Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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Charitable Gaming
Charitable gaming regulated by the Oregon Department of Justice consists of bingo, raffle and Monte Carlo events in which the proceeds are used to fund the activities of charitable organizations. It does not include tribal casinos, which are federally regulated with local oversight provided by the Oregon State Police's Gaming Enforcement Division.

Bingo is a game played on a purchased card printed with a grid of horizontal and vertical lines of numbers. Numbers are drawn from a receptacle holding no more than 90 numbers until there is a winner (or winners). Winners are determined by covering (or uncovering) the selected numbers in a designated combination, sequence or pattern as they appear on the player's card.

A raffle is a form of lottery in which each participant buys a chance for a prize and the winner is determined by a random drawing. As with all lotteries, a raffle includes the elements of consideration, chance and a prize. Consideration is presumed to be present unless it is clearly and conspicuously disclosed to prospective participants that tickets may be acquired without contributing something of economic value.

For information about Alternate Raffle Format games, click here

Monte Carlo
At a Monte Carlo event, players compete against the house on contests of chance using purchased imitation money. The event encompasses casino-style gambling, using cards, dice and roulette wheels. Players wager and win imitation money, chips or tokens and no cash is wagered or won. Players may exchange imitation money for non-cash prizes or use it for a chance to "purchase" prizes at an auction.

Texas Hold'em
Texas Hold'em is a kind of poker game. In 2005, legislation was passed allowing for the use of Texas Hold'em or similar games at Monte Carlo fundraising events. With Texas Hold'em, players are limited to spending no more than $200. This limit includes the original buy-in, as well as all "add-ons" and "re-buys". Licensees are expected to have a system in place which will adequately track player spending to ensure that no one is allowed to violate the $200 limit. If a licensee charges guests a fee to attend their fundraising event in addition to the buy-in for Texas Hold'em, the licensee must describe what, in addition to the Texas Hold'em tournament, the player is receiving for the additional fee.

If Texas Hold'em is a game that will be offered at an organization's Monte Carlo event, please fill out the following worksheet and submit it to the Department for review:

Texas Hold'em Worksheet (pdf)

As with traditional Monte Carlo events, a license is required for any single Texas Hold'em event where the sale of scrip is expected to exceed $2,000, and/or for any organization which intends to raise more than $5,000 from its sale of scrip from multiple events within any calendar year. Monte Carlo license applications are available on our website at http://www.doj.state.or.us/charigroup/applygaming.shtml or can be mailed to you upon request.

Social Gaming
A "social game" is one in which all the money wagered is returned to the players in the form of prizes. The house cannot take a "cut" or percentage of the money or otherwise profit in any manner from the operation of a game. Social games in businesses, private clubs, or places of public accommodation can be conducted only if there is an enabling ordinance (usually a social gaming ordinance) by the local jurisdiction. Social games that are conducted in private residences are permissible.

Door Prize Drawings
A door prize drawing is defined as a drawing that is conducted at a regular meeting of the nonprofit organization where both the sale of tickets and the drawing occur, and the total value of all the prizes does not exceed $500.

The handle is the gross sales generated by a gaming event.

General Information

Who may conduct bingo, raffle and Monte Carlo event games in Oregon?
The only organizations that may qualify to conduct bingo, raffles, or Monte Carlo events in Oregon are those that are exempt from the payment of federal income taxes. This includes public agencies and public schools. Private organizations may also qualify if they are active, nonprofit organizations exempt from the payment of federal income taxes. In addition, an organization must have held tax exempt status for at least one year and been engaged in its charitable, fraternal, or religious purpose during that time.

Do all bingo, raffle, and Monte Carlo event gaming operations require licenses?
Generally, all nonprofit organizations wishing to operate bingo, raffle and Monte Carlo events are required to have licenses issued by the Oregon Department of Justice. Following are the only three exceptions:

  1. Nonprofit organizations operating bingo games with a handle of no more than $2,000 per session and with a total handle of no more than $5,000 per calendar year.
  2. Nonprofit organizations holding raffles with a cumulative handle of no more than $10,000 per calendar year.
  3. Nonprofit organizations holding Monte Carlo events with a handle of no more than $2,000 per Monte Carlo event and a total handle of no more than $5,000 per calendar year.

Are there additional licensing or registration requirements?
Certain nonprofit organizations are required to register with the Oregon Department of Justice under Oregon's Charitable Trust and Corporations Act. Charitable gaming license applications are reviewed to see if the applicant organization is subject to registration, and if registration is current.

Assumed business names and corporations may be required to register through the Corporations Division of the Oregon Secretary of State. If required to do so, the registration must be current prior to the issuance of a charitable gaming license.

Local jurisdictions may also have licensing requirements or specific ordinances governing the operation of charitable gaming. Contact your local city hall or district attorney's office for information regarding these requirements.

Please note that if alcoholic beverages are included in any prize resulting from charitable gaming activities, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission must be notified prior to the event. Also, if firearms are to be awarded, licensees must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations, including background checks.

What proof of tax exempt status is required to obtain a gaming license?
The law requires all organizations receiving bingo, raffle, or Monte Carlo event licenses to have federal tax exempt status. Private organizations applying for gaming licenses must submit a determination letter from the IRS that establishes that the organization has been exempt from federal income tax for a period of at least one year.

Organizations which are tax exempt but do not qualify for exemption under the Internal Revenue Code 501(c), may submit an opinion letter from a certified public accountant or an attorney stating that the organization holds tax exempt status and citing the relevant portions of the IRS Code supporting it.

