The attorney general is Ohio’s designated charity regulator, and, as such, regularly receives questions from charities and other organizations regarding the legitimate conduct of charitable gaming.
When conducted properly, charities in Ohio may raise funds through certain legally-authorized gaming activities, such as charitable bingo – which the Ohio Attorney General’s Office licenses and regulates. General information about these topics is provided below. Charities should also visit the Resources for Charities page to view answers to frequently answered questions about charitable fundraising.
While the Ohio Attorney General does not prepare opinions for private citizens, the attorney general provides formal written opinions to designated public officials on legal questions arising in the course of the public officials’ duties. Some of those opinions relate to different types of gaming and can be found under the Publications section at the bottom of this page.
Charities should consult Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 2915, local law enforcement, and private legal counsel to determine if your proposed gaming activity is authorized by law, since each organization’s situation may be different. Violation of ORC 2915.02 may result in criminal penalties, and criminal enforcement of Chapter 2915 lies not with the Ohio Attorney General, but with local law enforcement authorities.
Since bingo is a licensed activity that involves detailed requirements, organizations interested in conducting bingo in Ohio should visit the Charitable Bingo
page to learn more about those requirements.
Raffles are defined in ORC 2915.01(CC) and their conduct is described in ORC 2915.092. Only certain qualifying organizations may conduct raffles in Ohio: a charitable organization, a public school, a chartered nonpublic school, a community school, or a veteran's organization, fraternal organization, or sporting organization that is also a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(7), 501(c)(8), 501(c)(10), or 501(c)(19) tax-exempt organization.
Eligible organizations do not need a license to conduct a raffle. Nevertheless, raffles must be conducted in compliance with Chapter 2915. For example, under ORC 2915.10, all organizations conducting raffles must comply with certain recordkeeping requirements.
Games of Chance
defines “game of chance” as “poker, craps, roulette, or other game in which a player gives anything of value in the hope of gain, the outcome of which is determined largely by chance, but does not include bingo.” Games of chance do not require a license from the Ohio Attorney General. However, anyone interested in conducting games of chance is strongly encouraged to review the Ohio Attorney General’s Policy 201
for more information on games of chance.
Other Types of Gaming
Organizations often ask the Charitable Law Section whether they are able to hold other specific types of events, for example, a poker tournament, Monte Carlo night, or night at the races. Our advice is to consult ORC Chapter 2915
, private legal counsel and local law enforcement to determine if your proposed activity is allowed by law.