OLR Research Report

January 16, 2003





By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst

You want to know what kind of gambling is now legally permissible at school-sponsored events now that Las Vegas nights are illegal.


The act abolishing Las Vegas nights does not prohibit school-sponsored bingo, bazaars, or raffles (HB 7501, Emergency Certification, January 6, 2003 Special Session). Subject to existing laws and Division of Special Revenue (DSR) regulations, (1) schools may continue to promote, operate, or sponsor bingo, bazaars, and raffles and (2) any school holding a bingo or bazaar permit may get a permit to sell sealed tickets during the conduct of bingo and bazaars. The act eliminates a provision that allows a permittee conducting a bazaar to award cash prizes of up to $ 25 in a “money-wheel” game.

CGS 7-170 defines a bazaar as any place a sponsoring organization maintains for disposing merchandise awards by means of chance. DSR regulations allow sponsoring organizations to conduct the following games of chance at bazaars: knock-a-block games, dime pitches onto a flat surface, jar ticket games, straw games, lollipop games, duck pond games, fifty-fifty games, teacup raffles, and other games DSR approves (Conn. Agencies Reg. 7-185-10b). The regulations also allow the conduct of merchandise prize wheel games. But, DSR has asked the attorney

general’s opinion on the legality of such games in light of the act abolishing Las Vegas nights and eliminating money-wheel games. By law, the organizations may also conduct cow-chip raffles and duck race raffles (CGS 7-185a).


The law allows the following to conduct, operate, or sponsor bazaars or raffles in towns that have adopted the Bazaars and Raffles Act: educational, veterans’, religious, civic, fraternal, and charitable organizations; volunteer fire companies; political parties; and town committees. Designated centennial celebration committees may also promote and conduct raffles sponsored by towns. An organization must have a DSR permit to conduct a bazaar or raffle. The organization (but not the committee) must be at least one year old to be eligible for a permit.

Only a sponsoring organization’s qualified members may promote and operate bazaars and raffles, and they may not get paid for their services. People under age 18 may not promote, conduct, or work at bazaars or raffles; and people under age 16 may not sell raffle tickets or promote ticket sales (CGS 7-172).

The organization may award merchandise, tangible personal property, tickets (including lottery tickets), coupons, or gift certificates as prizes. It may not award alcohol, and, with minor exceptions for cow-chip raffles and fifty-fifty games, it may not award cash or anything redeemable for cash (CGS 7-177 and 185a as amended by HB 7501, January 6, 2003 Special Session).


The law allows the following to conduct bingo in towns that have voted to approve it: educational, charitable, civic, fraternal, veterans’, or religious organizations; volunteer fire departments; and granges (CGS 7-169).

An organization must have a DSR permit to conduct bingo. As a prerequisite, it must register with DSR and get a DSR identification number (CGS 7-169a). Organizations consisting of members over age 60 may operate and conduct recreational bingo games without a permit (CGS 7-169c).

Only a sponsoring organization’s qualified members may promote and operate bingo. But DSR may allow qualified members of other registered organizations to assist (CGS 7-169).

Subject to certain limitations (including prize limits), organizations may award cash, merchandise, lottery tickets, or other personal tickets as prizes (CGS 7-169(i)).


Sealed tickets are cards with tabs that, when pulled, reveal images, symbols, or numbers that entitle the holder to a prize if they match a designated winning combination. The law prohibits sealed ticket sales to people under age 18. Proceeds from sales must be used for charitable purposes.

VR: ts