Faculty Scholarship


Jon GaronFollow

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

January 2017


This article is part of a series of book excerpts from The Pop Culture Business Handbook for Cons and Festivals, which provides the business, strategy, and legal reference guide for fan conventions, film festivals, musical festivals, and cultural events.Games of chance are highly regulated activities, whereas bona fide competitions are generally left unregulated. Both are big businesses. Competitions, drafts, and other events help support the popularity of trading card games. Many nonprofit organizations take advantage of their charitable status to raise funds through various indirect strategies, including raffles, bingo, games of chance, and competitions. For the games of chance, it often comes as a surprise to nonprofit volunteers that these activities are highly regulated under state law and IRS rules. Many of the common practices used by charities are illegal, and it is only the high public regard for the charity that keeps the organization from facing fines or criminal penalties.This chapter provides a brief overview of the categories of games of skill, games of chance, raffles, and similar activities. It identifies strategies to keep the Con operating in a legal manner while enabling the Con to use those games lawfully in their state. More than any other area of law, however, the laws governing competition vary dramatically from state to state and even city to city. No overview can summarize the wide range of different laws and regulations. Con organizers should consult with local attorneys or licensed third-party gaming companies to be sure they are in compliance with local laws.

Publication Title

The Pop Culture Business Handbook for Cons and Festivals