Small Games of Chance & Bingo
Recently, The Chester County Treasurer’s Office, has received numerous requests for Games of Chance from political organizations in the county. The initial review of the law was unclear and so the Department began to research the matter in depth, to get the best answer to this perplexing issue.
I have not only reviewed the law myself, but I have also had extensive communication with the office of ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) the Department in Harrisburg responsible for this issue statewide, and the Chester County DA’s office. The attorney for ATF who handles this issue was also contacted for input.
The outcome of this research is all parties conclude that this issue is in the hands of the Treasurer for each county.
Chester County will therefore be handling this issue in this manner: Going forward, Chester County will require an additional form to be completed when applying for a Small Game of Chance license. All organizations should reveal the nature of the request. This simply means that you will put on the record who benefits from the event. If you have obtained this permit before, we may ask what benefited in the past.
You can find the form here, or receive it in our office if you prefer. Please note that both forms must be signed and notarized by the person who is responsible for the event.
Patricia Maisano, Chester County Treasurer
An eligible organization is one of the following types of entities and must be in existence and fulfilling its purpose for one year in order to be eligible for a game of chance license:
- Fraternal or Veteran’s Organization
- Club, Civic and Service Association
- Affiliated non-profit organization of a major league sports team
Small Games of Chance Licenses
There are two types of Small Games of Chance licenses available to eligible organizations:
- Regular License: A regular license is an annual license, and the term runs for a calendar year from the date of issuance. The fee for an annual license is $125.
- Monthly License: A monthly license is valid for 30 consecutive days from the date of issuance. There is no restriction on the number of monthly licenses an eligible organization may obtain, but the license may not overlap. The fee for a monthly license is $25.
Special Raffle Permits: Special raffle permits are available to regular and monthly licenses. The special raffle permit authorizes a holder to conduct a raffle that exceeds the normal prize limits applicable to games of chance ($2,000). A licensed eligible organization may obtain up to 10 special raffle permits per year. Total prize awarded under all special raffle permits may not exceed $150,000. Volunteer fire, ambulance, rescue or conservation organizations may obtain up to 12 special raffle permits and award up to $250,000 in prizes. The fee is $25.
Please refer to Pennsylvania Department of Revenue REV-1750 for additional information on types of games and prize limits. Pull-tab games, punch boards and race night games for use in the Commonwealth may only be produced by manufacturers registered with the Department of Revenue. Please refer to the Small Games of Chance Distributors List.
There are four types of licenses available to eligible organizations:
- Regular Application $100
- Senior Citizens Group $50 (Games for their members only.)
- 3-Day Only $15 (Games no more than 3 consecutive days in one year.)
- Entertainment Only $0 (Games for entertainment only, all prizes are nominal.)
No more than twice in any one week, except an association shall be permitted to conduct the game of bingo for a period not to exceed ten days at the association's exposition, carnival, or fair site. Please refer to the Bingo Law – Rules for Licensing and Operation and Penalty for additional information.
Please note that if you are conducting Bingo and will be selling raffles and/or 50/50 chances a Small Games of Chance license is also required.
This information is not intended to be, nor should be construed, as legal advice.
- Eligible Organization Games of Chance Application*
- Special Raffle Application
- ngo Application
- Benefactor of Small Games of Chance
- What law governs the conduct of Bingo?
- Who can apply for and be granted a Bingo License?
- How long is a license valid?
- Can an eligible association permit its license to be used by another association to play bingo?
- Can anyone from the association bring the application and documentation to the Treasurer’s Office?