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How Did Laws Increase Poker Runs in Illinois?




The gambling legislations in Illinois are tightly regulated with criminal codes forbidding all of the gambling types outside of the ones that the state allows. Video gaming in conjunction with the Video Gaming Act is permitted along with riverboat gambling ensuring that the provisions of the Riverboat Gambling Act are kept. The state-run lottery is also allowed under the provisions of the Lottery Law of Illinois.

We have seen the popularity of poker in Illinois rising which means more and more state rules are being implemented. Similar rules apply to raffles and poker runs, but only if they are conducted in accordance with the Raffles and Poker Run Act. Regardless of whether you’re conducting a raffle or poker run for a charitable cause, you must comply with the rules. If you do not, you’re breaking the law. It is likely that you would want to avoid any problems with the law as would the majority of other people in society. Here is everything you need to know about raffles and the Poker Run Act in Illinois.

What Is A Poker Run

What Is A Poker Run?

Poker runs are usually events that include people on bicycles, motorcycles, or other vehicles traveling to five or more different locations, a route that has been created and set up by the poker run’s sponsors. At each stop on the run, the participants are required to draw a playing card from the deck. These stops tend to be bars or restaurants. The winner of the poker run is the person at the end who has the best poker hand with the cards they have received at the stops along the way.

Poker Runs have been very popular throughout Illinois, especially in the motorcycle community, with many clubs taking place. These clubs will organize the run in an attempt to raise money for local charities. There have been reports over the years of liquor agents warning many bar owners that these runs were not legal, giving them warning that they should not participate in this kind of event. In response, motorcycle clubs lobbied the Illinois legislature to amend the Illinois Charitable Games Act so that it would allow Poker Runs as well as lotteries for charities.

You Need a License for Your Raffle

No matter the type of raffle, if it is in Illinois it must be licensed. If you do not have a license then your raffle will be automatically illegal. Speaking generally, the only groups that are eligible to make a raffle or a poker run are:

  • Non-profit Charities
  • Religious Groups
  • Fraternal Groups
  • Veterans
  • Business Groups
  • Educational Groups
  • Labor Groups.

According to state law, local governments are able to enact ordinances controlling the operation of raffles and issue licenses for them. While the Raffles and Poker Run Act requires all participants to adhere to specific procedures and rules, additional practices may differ depending on your location.

You Need a License for Your Raffle

The Raffle and the License Application Process

It is essential that you meet particular basic requirements when you begin the application process for your raffle license. One of the main ones is the total net proceeds obtained from the raffle taking place must go towards a lawful purpose of the nonprofit entity that is receiving the license. The second requirement is obtaining a sworn statement that has been signed by the presiding officer and secretary of the applicant who is vouching that the group is of a nonprofit nature.

The Caveats That Come with an Illinois Raffle

There are a few businesses and companies that allow a third party to conduct raffles and poker runs using their premises. If you are one of these businesses it is important to discover if the group who is completing the raffle is clearly a generous nonprofit. Making this check is a great way to protect your business and ensure that the raffle has a proper license.

In the same breath, it is vital that you ensure that any raffle that is taking place is in complete accordance with all of the requirements set by either The State or local authorities. Even if it doesn’t feel that any rules will be enforced towards the raffle, you should always adhere to them. If you get caught hosting a raffle without the proper licenses and obeying the proper laws a serious penalty can be made.

In particular, if your establishment is licensed to operate slot machines by the Illinois Gaming Board, you do not want to get caught in non-compliance. If this happens you are at risk of losing your Illinois Gaming License.

Tessa is a Senior Writer at Patty360. She has previously worked as a freelance journalist for various news sites in the UK.

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