Charitable Poker and Gambling Laws in the United States

Even states which have draconian laws about gambling businesses sometimes allow some types of legal poker and gambling if they’re being conducted for charitable purposes. In many states, this is limited to bingo, but in other states, other forms of gambling for charity are allowed. Some states make no exceptions based on whether or not the gambling is done for charity. This post sums up what’s legal in certain states, but it’s possibly out of date. Don’t rely on this page for legal advice related to charitable gambling; get an attorney’s advice instead. This page is meant to be used of entertainment and education purposes only.

States Which Don’t Make ANY Exceptions of Charitable Gambling

The following states make no exceptions to their laws about gambling, whether or not the proceeds go to charity:

  • Hawaii
  • Utah
States Which Allow Charitable Bingo and Raffles
The following states offer exceptions for charitable bingo games and sometimes raffles, but not for any other types of gambling. In some of these states, these exceptions only apply to certain counties.
  • Alabama – They only allow charitable bingo in certain counties under certain circumstances.
  • Arizona 
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada – There’s lots of gambling in Nevada, but they restrict the charitable gambling to just the bingo and raffle type stuff.
  • New Mexico
  • New Jersey – If you want to gamble in a casino, then you need to visit Atlantic City–they have a similar legal situation to the state of Nevada.
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma – The state is home to dozens of tribal casinos, but the only charitable gaming going on in the state is bingo and raffle related.
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
States Which Allow Charitable Bingo and Other Gambling Games
These states allow charitable bingo and some other gambling games, if the proceeds go to charity. I’ve included some details next to each state.
  • Alaska – Not only is charitable bingo allowed, several other gambling games are also explicitly allowed, but none of them are traditional casino games. These include games like ice classics, goose classics, or fish derbies.
  • California – Since 2007, charitable poker games have been legal. They also have legal bingo and raffles.
  • Delaware – They allow charitable bingo games and charitable no limit Texas hold’em tournaments.
  • The District of Columbia – They also allow exceptions for “Monte Carlo night parties.”
  • Illinois – They include provisions for pull-tab games and “jar games.”
  • Indiana – They include provisions for casino night parties, but they have specific limitations on the numbers and types of games allowed at such an event.
  • Iowa – They include a number of provisions for carnival-style games.
  • Louisiana – They include provisions for keno games.
  • Massachusetts – They include provisions for Bridge and Whist games.
  • Michigan – They include provisions for “millionaire parties,” which are basically just like “Monte Carlo night parties” or “casino nights.”
  • Mississippi – They include provisions for pull-tab games.
  • Montana – Like Lousiana, they include exceptions for certain keno games.
  • New Hampshire – Includes provisions for a game called “Lucky 7,” which sounds like some type of lottery game.
  • North Dakota – They have exceptions for multiple games, including poker, calcuttas, paddleboards, and sports pools.
  • Oregon – They offer exceptions for multiple games of chance, and they have laws allowing charitable casino nights, or “Monte Carlo nights.”
  • Pennsylvania – They have exceptions for what they call “small games of chance,” which includes things like daily drawings, raffles, and pull-tabs. No poker or casino game nights, though.
  • Vermont – They include exceptions for casino nights, but there are many regulations.
You can find more information about charitable gambling laws, including the actual text of most of the provisions, at Chuck Humphrey’s site. If I made any mistakes on this page, or if you know of any laws having been changed since I published this, then be sure to chime in via the comment function on this post.

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