What Is A 50/50 Raffle, How It Works & How To Do It Legally?

how to do a 50/50 raffle

The 50/50 raffle is one of the most common and used types of fundraising which is employed by different organizations, charities, or community groups, and it pertains to the generation of funds meant for a specific purpose. This raffle is the only one that has a simplicity and objective scheme, giving equal chances to win, as well as supporting an honorable goal. In this article, we will discuss 50/50 raffles in-depth, what it is, how it works, the pros and cons for organizations hosting, and some factors to consider when organizing one.

What is a 50/50 Raffle?

A 50/50 raffle is a form of fundraising event where people buy tickets to stand a chance of winning half of the money collected, with the other half going to the beneficiary cause for organization. It is easy to understand and clear concept and liked by both organizers and participants. Since a significant amount of people can participate in this type of game, it is often organized during various events, including sports games, charity meetings, or local gatherings, with the need for funds for some purposes.

How Does a 50/50 Raffle Work?

The raffle mechanics for a 50/50 raffle are quite straightforward. People buy tickets usually at a cost that is pre-determined and every ticket would represent an entry in the raffle. The more tickets a person purchases, it indicates that their chances of winning are increased. Finally, the total amount collected from ticket sales is split in half; the first half is kept as the prize to be awarded to the winner of the contest and the second half is set aside for the fundraising cause.

Usually, the drawing of the winning ticket is done transparently to foster trust and ensure no one is favored. This is usually done randomly, using some sort of random process, an example of which could be pulling the winning ticket from a hat, or by using a random number generator. The winner is declared, and the award proceeds are presented.

Benefits of a 50/50 Raffle:

Equal Opportunity: One of the primary advantages of a 50/50 raffle is that it provides an equal opportunity for all participants to win. Regardless of the amount spent on tickets, every participant has a 50% chance of winning the prize.

Simple and Quick: The process of setting up a 50/50 raffle is relatively easy when compared to other fundraising methods, which is precisely why it can be used both for big events and smaller-scale functions. The simplicity of the process also means that it can be easily implemented without many logistical hurdles.

Engagement and Community Building: 50/50 raffles often generate excitement and engagement within a community. Participants feel a sense of involvement and connection with the cause, fostering a positive community spirit.

Flexible Fundraising: This form of fundraising is flexible and can be utilized for many different functions. Whether it is cheering for the local sports team, investment in a charitable project, or helping a community person, 50/50 raffle can be customized based on the goal of organizing a fundraiser.

Are 50/50 Raffles Legal?

The legality of 50/50 raffles varies depending on the jurisdiction. In many places, these raffles are legal, provided certain conditions are met. Generally, these conditions involve obtaining the necessary permits, adhering to specific regulations, and ensuring that the proceeds go towards charitable or non-profit purposes.

Legal Considerations:

State Regulations: The legality of 50/50 raffles is primarily determined by state laws. Each state in the U.S. has its own set of regulations governing charitable gaming activities. Some states explicitly permit 50/50 raffles, subject to specific conditions, while others may prohibit them altogether.

Charitable Purpose: Many jurisdictions only allow 50/50 raffles for charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations. The key is to ensure that the proceeds from the raffle directly contribute to a legitimate and recognized charitable cause.

Licensing Requirements: Some states mandate that organizations obtain a license or permit before conducting any form of gambling or gaming-related fundraising, including 50/50 raffles. Failure to comply with licensing requirements may result in legal consequences.

Prize Limits: In certain jurisdictions, there may be limitations on the maximum prize amount that can be awarded in a 50/50 raffle. Organizers must be aware of and adhere to these restrictions to avoid legal complications.

Age Restrictions: To maintain compliance with gambling laws, there are often age restrictions for participants in 50/50 raffles. Some states may require participants to be at least 18 years old to purchase tickets.

Publicizing the Raffle: States may have specific rules regarding how organizers can publicize and market their 50/50 raffles. Compliance with these regulations is crucial to ensure the fairness and transparency of the fundraising activity.

Record-Keeping and Reporting: Organizers are typically required to maintain detailed records of the raffle, including financial transactions, ticket sales, and prize distribution. Some states may also require organizations to submit reports on the proceeds and how they were utilized for charitable purposes.

