffle event for which separate raffle ticket sales are conducted. Each raffle is considered to be completed once the winning chances have been drawn for each event involving separate ticket sales.

For example, suppose a committee obtains a license to conduct 12 raffles – one at each of their monthly meetings. If tickets will be sold for each individual drawing each month the committee would be required to file 12 Raffle Reports – one for each monthly drawing. On the other hand, if the committee conducted one round of ticket sales covering all 12 monthly drawings, only one Raffle Report would need to be filed and that report would be due following the completion of the last drawing.

There are no provisions at this time for electronic filing of Raffle Reports, so committees that file their other campaign disclosure reports electronically must file Raffle Reports on paper. Raffle reports may be filed at the Board's Springfield or Chicago office, but need not be filed with a County Clerk.

All committee records relating to raffles must be kept for 3 years.

How to Raffle