LOTTERIES ‑- GAMBLING ‑- LICENSE ‑- CHAPTER 141, LAWS OF 1972, EX. SESS. ‑- CHAPTER 218, LAWS OF 1973, EX. SESS
A bona fide charitable or non profit organization which has been conducting raffles over the past several months in accordance with chapter 280, Laws of 1971, Ex. Sess., as amended by chapter 141, Laws of 1972, Ex. Sess. (RCW 9.47.300, et seq.) and/or a county ordinance to the same effect may not continue to do so without obtaining a license from the state gambling commission after chapter 218, Laws of 1973, Ex. Sess., becomes effective on July 16, 1973.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
July 11, 1973
Honorable John C. Merkel
Kitsap County Courthouse
614 Division Street
Port Orchard, Washington 98366
Cite as: AGLO 1973 No. 74
This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our opinion on a question which we paraphrase as follows:
May a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization which has been conducting raffles over the past several months in accordance with chapter 280, Laws of 1971, Ex. Sess., as amended by chapter 141, Laws of 1972, Ex. Sess. (RCW 9.47.300, et seq.) and/or a county ordinance to the same effect continue to do so without obtaining a license from the state gambling commission after chapter 218, Laws of 1973, Ex. Sess., becomes effective on July 16, of this year?
We answer this question in the negative.
As you know, chapter 218, Laws of 1973, Ex. Sess. (Substitute House Bill No. 711), which goes into effect on July 16, 1973, is a comprehensive act authorizing and regulating certain lotteries and other gambling activities in accordance with Article II, § 24 of our state Constitution which, as amended in 1972, now provides that:
"The legislature shall never grant any divorce. Lotteries shall be prohibited except as specifically authorized upon the affirmative vote of sixty percent of the members of each house of the legislature or, notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, by referendum or initiative approved [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] by a sixty percent affirmative vote of the electors voting thereon."1/
Among the types of lotteries specifically authorized by this 1973 act are raffles, a term defined in § 2 (17) of the act as meaning,
". . . a game in which tickets bearing an individual number are sold for not more than one dollar each and in which a prize or prizes are awarded on the basis of a drawing from said tickets by the person or persons conducting the game, when said game is conducted by a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization, no person other than a bona fide member of said organization takes any part in the management or operation of said game, and no part of the proceeds thereof inure to the benefit of any person other than the organization conducting said game."
This definition, notably, is identical to that contained in RCW 9.47.310 (12), codifying § 2, chapter 280, Laws of 1971, Ex. Sess. as amended by § 1, chapter 141, Laws of 1972, Ex. Sess. That statute, however, is expressly repealed by § 29 (2) of chapter 218, supra. As of its effective date, therefore, the only legal basis for conducting a raffle in this state will be this new law, and in order to engage in this activity a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization will be required to have obtained a license from the state gambling commission in accordance with the provisions of § 7 thereof. See, § 3 (1), which provides as follows:
"The legislature hereby authorizes bona fide charitable or nonprofit organizations to conduct . . . raffles . . . when licensed and conducted or operated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto." (Emphasis supplied.)
[[Orig. Op. Page 3]]
In addition, it is to be noted that § 28 of this new, 1973 gambling act contains the following provision:
"This chapter, constituting exclusive legislative authority for the authorization of any gambling activity by any city, town, city-county or county, any ordinance, resolution or other legislative act by any city, town, city-county or county relating to gambling in existence on the effective date of this chapter shall be null and void and of no effect; any such city, town, city-county or county may thereafter enact such local law as consistent with the provisions of this chapter."
Nowhere within the four corners of this new gambling law do we find any indication of legislative intent to allow raffles to be conducted without a license issued thereunder2/ by reason of the fact that the particular raffle was already being conducted by a particular organization under the provisions of prior law and/or a previously enacted county or city ordinance, and therefore we must answer your question, as above paraphrased, in the negative.
We trust that the foregoing information will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours
PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General
*** FOOTNOTES ***
1/Washington Constitution, Article II, § 24 (Amendment 56).
2/We note, however, that although a license will be required in order to conduct raffles on and after the effective date of the subject 1973 act, no license fee will be required to be paid by any bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization conducting raffles not more than once each year if such organization does not receive in gross receipts therefrom an amount over five thousand dollars. See § 7 (3).