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Bingo & Raffles in Schools

This topic had almost slipped my mind until I got a question about it last month. Years ago, schools, student groups and parent-teacher organizations were not legally allowed to hold raffles for fundraising purposes. Some did anyway, either unaware of the prohibition or fairly certain they would not be prosecuted for their charitable endeavors. The law was subsequently amended to allow the practice, so long as no person or entity was compensated for holding the raffle or selling tickets. A link to the current law (at Title 21 – Crimes and Punishments) may be found here.

Bingo is treated somewhat differently and is governed by another set of statutes known as the Oklahoma Charity Games Act (at Title 3A – Amusements and Sports) and is found here.

An organization like a school may legally conduct a charity bingo game by obtaining an exemption from those requirements. To do so, the school must submit a request to the ABLE Commission with the school’s contact information and a written assurance that it will not hold a bingo game more than four times per calendar year, along with the dates, times and locations where any bingo games will occur.

Still have questions about these? Feel free to contact me for counsel.

Terri Thomas

Legal Services

Terri Thomas serves as Director of Legal Services for OPSRC. Ms. Thomas is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Oklahoma school law, with a primary focus on rural and smaller school districts. Prior to OPSRC, she served as legal counsel for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS).

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