If an organization has been operating for one year or more but has only recently been recognized as tax exempt, other means may be used to demonstrate that it has been operating for charitable, fraternal, or religious purposes for at least a year.

In order to protect the organization's tax status, the purpose for which gaming proceeds are designated should fall within its mission statement, as reported to the IRS. Gaming licenses become invalid if an organization loses its tax exempt status.

May a subgroup of a nonprofit, tax exempt organization apply for and receive a license?
No. Separate nonprofit, tax exempt entities may apply for and receive gaming licenses; individual subgroups of such entities may not. A licensee may share the operation of the games and proceeds with a bona fide subgroup of the licensed organization. Specifically, the Department's policy with respect to separate organizations that qualify for licenses is as follows:

  1. Public school districts and individual schools may qualify for licenses. However, most clubs and subgroups of a school will not be regarded as separate organizations and must operate under the school's license.
  2. In general, licenses for Catholic organization will only be granted to those entities listed in the Official Catholic Directory.
  3. Some organizations, typically fraternal clubs, have a group tax exemption from the IRS. Those organizations that are listed as "subordinates" of the parent organization may qualify separately for a license. Fraternal and service organizations attempting to qualify under a national group exemption letter may be granted a license if they establish that they are a separate reporting entity. For instance, an auxiliary organization would qualify for a separate license only if it is filing a separate return with the IRS.

How does an organization apply for a gaming license?
To apply for a charitable gaming license, an application must be submitted to the Charitable Activities Section of the Oregon Department of Justice. Application forms are available on the Department's web site or may be obtained by contacting the Portland office:

Charitable Gaming Registrar
Oregon Department of Justice
Charitable Activities Section — Gaming Unit
100 SW Market Street
Portland, OR 97201-5702
(971) 673-1880

What does it cost to apply for a license?
License fees vary from $20 to $100 depending upon the type and anticipated handle of the activity. Application fees are not refundable.

How long does it take to obtain a license?
The Department has 60 days to formally approve or deny a license once a completed application is received. In most cases, action to approve or deny a license occurs sooner. Delays are most often caused by incomplete applications and lack of documentation supporting tax exempt status. The 60-day period does not begin until the application is accepted as complete. New applicants may not conduct gaming operations until they have received approval from the Department.

How long are licenses valid?
Licenses may be issued for a period not to exceed 12 months. Once issued, they are valid until they expire, are suspended, canceled, or revoked by the Department.

What if a license application is denied?
If an application is denied, a formal notice of denial and a statement of hearing rights will be sent. The Department is required by law to give applicants notice and opportunity for a hearing when administrative action is proposed.

Are there different kinds of licenses?
There are different classes of bingo, raffle, and Monte Carlo event licenses. The license class is based on the handle or gross sales of bingo cards, raffle tickets, or imitation money at Monte Carlo events. The higher class licenses are subject to stricter controls.

Are there other reporting requirements or fees involved?
Licensees are required to file annual reports and renewal applications and pay reporting fees based on gross sales and the class of license.

Does the Department of Justice monitor gaming events?
The Department routinely conducts various types of audits and inspections of the licensees' records and operations. Copies of all applications and reports should be retained for three years. Cash audits may be conducted without advance notice, during gaming operations or at other times, wherein all cash and cash items are counted and balanced to organization records. Record inspections are conducted periodically to ensure that all records are accurate and complete and that the organization is in compliance with the rules governing charitable gaming. Audits of the records of the entire nonprofit organization (or of specific areas) are also periodically conducted under the authority of the Attorney General.

Are minors allowed to participate in gaming events?
Bingo cards and raffle tickets may not be sold to persons under 18 years of age unless the parent or legal guardian of the purchaser witnesses the transaction.


Charitable Gaming Registrar
Oregon Department of Justice
Charitable Activities Section — Gaming Unit
100 SW Market Street
Portland, OR 97201-5702
(971) 673-1880

Internal Revenue Service
TE/GE Division, Customer Service
P.O. Box 2508
Cincinnati, OH 45201
(877) 829-5500 — Toll Free

Oregon Liquor Control Commission
9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd.
Portland, OR 97222
(503) 872-5070
(800) 452-6522 — Toll Free

Oregon State Police
Gaming Enforcement Division
Tribal Gaming Section
400 Public Service Building
Salem, OR 97310
(503) 378-6999

Oregon Council on Problem Gambling
24 Hour Oregon Helpline: 1-877-MYLIMIT (695-4648)
OCPG Office: 503-685-6100
Current website: www.oregoncpg.com
National:  1-800-522-4700
Portland: 1-800-233-8479
Lane County: 1-800-605-3423
2 Stop Now: 1-877-278-6766

Statement of Nondiscrimination and Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires all programs, services and activities of state and local governmental agencies to be accessible to persons with disabilities.

The Oregon Department of Justice does not discriminate in providing access to its programs, services and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other inappropriate reason prohibited by law or policy of the state or federal government.

For additional information regarding (1) the Department's ADA compliance, (2) its policy of nondiscrimination, (3) availability of the information in this pamphlet in a different format, or (4) procedures for resolving a complaint that the Department has discriminated in providing access to programs, services and activities - please contact the ADA coordinator:

ADA Coordinator
1162 Court Street, NE (southwest corner at 12th Street)
Salem, Oregon 97310
(503) 378-5555
(503) 378-5938 - TTY
(503) 378-8732 - FAX
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