Raffles & Bazaars

A Raffle is defined in MGL 271:7A as an arrangement for raising money by the sale of tickets, certain among which, as determined by chance after the sale, entitle the holder to prizes.

A Bazaar (Casino Night/Vegas Nights) is defined in MGL 271:7A as a place maintained by the sponsoring organization for disposal by means of chance one or both of the following types of prizes: (1) merchandise of any value; (2) cash awards, not to exceed $250 each.

Organizations holding Raffles/Bazaar permits are responsible for adhering to the regulations outlined as stated in Chapter 271, section 7A. There are additional regulations promulgated by the Attorney General in 940 CMR 12 for Raffles in which the value of prizes exceeds $10,000 or which the ticket prizes exceed $10. Bazaars (Casino Nights/Vegas Nights) are also governed by 940 CMR 13.

Qualifications of Organization (Non-Profit/501[c][3])

Type of Organizations:

  • Veterans' organization chartered by the Congress of the U.S. or included in clause 12 of section five of chapter forty of the General Laws
  • Church or religious organization
  • Fraternal or fraternal benefit society
  • Educational or charitable organization (including Public School Departments, parent-teacher organizations)
  • Civic or service club or organizations (Lions' Club)
  • Club or organization organized and operated exclusively for pleasure, recreation, or other nonprofit purposes, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member or shareholder.

Purposes of Proceeds

Must be used exclusively for the purposes stated in the application and are limited to the following: educational, charitable, religious, fraternal, civic, or veteran's benefits.

Operation of the Raffle or Bazaar

Promotion of the raffle or bazaar must be confined to the members of the sponsoring organization. No member shall be compensated for time or effort devoted to the promotion of the event.

Application Process & Procedures

  • The group sponsoring the event must be actively functioning as a non-profit organization registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office for the past two years. (The charity has to be based in Massachusetts.)
  • Applications shall be applied for at the town clerk's office in which the raffle will be drawn. Tickets can be sold in any town. Application must contain the name and address of the applicant, evidence of qualification of the organization, names of three officers or members, purposes of the proceeds, along with documentation of eligibility:
    • A current copy of the non-profit organization's Articles of Organization
    • Certificate of Solicitation from Attorney General (AG Number)
    • Certificate of Exemption (Form ST-2) from Massachusetts Department of Revenue
    • Letter of Authorization from the group (Charity) stating that "John/Jane Doe" is acting on behalf of the charity
  • The Application and the Notice of Issuance of Raffles and/or Bazaars must be completed in full.
  • A $10 filing fee is required in the form of cash, money order or check payable to the Town of Grafton.
  • Application must be submitted to the Town Clerk's Office no later than 30 days prior to the event.


  1. State Lottery Commission will issue appropriate tax forms (5% commission on gross proceeds payable within 10 days of each event).
  2. Application is sent to the Chief of Police for approval and signature.
  3. Application is returned to Town Clerk for issuance of the license.
  4. Permit must be issued or denied within 30 days of application. It is valid for one year (organization may conduct multiple raffles, and/or 3 bazaars).
  5. Permits may be revoked if non-members promote the raffle, uses of proceeds are not as stated in the application, payments are made for promotion of raffle, or facts on the application have changed without notice to the clerk.
  6. Organization must file Annual Report within 30 days of expiration of permit detailing number of events, amount raised, expenses, names of winners of prizes valued at more than $250, uses of the net proceeds; signed by the people on the application and an accountant. Raffle, Bazaar (Vegas Night/Casino Nights) permit renewals will not be granted until previous year's report is filed.
  7. Renewal of permit is conditional upon timely receipt of Annual Report.
  8. Organization must keep records sufficient to substantiate information required by Annual Report.


Potential penalties for non-profit and others (MGL 271:7A and 7):

  • Immediate revocation of the permit
  • Prohibition on activity for 3 years and
  • Civil and criminal penalties including up to $1,000 fine and one year imprisonment, or civil and criminal penalties including up to $3,000 fine and three years in state prison.

Note: A paid police detail is required for all Las Vegas Nights, Bazaars, and Poker/Texas Hold 'Em Events. Please contact the Police Department for further information.

Questions about these regulations can be directed to the Town Clerk's office at 508-839-5335, ext. 1300, or the Lottery Commission at 781-849-5555.

Applications are available at the Town Clerk's Office and the fee is $10.