Massachusetts Lottery Commission // Lotteries

Massachusetts Lottery Commission

Charitable_shutterstock_50728642The current regulatory framework currently divides oversight of charitable gaming between the office of the Attorney General, the lottery and local authorities. G.l. c. 10, §§ 37, 38 gives the lottery exclusive regulatory authority over beano games and charitable game tickets. Together, those forms of charitable gaming account for $54.5 million, or 72%, of the total amount wagered on charitable gaming in 2011. Qualified organizations desiring to host a beano game must obtain a license from lottery and the approval of the local mayor and city council or selectman or, in the case of Boston, the licensing board.

To carry out its regulatory responsibilities, the lottery has a staff devoted to charitable gambling that includes auditors and inspectors who visit and audit beano games and the sale of charitable gaming tickets. In addition, the lottery has a robust website containing helpful information about beano, charitable game tickets and other forms of charitable gaming.

By virtue of G.L. c. 10, § 39A, the Lottery also has regulatory authority over raffles and bazaars conducted by beano licensees. To carry out that authority, the Lottery has promulgated highly detailed regulations codified at 961 CMR 4.00 et seq. Those regulations cover all aspects of raffles and bazaars, including the mechanism for obtaining a raffle or bazaar license and the duties of each person who participates in the operation of a bazaar.

The Attorney General’s public charities division has general supervision over all public charities. See G.L. c. 12, § 8B et seq. See also G.L. c. 68, §19.

Day-to-day permitting and licensing of lotteries or bazaars is the responsibility of local authorities who operate in the following fashion. Under G.L. c. 271, §7A, any charitable organization desiring to conduct a raffle or a bazaar must submit an application to the clerk of the city or town where the event is to be conducted. The application must be on a form approved by the commissioner of public safety and, among other things, must show that the applicant is entitled to conduct the event. Upon receipt of the application, the clerk determines whether the application has been completed properly and whether it contains the information the statute requires, i.e., the name and address of the applicant, the evidence on which the applicant relies in order to show that it is qualified to obtain a raffle or bazaar license, the names of three officers or members of the organization who will be responsible for operation of the raffle or bazaar and the uses to which the net proceeds of the event will be applied. If the application contains the requisite information, the clerk forwards it to the city or town’s chief of police who is responsible for determining “whether the applicant is qualified to operate raffles and bazaars” under the statute. If the chief determines that the applicant is qualified, he or she returns the application to the clerk with an approving endorsement and the clerk issues the license. Licenses are valid for one year but may be renewed.

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