NY Online Gambling To Include Charitable Gaming Raffles, Opening Door To 50-50 Raffles At Professional Sports Events

Written By Mike Mazzeo on June 30, 2022

The New York State Gaming Commission on June 9 adopted regulations regarding the online sale of charitable gaming raffle tickets, subject to an application process and NYSGC approval.

The move potentially paves the way for professional sports organizations to sell 50-50 raffle tickets online via cellphone or computer. 

During a 50-50 raffle, players buy tickets with chances to win a prize (often monetary) if their number is drawn. Of the prize pool, 50% goes to the winner and the other 50% goes to a charitable organization. With this adoption of regulations, authorized organizations can benefit more from legal online gambling in New York.

NY online gambling to allow online raffle tickets

Buffalo Sabres Foundation president Rick Jureller told Spectrum News 1 in January that the team’s 50-50 raffle during home games brings in about $1 million on average for charitable causes. 

Jureller told Spectrum that the regulations would enable the team to sell tickets to those not in attendance at KeyBank Center, post presale for future dates and possibly also have raffles during away games. Jureller added that he thinks those moves could double the numbers.

Such an influx in sales will benefit the likes of nonprofit organizations that rely on fundraisers to stay afloat.

“I’m excited for the groups, like you mentioned, whether it’s a local fire company or whomever that’s trying to do some good, trying to raise money to support their efforts,” Jureller told Spectrum. “This is really going to be a huge opportunity for them as well.”

Online raffle sales a long time coming

Authorizing organizations to sell raffle tickets online has been in the works for five years.

In 2017, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Charitable Gaming Act, which opened the door for online sales. That said, the act only went into play if the NYSGC formulated regulations by June 2018. The commission, however, never followed through.

Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, who co-sponsored the Charitable Gaming Act, had continued to pressure the NYSGC to draft regulations, thus allowing nonprofit organizations, programs and services to benefit.

Now, Griffo’s efforts have come to fruition.

“I am pleased that, after years of unacceptable delays, the Gaming Commission has finally adopted regulations allowing raffle tickets to be sold online,” Griffo told the Daily Sentinel. “These new regulations will strengthen and enhance the fundraising efforts of charities throughout the state and help them to raise the funds they desperately need.”

Other NY charitable gaming revisions

The commission also adopted regulations for charitable gaming regarding games of chance. 

Such a change has several ripple effects, among others:

  • Replaces references to specific prize limits
  • Clarify which organizations can conduct games of chance
  • Increase retention period for winning tickets
  • Allow for electronic payment of certain expenses

This would also allow the commission to set procedures when an organization looks to conduct a raffle outside its premises.

Photo by Shutterstock / PlayNY
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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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