Gambling and Fundraising – What You Need to Know

October 14, 2019 / Comments Off on Gambling and Fundraising – What You Need to Know

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by guest blogger, Angela Nunn, Administrator for the Gambling Control Division of the Montana Department of Justice.

Raising money is critically important for nonprofit organizations. Fundraising takes many shapes, but often involves an element of gambling. Due to the volunteer nature of these organizations, many times the members tasked with designing and running the fundraiser are not familiar with Montana’s laws and rules regarding these types of gambling activities.

The legislature has tasked the Gambling Control Division with regulating all forms of gambling in Montana except the Lottery and Horse Racing. Common forms of gambling-related nonprofit fundraising activities include raffles (traditional, online, 50/50, etc.), casino nights, Calcutta auctions, and poker runs. The Division has created a guide available on our website that outlines the basic requirements for each of those activities. (Gambling-related Nonprofit Fundraising Guide)

Because raffles are the most common tool nonprofits use to fundraise, I will highlight some of the requirements to note. Please see the Raffle Guide on our website for more information.

  • The date of the drawing must be identified prior to the sale of any tickets.
  • Once the raffle sales begin, the raffle may not be cancelled or changed (even if not enough tickets were sold).
  • Raffle tickets can be sold online only if the nonprofit organization has registered with our department before the raffle begins by submitting Form 46 and having it approved.
  • Credit cards may not be accepted as payment for raffle tickets sold in person or on the Internet (this includes PayPal or other similar services).
    • Debit cards are an acceptable form of payment. If an organization uses an online payment processing service, the software must be able to distinguish credit cards from debit cards.
  • The proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets may only be used for charitable purposes or to pay prizes (not administrative costs associated with conducting the raffle).
  • Records of the raffle must be maintained for 12 months from the date of the raffle drawing.

This past legislative session, SB25 was passed which authorized a new nonprofit fundraising activity called “Heads or Tails” effective October 1st. Prior to the effective date, the division will publish a resource on our website outlining the requirements of new activity.

For more information and resources (guides, FAQs, forms, etc.) please visit our website at

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office by calling (406) 444-1971 or emailing [email protected].