Release: November 30, 2004
Raffles Now Legal for Non-Profit
Churches, schools, fire departments, senior
citizens groups and other non-profit organizations can once
again use raffles for fundraising without fear of breaking
the law according to Senator Frank
Shurden, a Democrat from Henryetta.
“I’ve been working for years so that non-profit
groups could use raffles for fundraising. The only way we
could make raffles legal again was to tie the legislation
to State Question 705, The Oklahoma Educational Lottery
Act,” he said.
Sen. Shurden and State Representative Don
Armes (R-Faxon) authored Senate Bill 837 in 2003 to
make raffles legal for non-profit organizations, after an
Attorney General’s opinion had deemed that raffles
were Class 3 Gaming and illegal in Oklahoma. When State
Question 705 was certified by the State Election Board as
passing this month, it made Class 3 Gaming legal in Oklahoma
and the legislation legalizing raffles also became effective
on November 9.
“Our youth organizations like 4-H, high school bands,
churches, fire departments and senior citizen centers across
this state needed a way to raise money. They had to stop
using fundraisers like drawings for quilts or a side of
beef when the Attorney General’s opinion deemed raffles
illegal,” the lawmaker added.
“Those that participated in these raffles usually
gave a dollar here or a dollar there because the money was
going to a worthwhile cause,” Sen. Shurden said. “They
were not doing it to gamble.”
Rep. Armes (R-Faxon) added that he was happy to be the house
author of Senate Bill 837 because it was common sense legislation.
“Non-profit groups throughout Oklahoma should have
the right to conduct fundraisers without fearing that their
actions are illegal.” Armes said. “Raffles should
have never been considered illegal and the language in this
bill allows them to be legal again, its just common sense
Johnnie Crutchfield, Senate co-author of the bill and
a Democrat from Ardmore, added the law prevents groups from
hiring an outside organization to conduct the raffle.
“This part of the bill is important because we want
all the money raised to go directly to the organization
conducting the raffle, not some outside group that automatically
takes a portion of the money simply to conduct the process.”
Sen. Crutchfield explained.
State Representative Joe
Dorman, a Democrat from Rush Springs and co-author of
the bill, added that is important for groups across the
state to be aware that raffles have once again become legal
“I have had several school superintendents in my district
call me inquiring about the status of this legislation.
I am pleased to let them know raffles are now legal and
they can begin fundraising without any hesitation.”
“Any time you have a delay in effective dates for
legislation, and especially a two year delay in this particular
instance, it can create some confusion. So I hope by making
the public aware that Senate Bill 837 is now effective,
we can eliminate some of that confusion.” Sen. Shurden