Last September, the Ohio School Boards Association issued a bulletin alerting school districts that the General Assembly had amended Ohio Revised Code (RC) 2915.092 to remove a school district’s ability to conduct raffles. The law was amended in Ohio House Bill (HB) 110, which removed the term “public schools” from the list of entities that were authorized to conduct charitable raffles without obtaining a bingo license.
However, at the end of 2022, the General Assembly amended RC 2915.092 in HB 45 to restore the ability of school districts to conduct raffles. The law was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Jan. 6, 2023, and is effective next Friday, Apr. 7, 2023. This means that, as of that date, school districts will once again be able to operate raffles.
A “raffle” is a form of bingo that offers one or more prizes to individuals who have purchased tickets. Winners are selected by a random drawing of the sold tickets. Ohio law allows nonprofits and other organizations to operate raffles without first obtaining a bingo license. The change in the law puts Ohio’s school boards back into the group that can operate raffles. Raffles to benefit school districts can also be conducted by booster groups and support organizations, without first obtaining a bingo license, as long as they are formed as nonprofit organizations under 26 United States Code (USC) 501(c)(3) and are tax exempt under 26 USC 501(a).
More information about raffles and other charitable gaming can be found on the Charitable Gaming section of the Ohio Attorney General Office's website. If you have general questions about raffles, please contact the legal division of the Ohio School Boards Association at (855) 672-2529 or (855) OSBA-LAW. If you have more specific questions about raffles or other matters related to fundraisers, please contact your board's legal counsel.