Raffle Legislation Signed by Governor Mills

The Governor recently signed into law a bill that addresses online payments for charitable raffles. The updated law clarifies that an online payment system does not make an in-person raffle an “internet raffle,” which is subject to strict regulation by the state’s Gambling Control Unit.

Raffles in Maine have had a troubled history and remain an illegal game of chance with a few notable exceptions. Any organization may hold an in-person raffle without registering with the Gambling Control Unit if the value of the prize is less than $2,500. Certain charitable and fraternal organizations may conduct a raffle with a prize less than $10,000 without registering, but credit unions are not included in this category.

The new law, which is now in effect, allows for online payment for a raffle ticket that is held in-person with physical tickets to be drawn. However, there are some caveats to this. For example, the payment management system must be approved by the Gambling Control Unit and must meet certain system requirements. The system also must be able to:

  • Establish the location of the member buying the ticket, so as to avoid sales to states where a raffle might be illegal.
  • Ensure that the member is not using credit for the purchase.
  • Confirm that the member making the purchase is over the age of 18.

If your credit union is considering taking payment for an in-person raffle through an electronic transfer, please coordinate with Ellen Parent at the League in advance to ensure your activity is compliant with the new law. To contact Parent, please email her at eparent@mainecul.org or call her by phone at 207.773.5671 ext. 353.

In addition, there are retention requirements regarding ticket stubs and online sales. Those who sell raffle tickets online will be required to file an annual report with the Gambling Control Unit with information about their sales.

“The League is very encouraged about the passage of this legislation,” said Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Governmental Affairs. “We believe it will improve things significantly. However, we strongly encourage credit unions to work with the League to ensure their activity is compliant with the new regulation.”

For additional compliance information, please reach out to Ellen Parent. For legal advice, please contact your credit union’s attorney.