How Do I?
 Are all Fraternal Organizations eligible for small games of chance licenses?

In attempting to solve the liquor license problem, the amendments create other areas of conflict, fraternal organizations being one.If a fraternal organization has a liquor license under Section 102 of the Liquor Code and has a charitable, religious or civic purpose it is eligible. It is eligible as a "fraternal" organization only if it is a branch, lodge or chapter of a national or statewide organization. The only other way a fraternal organization can be eligible is if it meets the definition of civic and service association. Most fraternal organizations which do not meet either of the first two criteria will not be eligible.

 Are stamp machines legal?

Stamp machines may be used to dispense pull-tab tickets. Manufacturers of approved stamp machines are designated by a registration number preceded by M/S.

 Are the winnings taxable?

​Any cash or merchandise awarded to a player must be reported on the person’s individual income tax return filed with the Internal Revenue Service and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There may also be a local income tax.

 Are there any other limits?

Yes, the total amount of prizes awarded in raffles for any month must not exceed $5,000 except for raffles under a special permit. The prize may not be in violation of the law, such as liquor to a minor.

 Can a licensed, eligible organization use the proceeds of games for any purpose?

The proceeds may only be issued for public interest purposes or the purchase of small games of chance.

 Can an eligible organization obtain a listing of distributors who are licensed?

Yes. Each county licensing authority is provided with the updated list.

 Can raffle tickets can be sold anywhere?

Almost – the tickets may be sold in any county, but only in municipalities which have approved a referendum on small games of chance. There are notice requirements which must be met to sell outside the licensing county.

 Can the $5,000 limit ever be exceeded?

Yes, in the daily drawing referred to above and in a daily drawing designed and conducted to pay out 100% of the gross revenues generated from the game. In other words, the most any person can win is still $500, but the organization can award in excess of $5,000 in the week if it is the result of this type of game.

 Can the eligible organizations rent be determined by the gross receipts?

No, except that a per-head charge may be paid if it is in connection with the serving of a meal.


 How do eligible organizations get the question on the ballot?

Two ways are created in which a referendum may be initiated. The governing body of a municipality can adopt a resolution calling for a referendum and then file the resolution with the County Board of Elections. The second way is to file petitions which contain signatures of electors equal to at least 25/5 of the highest vote cast for any office in the municipality at the last presiding general election.

 How do I get a License for Raffle or Bingo?

​Non-profit organizations may apply for Small Games and Bingo Licenses. Please seethe SCG & Bingo section on the Treasurer's page to review the list of requirements and for more information.

 How much, in prizes, can an eligible organization award in a week?

$5,000 may be awarded in cash and merchandise for each seven-day period, except for certain daily drawings.

 How old do you have to be to play these games?

18 years old

 Is there a limit on the number of raffles an eligible organization may conduct?


 Is there a penalty for rigging a game?

Yes, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

 May a raffle winning number be selected using the State Lottery Daily Number?


 What are the eligible organizations?

​There are several types of entities which may be licensed by the County Treasurer
These include:
(a) any congressionally chartered organization within Pennsylvania or any branch, lodge, or chapter of a non-profit national or state organization within Pennsylvania, the membership of which consists of individuals who were members of the armed services or armed forces of the United States. It includes home associations affiliated with these entities.

(b) a club as defined in 102 of the Liquor code that qualifies as an exempt organization under RC 501(c) or IRC 527 and licensed to sell liquor at retail and which has a charitable, religious or civic purpose or is organized to benefit a political party.

(c) a nonprofit organization within Pennsylvania which is created and carried on for the mutual benefit of its members, having a limited membership and a representative form of government and is a branch, lodge or chapter of a state or national organization.

(d) a not-for-profit religious organization conducting business in accordance with the express purpose of a written constitution, charter, articles of incorporation or by-laws.

(e) any statewide or branch, lodge, or chapter of a nonprofit national or state organization which is authorized by its written constitution, charter, articles of incorporation or by-laws to engage in a civic or service purposes within Pennsylvania.

(f) similar (to (e) local non-profit organizations, not affiliated with a national or state organization recognized by the governing body of the local municipalities.

(g) bona fide sportsmen's and wildlife associations.

(h) bona fide senior citizen's organization.

(f) volunteer fire companies.

 What can happen to eligible organizations which do not obey the Act?

