California, MD asked in Gaming for California

Q: What exactly counts as gambling? is it gambling if my school does a raffle, prize giveaway, bingo or anything similar?

Were trying to raise money for our theatre program but are unsure on what exactly the gambling laws in Maryland are.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In the context of California law, gambling involves wagering on the outcome of a game or event where chance rather than skill primarily determines the result, and where participants risk something of value for the chance to win a prize. Activities like raffles, prize giveaways, and bingo can fall under this definition, especially if they require participants to pay to play with the chance of winning prizes based on luck.

However, California law provides exceptions for certain types of gambling-like activities, particularly when they are conducted by nonprofit organizations for fundraising purposes. To conduct a raffle, for instance, your school would need to comply with specific state regulations, including obtaining the necessary permits and ensuring that the raffle is conducted in a manner that aligns with state guidelines.

It's important to note that while these activities can be permissible under certain conditions, they must be carefully managed to ensure compliance with state regulations. If your school is considering organizing such events to raise funds for the theatre program, it would be advisable to consult with legal counsel to ensure that all activities are conducted within the bounds of California law. This step helps protect the school from potential legal issues and ensures that your fundraising efforts are successful and lawful.

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