OLR Research Report

May 19, 2005




By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst

You asked for a description of the laws governing church raffles.


By law, a church may operate and promote raffles subject to the same regulations and restrictions governing other organizations authorized to conduct raffles. It must get a permit from the Division of Special Revenue (DSR) or the local police chief, depending on the type of raffle. The type of permit dictates the number of raffles the permittee may conduct, the maximum aggregate value of prizes it may award, and the deadline for conducting the raffle. Permit fees range from $5 to $100; maximum aggregate prize value ranges from $100 to $100,000. Cash prizes are prohibited.

Only an organization's qualified members age 18 or older may promote, operate, or conduct raffles, and people under age 16 cannot sell or promote raffle tickets. The organization must submit a detailed report on the raffle to the permit-issuing authority within one month after the event. DSR may revoke or suspend permits for violations. Additional information is available from DSR.


The law allows the following to conduct, operate, or sponsor bazaars or raffles if the town where they are located has adopted the Bazaar and Raffles Act: veterans,' religious, civic, fraternal, educational, and charitable organizations; volunteer fire companies; political parties and their town committees; and towns acting through a designated centennial, bicentennial, or other centennial celebration committee (CGS 7-172).

Only the sponsoring organization's qualified members age 18 or older may promote, operate, conduct, or work at raffles (although centennial committees may use officially appointed volunteers age 18 or older). And people under age 16 may not sell or promote raffle tickets (CGS 7-172).

The law prohibits any type of payment, compensation, commission, or salary to anyone holding, operating, or conducting raffles or otherwise helping with these activities (CGS 7-178).


An organization wanting to conduct a raffle must get a permit. There are six classes of raffle permits. DSR issues class 7 permits. The police chief of the town where the raffle will be held issues the other permits. Table 1 shows the types of permits, issuing authority, permit fees, and raffle deadlines.

Table 1: Types of Raffle Permits*

Permit Type

Permit- Issuing Authority


Number of Permits Authorized Per Calendar Year

Maximum Aggregate Value of Prizes

Deadline for Holding Events

Class 1

Police chief or first selectman

$50 ($25 retained by town; $25 retained by state)



3 months

Class 2

Police chief or first selectman




2 months

Class 4

Police chief or first selectman

$5 (retained by the town)



1 month

Class 5

Police chief or first selectman

$80 ($40 for the town and $40 for the state)



9 months

Class 6

Police chief or first selectman

$100 ($50 for the town and $50 for the state)



1 year

Class 7


$100 (retained by the state)



15 months (allows 12 prize drawings on separate dates)

* The class 3 permit allows the conduct of bazaars

Source: CGS 7-170 to 7-185


To qualify for a permit, an organization, but not centennial committees, must have been organized in good faith and actively functioning as a nonprofit organization for at least six months before applying (CGS 7-172). The application must include:

1. the name and address of the organization and information about its incorporation or organization;

2. the name, titles, and address of each officer;

3. the date and place where the raffle will be held;

4. anticipated raffle sales and expenses;

5. a description of the raffle prizes, their retail value, and their donors

6. the specific purposes of the raffle's net proceeds;

7. the names of three people who will be responsible for running the raffle and a statement signed by them, under penalty of false statement, indicating that they are electors of the town where the raffle will be held and that they will be responsible for running it; and

8. any other information DSR requires (CGS 7-173).

Applicants must submit class 7 permit applications to DSR and other permit applications to the police chief in the town where the raffle will be held. The police chief must forward applications to DSR for review. DSR must investigate class 7 applicants; police chiefs must investigate other applicants on DSR's behalf. (CGS 7-174). (Copies of the application are available at: Charitable Games CGR-2 Application  .)


Each raffle ticket must contain the time, date, and place of the raffle, the three most valuable prizes, and the total number of prizes that will be awarded. Prizes are limited to merchandise; tangible personal property; nontransferrable or nonrefundable tickets, coupons, or gift certificates entitling winners to merchandize; services; and transportation on common carriers to tour facilities. They may not include alcohol, cash, or anything redeemable for cash, except for state lottery tickets. Coins with a trading value above their face value and coins not commonly in circulation are not deemed as cash (CGS 7-177).


Within one month after a raffle, the permittee must submit a verified report on the raffle to the pertinent permit-issuing authority. The report must show:

1. the amount of the gross receipts;

2. the expenses and payments and the name and address of anyone who received, or will receive, payments;

3. net profit and its use or intended use; and

4. the price of each prize with a retail value of $50 or more and the name and address of each prize winner.

The police chief must submit copies of the reports to DSR. The police chief and DSR executive director must examine the reports and compare them with the original applications. The executive director may refer violations to the appropriate state's attorney having jurisdiction over the town where the permittee is located. The permittee must keep any records that will substantiate the report for at least one year from the report's date (CGS 7-182 and 183).


DSR may suspend or revoke permits for actual or anticipated violations of the statutes or regulations and may impose a civil penalty of up to $200 after due notice and opportunity for a hearing. It may not reissue a permit for three years after the date of the violation that resulted in the revocation (CGS 7-181).


DSR's address and telephone number are:

Division of Special Revenue

555 Russell Road

Newington, CT 06111

(860) 594-0500

The email address is: