Charitable Gaming FAQs & Resources

Charitable Gaming Definitions

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What is charitable gaming?

Charitable gaming regulated by the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) consists of bingo, raffle and Monte Carlo events in which the proceeds are used to fund the activities of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. It does not include tribal casinos, which are federally regulated with local oversight provided by the Oregon State Police's Gaming Enforcement Division.

Who may conduct bingo, raffle and Monte Carlo event games in Oregon?

Only organizations exempt from paying federal income taxes may conduct charitable gaming events in Oregon. This includes public agencies and public schools. Private organizations qualify if they are active nonprofits. 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.

What is bingo?

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.

What is a raffle?

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.

What is Monte Carlo?


With Monte Carlo, 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.

What is Texas Hold'em?

Texas Hold'em is a type of poker game. Oregon law allows for the use of this and 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 Oregon DOJ for review:

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 online or can be mailed to you upon request.

What is 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.

What is a door prize drawing?

A door prize drawing is any drawing 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.

What is the handle?

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

General Information about Charitable Gaming

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Who may conduct bingo, raffle and Monte Carlo events in Oregon?

Only organizations exempt from paying federal income taxes may conduct charitable gaming events in Oregon. This includes public agencies and public schools. Private organizations qualify if they are active nonprofits. 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 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 DOJ. 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 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, the registration must be current prior to receiving a charitable gaming license.

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

If alcoholic beverages are included in any prize, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission » must be notified prior to the event. If firearms are to be awarded, licensees must comply with all 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 Internal Revenue Service (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 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, our 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 organizations 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 charitable gaming license?

To apply for a charitable gaming license, an application must be submitted to the Charitable Activities Section of the Oregon DOJ. Application forms are available online 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
Website: doj.state.or.us »

What does it cost to apply for a license?

License fees vary from $20 to $300 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.

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.

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. We are 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 quarterly or annual reports and renewal applications, and to pay reporting fees based on gross sales and the class of license.

Does the Oregon DOJ monitor gaming events?

We routinely conduct 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 Resources

Charitable Gaming Registrar

Oregon Department of Justice
Charitable Activities Section – Gaming Unit
100 SW Market Street
Portland, OR 97201-5702
971-673-1880
Website: doj.state.or.us »
Email: Charitable.Actvities@doj.state.or.us

Internal Revenue Service

TE/GE Division, Customer Service
P.O. Box 2508
Cincinnati, OH 45201
Toll Free: 1-877-829-5500
Website: irs.gov/charities-non-profits »

Oregon Liquor Control Commission

9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd.
Portland, OR 97222
503-872-5000
Toll Free: 1-800-452-6522
Website: oregon.gov/olcc »

Oregon State Police Gaming Enforcement Division

4190 Aumsville Highway SE
Salem, OR 97317
503-378-6999
Website: egov.oregon.gov/OSP »
Email: Ask.OSP@state.or.us

Oregon Council on Problem Gambling

24 Hour Oregon Helpline: 1-877-695-4648 (877-MYLIMIT)
OCPG Office: 503-685-6100
Website: opgr.org »
National: 1-800-522-4700
Portland: 1-800-233-8479
Lane County: 1-800-605-3423
2 Stop Now: 1-877-278-6766