It is a summary offense. The First Offense carries a fine not to exceed $1,000 and loss of the license for the remainder of the license period or 6 months, whichever is longer. The Second Offense carries a fine not to exceed $1,000 and loss of the license for the remainder of the license period and the organization is ineligible for a license for the following license period. The Third and Subsequent Offenses carry fines not to exceed $1,000 and the loss of the license for the remainder of the license period and the organization is ineligible for a license for 30 months.

 What day did the act become effective?

February 17, 1989. Act 108 became effective on July 11, 1990. Act 195 became effective on December 19, 1990.

 What do you mean by “public interest purposes?”

“Public interest purposes” include:

(1) benefiting persons by enhancing their opportunity for religious or
educational advancement, by relieving or protecting them from
disease, the suffering or distress, by contributing to the physical,
emotional or social well-being, by assisting them in establishing
themselves in life as worthy and useful citizens, or by increasing
their comprehension of and devotion to the principles upon which
the nation were founded; or
(2) initiating, performing, or fostering worthy public works or enabling
or furthering the erection or maintenance of public structures; or
(3) lessening the burdens borne by government or voluntarily supporting,
augmenting or supplementing services which government would
normally render to the people; or
(4) improving, expanding, maintaining or repairing real property owned
or leased by an eligible organization and used for purposes specified
in (1)-(3) above.
“Public interest purposes” do not include the erection or acquisition of any
real property, unless the property will be used exclusively for one or more
of the purposes specified in (1)-(4) above.

 What does the Act mean by civil purpose?

This term is not defined by the Local Optional Small Games of Chance Act or the Statutory Construction Act. In most cases it will be left up to the governing body of the municipality since it will be required to pass the resolution. The general understanding of the term "civic" in relating to a municipality, state or county or its citizens or relating to citizenship.

 What games are permitted?

The act permits Daily Drawings, Raffles, Punchboards, and Pull-tabs. Video poker
and slot machines are not permitted. Bingo is permitted under a separate act.

 What is a charitable organization?

A not-for-profit group or body of persons which is created and exists for the
purpose of –
(a) performing a humane service
(b) promoting the good and welfare of the aged, poor, infirmed or distressed
(c) combating juvenile delinquency; or
(d) advancing the spiritual, mental, social and physical improvement of
young men and women.

 What is a dispensing machine?

It is a device designed exclusively to dispense games of chance. It includes ticket jars, fish bowls, and stamp machines. The Department has further defined stamp machines to distinguish them from gambling devices. A stamp machine is a device designed exclusively to dispense pre-printed pull-tab tickets which does not make any change to, marking on or alter in any way the ticket placed in the device. It may not print or produce tickets in any manner.

 What is a religious organization?

A not-for-profit group or body of persons which is created and which exists
for the predominant purpose of regularly holding or conducting religious
activities or religious education, without pecuniary benefit to any officer,
member or shareholder except as reasonable compensation for actual
services rendered to the organization.

 What is a special permit raffle?

This is a raffle for which an eligible organization obtains a special permit to award individual prizes in excess of $500 each. The eligible organization can award up to a total of $25,000 in prizes in this raffle. A special permit is needed if either the $500 limit or the $5,000 limit is exceeded.

 What is the difference between a limited occasion license and a regular license?

A limited occasion license permits the organization to hold three events per year. Only two of the events may be raffles. The events may cover not more than a total of seven days. Under a limited occasion license, the organization may not award a prize which exceeds $500 and the $5,000 weekly and $5,000 raffle totals apply. If the organization has a limited occasion license, it is not eligible for eithera special permit or a regular license for the license period.

 What is the difference between a raffle and a daily drawing?

A raffle is when the player buys a ticket for a chance determined by a random drawing of corresponding ticket stubs or by reference to drawings of the Pennsylvania State Lottery. The location and the date of the drawing must be printed upon the ticket.

A daily drawing is also a chance at a random drawing. However, only bona fide members may participate and the drawing must take place on the eligible organization’s premises on the same day as the ticket or number is sold, assignedor selected. The winning number may be determined by a random drawing using a passive selector device or by reference to the drawings of the Pennsylvania StateLottery. The tickets may not cost more than $1.00.
 What is the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue responsible for?

a. prescribing the eligible organization application form;

b. licensing distributors;
c. registering manufacturers; and
d. promulgating regulations addressing –
(1) minimum standards and restrictions for the manufacturer of tickets,
(2) procedure for registration of manufacturers and licensing of distributors,
(3) procedure for suspension or revocation of, manufacturer registrations and distributor licenses,
(4) carry out other provisions of the Act

 What is the prize limit for an individual prize?

$500 except for a special permit raffle and certain daily drawings.

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