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Is it legal to create an online raffle site for personal profit in WV or PA. if not is there a way to use a nonprofit as partne

Morgantown, WV |
Attorney answers 4


Gambling is illegal, but an auction is not. You are free to gift your assets to a non-profit. They can do whatever their charter permits, except pay you for your stuff.

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You need to check with counsel in WV or Pa, because most states include restrictions on how, where and by whom raffles are conducted. Raffles can be considered a form of gambling, and operating them for personal gain could be a problem. At the very least, raffles for personal gain require full disclosure to all participants of the basic terms and conditions of the raffle, including that the profits go to you rather than to a charity. This is a dangerous and risky business proposition, and chances are you will get into trouble at the state or federal level if you pursue this.


Online gambling law is complex, and sophisticated legal advice is required to answer this question. If the raffle is being offered online, the laws of potentially every state come into play, along with federal law. Some states are beginning the process of legalizing online gambling in their borders, but it is a slow roll. Raffles are generally a form of lottery and considered gambling. The concept of 'partnering' with a non-profit charity is more of an urban myth than reality, when it comes to legalized gambling. One guy tried to raffle his house after hearing about the idea on Oprah Winfrey, and got arrested: Be careful, and get good legal advice.

Disclaimer: The foregoing does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney/client relationship. Please contact an attorney for formal legal advice on any specific matter.


Most states and municipalities has its own regulations regarding raffles so you would need to provide more details. If you are seeking to create a true raffle or game of chance than this is considered gambling. Most charities do not want to get involved in gambling (assuming it is legal) because the income they receive are not considered gifts since the person spending money on the gambling did not intend to make a donation but purchased a chance to win something. Many charities do not hold actual raffles - most if they are following the law - hold raffles that do not require a purchase - they at the same time ask for a donation.

Either way, what you are looking to do is a serious undertaking whether for-profit or with a partner and you should research it much more thoroughly. I would shy away from developing a business plan based on answers from an online posting site and focus on informing yourself by reading the actual laws.

Keep in mind that even if something is legal in WV you will have to figure out how to restrict people from states that it is not legal.

Here are some sources of information - I would check that these are up to date:

WV law on charitable gaming -

WV gambling laws -

PA Gambling laws -

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