Is it Against the Law to Raffle Off a Car?

December 28, 2022 - 11:48 pm - 4 min read

Car Raffles: An Overview

Car raffles have been around for decades, and they continue to attract many people who dream of winning a brand-new car. A car raffle is a popular fundraising method for non-profit organizations, sports teams, schools, and other groups. It involves selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a car or other big-ticket item.

Raffling off a car may sound like a great idea, but is it legal? Many people assume that running a car raffle is against the law, but the truth is more complex than that. In this article, we will explore whether it is against the law to raffle off a car and what you need to know if you want to run a legitimate car raffle.

The Legality of Car Raffles

The legality of car raffles varies depending on the state or jurisdiction in which you live. In general, car raffles are legal in most states and countries as long as you comply with the local laws and regulations. However, there are some states and countries where car raffles are illegal, so it is crucial to do your research before running a car raffle.

In the United States, for example, only six states explicitly prohibit car raffles: Alabama, Hawaii, Kansas, Utah, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In these states, it is against the law to raffle off a car, regardless of whether it is for a charitable purpose or not. In other states, car raffles are allowed, but there are specific rules that you need to follow.

The Rules of Car Raffles

If you want to run a car raffle, you need to follow specific rules that vary by state and jurisdiction. Here are some of the common rules that you need to know:

1. License: In many states, you need to obtain a license to conduct a car raffle. The license is usually issued by the state’s gaming or gambling authority, and it requires you to file an application, pay a fee, and meet specific requirements.

2. Non-Profit Status: In most states, car raffles are only legal if they are conducted by non-profit organizations. If you are a for-profit business or individual, you cannot run a car raffle.

3. Charitable Purpose: Car raffles are typically held for a charitable purpose, such as raising funds for a specific cause or organization. You need to ensure that the proceeds from the raffle go to the designated charitable cause.

4. Tax Reporting: If you run a car raffle, you may be required to report the proceeds as income and pay taxes on the winnings. It would help if you consulted with a tax professional to understand your obligations.

5. Ticket Price: Some states have specific rules on the price of raffle tickets. For example, in California, the maximum price for a raffle ticket is $100.

Tips for Running a Car Raffle

If you want to run a car raffle, here are some tips to ensure that you do it legally and effectively:

1. Research the Laws: Make sure that you understand the laws and regulations in your state or jurisdiction before conducting a car raffle. It would be best to consult with an attorney or a gaming consultant who can guide you through the process.

2. Choose a Charitable Cause: Select a charitable cause that resonates with your target audience and the community. Be transparent about how the proceeds will be used and provide updates on the impact of the raffle.

3. Market the Raffle: Promote the car raffle through various channels, such as social media, email, and flyers. Utilize visuals of the car and highlight the charitable cause to attract as many ticket buyers as possible.

4. Choose the Right Car: Select a car that will appeal to your target audience and fits the budget of the raffle. A high-end sports car may attract more attention but may not sell as many tickets as a practical family car.

5. Follow the Rules: Ensure that you comply with all the rules and regulations set by your state or jurisdiction. Failure to do so can result in legal repercussions and damage to your reputation.


Car raffles are a popular fundraising method that can raise significant funds for a charitable cause. However, running a car raffle is not without its challenges, particularly with the varying laws and regulations in different states and jurisdictions. If you want to run a car raffle, make sure that you research the laws, follow the rules, and promote it effectively. With the right approach, a car raffle can be a win-win situation for everyone involved.


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