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Charitable Gaming Overview

There are three forms of charitable gaming permitted in Ohio:

  1. Charitable bingo (including instant bingo)
  2. Raffles
  3. Games of chance

Charitable Bingo

Charitable organizations wishing to conduct bingo, including traditional bingo and instant bingo ("pull tabs"), must be licensed by the Attorney General of Ohio. To qualify for a license the organization must generally satisfy the following requirements:

  1. the organization must have received a tax-exempt determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that it is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) (civic league), 501(c)(8) (fraternal society), 501(c)(10) (domestic fraternal society), or 501(c)(19) (veteran's post) of the Internal Revenue Code;

  2. the organization must qualify as a "charitable organization" as defined in the Ohio Revised Code; and,

  3. with the exception of a volunteer rescue service or firefighter's organizations, the organization must have been in continuous existence for a period of not less than two years.

Read the Charitable Bingo FAQ.

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Raffles

A "raffle" is a form of bingo.

Organizations wishing to conduct a raffle must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. the organization must have received a tax-exempt determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that it is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;

  2. the organization must qualify as a "charitable organization" as defined in the Ohio Revised Code; or veteran or fraternal organization,

  3. with the exception of a volunteer rescue service, firefighter's organization or veteran's or fraternal organization, the organizations must have been in continuous existence for a period of not less than two years; and

  4. proceeds of raffle(50%) must go to a charitable purpose pursuant to R.C. § 2915.092..

Unlike charitable bingo, which requires a license issued by the Ohio Attorney General's office, no license is required for a qualified charitable organization to conduct a raffle.

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Games of Chance

A "game of chance" is a poker, craps, roulette, or other game where the participant pays money in hope of gain, the outcome of which is largely determined by chance.

Generally, games of chance may only be conducted at festivals of charitable organizations that last for no longer than a period of four (4) consecutive days and are held not more than twice a year or for a period of five (5) consecutive days not more than once a year. Craps, roulette, and slot machines are not permitted at festivals. The game of chance must be conducted on the premises owned by the charitable organization or leased from a qualifying organization.

Organizations wishing to conduct a game of chance must also meet the following additional requirements pursuant to Policy 201:

  1. the organization must have received a tax-exempt determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that it is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;

  2. the organization must qualify as a "charitable organization" as defined in the Ohio Revised Code; and,

  3. with the exception of a volunteer rescue service, firefighter's organization, or veteran's or fraternal organization, the organization must have been in continuous existence for a period of not less than two years.

No license is required for a qualified charitable organization to conduct games of chance at festivals.

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