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Charitable Gaming

Agency Guidance Documents

  • BINGO – DEFINED

      Idaho Code § 67-7702(1), and Idaho Administrative Rules, defines bingo as a traditional game of chance using a card with five (5) rows and five (5) columns containing numbers ranging from one (1) to seventy-five (75) and will be played for a predetermined prize before the games begin. The numbers are pulled using a bingo blower purchased from a vendor licensed with the Idaho Lottery.

      Bingo equipment and bingo paper must be purchased through a vendor licensed with the Idaho Lottery. All bingo paper must be numbered in consecutive order and recorded as sold, omitted, donated, or damaged on a nightly log. Any paper missing or sold out of order will be considered missing money. This is the number one mistake made by most organizations and makes balancing books impossible.

      Each bingo game must be assigned a unique color and match the color of the paper being sold for that game. This helps the organization and players track which game is being played.

      All bingo halls must meet all percentages outlined in Idaho Code § 67-7709 (1)(d)(i) in order to stay in good standing. A minimum of twenty percent (20%) must be donated to a charitable purpose defined in Idaho Statute. No more than eighteen percent (18%) may be used for bingo expenses in one license year.

      Even if a subcommittee has been formed to run a bingo game for the charitable organization, the ultimate responsibility for the games falls upon the managing board of officers of the organization.

      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.



      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.

  • CASINO NIGHT EVENTS

      Gambling is outlawed by Section 20 of the Idaho Constitution and Idaho Code, Chapter 38, Title 18. There is no exception for charitable gambling, including casino-style gambling.

      Casino-style games may be played for entertainment purposes only. If you would like to play games of chance at an event, you must remove one of two elements, consideration (direct or indirect payment), or the prizes awarded.

      If you choose to remove the payment required to play, you must clearly indicate that the casino style games are “No Purchase Necessary”. You cannot require payment to attend the event, however you can charge for other features (such as dinner) separately. If someone wishes to join the event without purchasing anything, you must allow them to play in the casino style games for free.

      If you choose to remove the prizes awarded for the casino-style games, you may charge people admission. If you charge admission you cannot award any type of prize including exchanging chips for raffle tickets. You must clearly state on all advertising that “no prizes will be awarded for casino style games”.

      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.


      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.

  • CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS AND NON PROFITS

      Charities and Nonprofits are very closely related in both Idaho Code Chapter 77, Title 67, and Idaho Administrative Rules, and can easily be confused with one another. The difference lies in the 501 sections of the Internal Revenue Service codes that applies to each organization. Idaho Charities are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and are exempt from income tax pursuant to I.C. § 63-602C. Nonprofits are incorporated under Title 30, Chapter 30of Idaho Code and are registered with the Idaho Secretary of State.

      Examples of nonprofits include, but are not limited to: civic, religious, fraternal, patriotic or veteran’s organizations, nonprofit volunteer fire department, nonprofit volunteer rescue squad, nonprofit volunteer educational booster group, parent-teacher organization or association. Political organizations, including PACs, do not qualify.

      Since the purpose of the laws, rules, and compliance procedures is to ensure fairness and integrity of bingo games and/or raffle, and to ensure the funds raised ultimately are used for the charitable purposes intended by the donors/players, the organizations (both charities and nonprofits) are required to have been in existence in the county of intended operation for at least one year (proven by but not limited to bylaws, bank statements, meeting minutes, and/or board member lists).

      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.


      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.

  • CHARITABLE PURPOSE

      The Idaho Lottery interprets Idaho Statute Title 67, Chapter 77, and Idaho Administrative Rules to define “charitable purpose” as:

      • The advancement of a religious, charitable, civic, scientific testing, public safety, or educational purpose;
      • The purchase, construction, maintenance, operation, or use of equipment or land, or a building or improvements thereto, that is owned, leased, or rented by and for the charitable or nonprofit organization, and that is used for civic purposes or made available by the charitable or nonprofit organization for use by the general public from time to time;
      • To foster amateur sports competition;
      • The prevention of cruelty to humans and/or animals.

      Under Idaho Statute 67-7702 (3), only qualifying charities and/or nonprofits are allowed to conduct bingo and raffles. Neither businesses nor private individuals qualify, even if the funds are utilized for a purpose listed above.

      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.


      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.

  • COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES

      Idaho Lottery may revoke, suspend or deny a license for violation or non-compliance with state law or Lottery rules concerning gaming; by losing tax exempt status, by misrepresentation, fraud or concealment of facts and information to obtain a license or operate bingo/raffles, or by denying Idaho Lottery officials access to gaming locations and bookkeeping records.

      Our goal, however, is to work with charitable organizations to assist them in complying with the laws and rules concerning gaming. There are many steps available prior to revocation:

      • Warning Letters – The first step involves a warning letter mailed to the organization if a violation is encountered. The letter contains steps to rectify the issues and come into compliance.
      • Probation – The next step is to place an organization on probation. Probation will last a minimum of one (1) year and will require the organization to submit records every (3) to six (6) months. Any violations during this time period may result in the loss of license.
      • Revocation – If no steps are made to rectify the violation(s), or if the violation(s) are egregious, intentional, or repeated, license revocation will begin.
      • Civil Penalty – Civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation are a potential consequence for violations.


      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.


      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.

  • MERCHANT PROMOTION

      A business or individual may not participate in charitable gaming; however, they may hold a merchant promotion under the Idaho Code § 18-3801 (4). A merchant promotion must allow at least one free entry to any person who would like to enter. A person or business cannot require anyone to purchase a chance, directly or indirectly, in order to win. After a free chance has been given, a person or business may, however, award additional chances to win based on items purchased.

      A merchant promotion is designed to attract and promote businesses and individuals by awarding prizes with no consideration or payment to play.

      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.


      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.

  • RAFFLES - DEFINED

      Idaho Code § 67-7702(5), (13), and Idaho Administrative Rules, define a raffle as an event in which prizes are won by random drawings or other selections of a ticket, duck, or other means of identifying the persons purchasing chances in the event.

      The Idaho Lottery interprets the length of a raffle to be from the day the first ticket is offered for sale, until the day the drawing occurs. The length of the raffle must not be longer than a year in order to avoid a perpetual raffle.

      If the raffle length goes beyond the current license period of the organization, a new license needs to be acquired from the Idaho Lottery to complete the raffle.

      Even if a subcommittee has been formed to run a raffle for the charitable organization, the ultimate responsibility for the raffle falls upon the managing board of officers of the organization.

      All organizations conducting raffles, whether required to be licensed or not, must abide by the same rules.

      Idaho Code § 67-7710 states all raffles must be carefully tracked and include all of the following record keeping requirements for a minimum of five (5) years:

      • Number of raffles held.
      • Gross revenue from each raffle (must match number of tickets recorded sold).
      • Fair market value of all prizes given at each raffle. If the items raffled are donated (or free to the organization), the organization does not record that amount on the Annual Raffle Report as cost of prizes.
      • The amount paid for all raffle expenses only.
      • The amount paid to the charitable organization or nonprofit.
      • An accounting of all gross revenues and the disbursements required by statute and rule.
      • All information recorded and submitted must be true and accurate. Any falsification of records will result in disciplinary action.

      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.


      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.

  • RAFFLE TICKETS SOLD ONLINE

      The State of Idaho has no prohibition, neither in administrative rule nor statute, regarding the sale of raffle tickets via the internet. Conversely, there is no rule or law stating this is expressly allowed either. However, those considering offering raffle tickets for sale via the internet should consult private legal counsel, the Department of Justice, or their local U.S. Attorney’s office, as some legal opinions state these actions could be a violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, and/or the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, both Federal statutes carrying civil and criminal penalties.

      Many states, including some neighboring states, do have state statutes prohibiting these acts. If a resident of one of these states were to purchase a raffle ticket via the internet, for a raffle being held in Idaho, both the purchaser and the seller could potentially find themselves in violation of those state statutes, in addition to any penalties that may be associated with the above-mentioned Federal statutes. The Enforcement Division of the Idaho Lottery offers this opinion only in regards to Idaho law.

      For further information, please contact the Charitable Gaming Coordinator at 208.334.2558.


      Disclaimer:

      This guidance document is not intended to create any new laws but is an agency interpretation of existing Idaho Law and/or Administrative Rule issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-02.






If you have questions about this content, email avitek@lottery.idaho.gov
Angela Vitek, Charitable Gaming Coordinator
Idaho Lottery Enforcement Division - (208) 334-2277