How to Run a 50/50 Raffle:

To ensure a smooth and legal 50/50 raffle, organizers must follow certain guidelines:

  • Obtain Necessary Permits: Check local laws and regulations regarding charitable gambling or raffles. Obtain the required permits and licenses to ensure compliance with legal requirements.
  • Clearly Define Purpose: Clearly communicate the purpose for which the funds will be used. This transparency helps build trust among participants and ensures accountability.
  • Set Ticket Prices: Determine the price for each ticket. Consider the target audience and the fundraising goals when setting ticket prices.
  • Promote the Raffle: Utilize various marketing channels to promote the 50/50 raffle. Social media, email newsletters, and event announcements can help maximize participation.
  • Transparent Drawing: Conduct the drawing in a transparent and fair manner. Consider using a random selection method, such as drawing from a container or utilizing electronic tools.
  • Distribute Winnings: Promptly distribute the winnings to the lucky ticket holder. This helps maintain trust and credibility among participants.

Use Cases of 50/50 Raffles:

Sports Events:

In fact, 50/50 raffles are very popular among teams, from local little leagues to professional organizations, that can have them at games to keep fans’ attention and get money for running their own team operations or to support a wide range of charities.

Charitable Organizations:

Charitable institutions and non-profits frequently implement 50/50 raffles as a part of fund-raising activities for the purpose of receiving extra donations from people and getting a chance to make the process of interacting with supporters more fun and active.

Community Events:

During fairs, festivals, and other community events, 50/50 raffles may also be held by local community groups, schools, and churches to raise funds for specific projects or programs.


While 50/50 raffles can be an exciting and effective way to raise funds for charitable causes, it’s essential to navigate the legal landscape, understand the mechanics of the raffle, and adhere to proper guidelines. With careful planning and adherence to regulations, organizations can successfully organize 50/50 raffles and contribute to their fundraising goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is a 50/50 raffle?

Ans: A 50/50 raffle is a fundraising method where participants purchase tickets, and half of the total proceeds from ticket sales go to the winner, while the other half is retained by the organizers for their cause.

Q2. How do I participate in a 50/50 raffle?

Ans: To participate, you need to purchase one or more raffle tickets from the organizers. The more tickets you buy, the higher your chances of winning.

Q3. What types of events typically use 50/50 raffles?

Ans: 50/50 raffles are commonly used at sports events, charitable fundraisers, community gatherings, and various other events where fundraising is needed.

Q4. How is the winner determined in a 50/50 raffle?

Ans: The winner is randomly selected from the pool of ticket entries. This can be done through a traditional drawing or by using a random number generator, depending on the organizers’ preference.

Q5. Is there a limit to the number of tickets I can buy?

Ans: The rules regarding the number of tickets one person can buy vary by event. Some may set a limit to ensure fairness, while others may allow participants to buy as many tickets as they wish.

Q6. What happens if I win a 50/50 raffle?

Ans: If you win, you receive half of the total proceeds collected from ticket sales. The organizers will provide you with the winnings, usually in the form of cash or a check.

Q7. Are 50/50 raffles legal?

Ans: The legality of 50/50 raffles depends on local laws and regulations. In many places, organizers may need permits or have specific guidelines to follow. It’s crucial to research and comply with legal requirements.

Q8. How are the funds raised in a 50/50 raffle typically used?

Ans: The funds raised through a 50/50 raffle are generally used to support the cause or organization hosting the event. This could include funding sports team expenses, contributing to charitable initiatives, or supporting community projects.

Q9. Can I get a refund for my raffle ticket if I don’t win?

Ans: Generally, raffle ticket purchases are considered donations, and refunds are not provided. The purpose of buying a ticket is to support the cause, with the chance of winning a prize being an additional incentive.

Q10. Can businesses or sponsors participate in 50/50 raffles?

Ans: The eligibility of businesses or sponsors to participate in 50/50 raffles depends on the rules set by the organizers. Some events may allow businesses to participate, while others may restrict participation to individual attendees. It’s advisable to check event-specific guidelines.