Free Drawings Policy

"Raffle or Lottery" vs. "Drawing"

In the state of California, raffles and lotteries are illegal if a person is required to purchase a ticket or make a donation in order to be eligible to win the contest. Use of the term "raffle" is acceptable when tickets are randomly distributed and there is no financial donation connected with the allocation of tickets. For events such as a Casino Night, the term "drawing" must be used instead of the term "raffle".


Prizes must be awarded through a drawing of tickets given to game winners. Prizes may be goods or services. Prizes consisting of alcoholic beverages are not permitted. Prizes may be donated to or purchased by the sponsoring organization. The name of the merchant or brand name of any prize may be mentioned in drawing publicity on campus. The drawing cannot be referred to as a raffle or chance as that would be considered gambling. All prizes must be awarded even if donations are insufficient to cover costs.


All advertising must indicate that no purchase or donation is required to participate and that the drawing is open to the campus community.

Prior to advertising for a free drawing, a member from the sponsoring organization must schedule an Event Planning Meeting with a representative of the Office of Student Life to discuss the procedures for handling such an activity. Organizations must scrupulously abide by these and the State's Regulations. Failure to comply will result in termination of the drawing, possible campus sanctions and/or criminal prosecution.


Tickets for the drawing must indicate the following:

  1. Date, time, and location of the drawing
  2. Name of sponsors and benefactors of the fundraiser
  3. Amount of the suggested donation, including the word "donation"
  4. "Donation or purchase of tickets not required to be eligible to win"
  5. Major prizes offered
  6. "Winner need not be present at drawing" (not required, but advised)

Free tickets, a minimum of one per person, must be available. Each solicitor must know that free tickets can be obtained. The word "drawing" or "free drawing" is required; do not use the word "raffle" on the ticket or in advertisements.