Mailing Date: March 1, 2011
Richard L. Wolfe
Loyal Order of Moose
Lodge No. 761 Inc.
Re: 50/50 Tickets and Other Raffles
Dear Mr. Wolfe:
ISSUE: This is in response to your e-mail sent February 10, 2011, which was a resubmission of an e-mail you sent on November 5, 2010. You inquire as to what type of ticket is legal for a 50/50 raffle or any other type of raffle drawing. You also ask for advice as to whether a raffle ticket based on the daily lottery is legal.
Records of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“Board”) indicate that the Loyal Order of Moose, Lodge No. 761 Inc., holds Club Liquor License No. C-2707 (LID 1365) for the premises located at 25 East High Street, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
OPINION: Be advised that section 5.32 of the Board’s Regulations [40 Pa. Code § 5.32] permits retail licensees, such as clubs, to hold self-sponsored events, tournaments, or contests on their licensed premises. Self-sponsored means paid for and carried out by the licensee.
Events, tournaments, and contests that are sponsored by the licensee are subject to the following rules: there may be no unlawful gambling directly or indirectly associated with the event, tournament, or contest; there may be no consumption of alcohol by participants as part of the event, tournament, or contest; the price of admission may not include a charge for or entitle the participant to receive an alcoholic beverage, the total value of all prizes awarded for any event, tournament or contest may not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00), and the total value of all prizes awarded in a seven (7)-day period may not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.00). [40 Pa. Code § 5.32(e)]. Finally, licensees must maintain records of the prizes and winners on the licensed premises for two (2) years following the event, tournament, or contest. [40 Pa. Code § 5.32(e)(9)]. Finally, be advised that the Board’s Regulations require a club licensee to adhere to the provisions of its constitution and/or bylaws. [40 Pa. Code § 5.81].
One of the conditions mentioned above is that no unlawful gambling may be directly or indirectly associated with any event, tournament, contest or activity on the licensed premises. If there is unlawful gambling, the licensee will be held strictly liable for such activity and could be cited for violation of the Liquor Code and the Board’s Regulations. [40 Pa. Code § 5.32(e)(2)]. Because unlawful gambling is a violation of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, this office cannot provide you with a legal opinion as to whether the raffles referred to would constitute unlawful gambling. However, please be advised that unlawful gambling consists of the following elements: (1) consideration or a fee or charge to play; (2) an element of chance; and (3) a prize or reward. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Bd. v. PPC Circus Bar, Inc., 96 Pa. Cmwlth. 115, 506 A.2d 521 (1986).
It should be noted that raffles typically involve gambling; however, some gambling activities, while unlawful generally, are considered to be lawful if conducted by an entity that holds a small games of chance permit. You should contact your County Treasurer or the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Miscellaneous Tax Division at (717) 787-8275 to determine what activities are permissible with such a permit and what prize limits are permissible. You may also wish to contact the local police, the Pennsylvania State Police, or the County District Attorney’s Office for an official opinion concerning whether the raffles would constitute unlawful gambling.
This office cannot address your questions regarding the type of ticket that is legal for a 50/50 raffle or any other type of raffle drawing, nor whether a raffle based on the daily lottery is legal. You may find helpful information on the website for the Department of Revenue, which, as noted above, regulates Small Games of Chance: http://www.revenue.state.pa.us. On the left side of the home page, click on the link labeled “Businesses,” and then on the link for “Small Games of Chance.”
THIS OPINION APPLIES ONLY TO THE FACTUAL SITUATION DESCRIBED HEREIN AND DOES NOT INSULATE THE LICENSEE OR OTHERS FROM CONSEQUENCES OF CONDUCT OCCURRING PRIOR TO ITS ISSUANCE. THE PROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED CONDUCT HAS BEEN ADDRESSED ONLY UNDER THE LIQUOR CODE AND REGULATIONS. THE LAWS AND POLICIES ON WHICH THIS OPINION IS BASED ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BY THE LEGISLATURE OR THE PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD.
Very truly yours,
FAITH S. DIEHL
cc: Pennsylvania State Police,
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement
Jerry W. Waters, Director of Office of Regulatory Affairs
Jane Melchior, Director, Bureau of Licensing
Tisha Albert, Assistant Director, Bureau of Licensing
LCB Advisory Opinion No. 11-039