Many charities embrace raffles as a fun and lucrative way to raise money. A lot of them aren't aware that raffles constitute illegal gambling, unless the requirements of the Penal Code are met. If not, the charity is committing a crime by offering a raffle. And that would certainly take all the fun out of it. Two important deadlines for legal operation of a raffle are right around the corner: September 1 and October 1 are the important dates to remember if your charity plans to hold a raffle.
There is an important exception from raffle registration in Penal Code section 320.5, subdivision (m): Registration is not required if all tickets for a drawing are free, solicitations of voluntary donations to the organization are in no way connected to distribution of tickets, and this is made clear to all participants. But if a "donation" is required in return for a ticket, then the raffle is not exempt.
A nonprofit that wants to sell raffle tickets and does not want to give them away must meet the strict requirements of the Penal Code to avoid illegal gambling:
Additional information about registration requirements for raffles, including links to the registration and reporting forms, can be found at the Attorney General's FAQ page.