Governor Cuomo proposes to remove the red tape restricting nonprofit organizations fundraising efforts through raffles and other games of chance. The 2018 Executive Budget will update outdated bureaucratic laws that will increase the potential of charitable organizations searching for support. Organizations that depend on these revenue generating streams will benefit tremendously in the years to come. For example, The American Legion, a veteran organization currently raises money by selling pull-tabs, operating bingo games, and virtual racing tickets that are sold for virtual horses, cars, or dogs. Funds raised are donated toward a variety of programs such as: veteran programs, girl scouts, sponsored youth events and more.

Governor Cuomo’s deregulations are listed below:

  • “Allowing charitable organizations to sell raffle tickets and conduct games of chance through use of checks, credit and debit cards.” These easy transactions will allow more people to interact with the charitable organizations during their fundraising events
  • “Permitting charitable organizations to conduct games in additional locations (beyond their own, municipal-owned or other charitable organization properties) and make it easier for organizations to get approval for off-site games.” This will extend the popularity of charitable organizations and promote their fund raising activities at more convenient locations that benefit the event and the interaction of people.
  • “Reducing the number of years that a charitable organization must be in existence from three to one in order to conduct games of chance, in line with the current requirement for bingo operators.”
  • “Moving charitable gaming forms and applications online to minimize paperwork for charitable organizations and municipalities.”
  • “Lessening restrictions on charitable gaming advertising to include online and off-premise ads.” Promoting the events for important causes will help organizations fundraise more efficiently and effectively.
  • “Formally permitting charitable organizations to conduct gaming on Sundays and remove restricted hours for certain games.”
  • “Increasing the prize limitations for bell jar from $500 to $1,000 (maximum aggregate prizes from $3,000 to $6,000) and bingo from $1,000 to $5,000 (maximum aggregate prizes from $3,000 to $15,000).”
  • “Eliminating one of three categories of raffles, thereby simplifying compliance for charitable organizations.”
  • “Permitting alcoholic beverages to be included as prizes for charitable gaming.”
  • “Providing flexibility for fee-setting by transferring such provisions from statute to the Gaming Commission regulations.”

It’s an exciting time when the government makes the lives easier of those that serve the sector. Reducing the gaming paperwork and restrictions ultimately increases the good-intentioned efforts of those that shape our communities. This is a great step forward for charitable organizations looking to make a difference in the world each and every day. Cerini and Associates will continue to monitor The New York State Gaming Commission’s public hearings over the next few months. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, please contact:


Kenneth R. Cerini, CPA, CFP, FABFA

Kenneth R. Cerini, CPA, CFP, FABFA

Managing Partner

Ken is the Managing Partner of Cerini & Associates, LLP and is the executive responsible for the administration of our not-for-profit and educational provider practice groups. In addition to his extensive audit experience, Ken has been directly involved in providing consulting services for nonprofits and educational facilities of all sizes throughout New York State in such areas as cost reporting, financial analysis, Medicaid compliance, government audit representation, rate maximization, board training, budgeting and forecasting, and more.