Kansans will vote on legalizing raffles

GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Several years ago Susan Escareno was running a raffle when she was told the fundraiser was illegal.

“I had no idea!” she said. “I think about how many tickets I’d bought from kids and non-profits and it was always that way.”

Like most people who unwittingly hold an illegal raffle, Escareno wasn’t punished, just told to stop.

According to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, a raffle is the simplest form of a lottery and in Kansas, non-state sanctioned gambling is illegal.

Some schools, like Garden City, have tried to stay away from raffles, opting instead for other fundraising to help with extracurricular costs.

“We deal with more business partners and partnerships with businesses in the community,” said Garden City Public Schools’ Public Information Officer Roy Cessna.

On November 4th voters can decide whether to make raffles legal for non-profits, schools, churches, and other charitable organizations.  If it passes, it won’t be a done deal just yet.  The Kansas Department of Revenues would still have to figure out licensing and regulations.  Lawmakers will have to decide if organizations can buy generic tickets for the raffle, or if they’ll have to go to a licensed distributor.  They’ll also decide how much a raffling license might cost and if proceeds would be taxable.

Escareno, now the Director at the United Way, said she knows many non-profits who would benefit from the popular fundraiser.

“They need some way to raise money, and not have to worry about all those little things to think about,” Escareno said.

For more information on raffles, click here.

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