What is a Raffle?

Raffles may take place during yearly picnics.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2015
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A raffle is a game of chance in which a large number of people participate. Raffles are often used during fund raising events for schools or charities, in which vendors get money by selling numbered tickets. These tickets offer the buyer a chance to win a certain prize or series of prizes after all tickets have been sold or on a specific date set beforehand. A raffle is also common during large events such as fairs and carnivals, and at company affairs, including yearly picnics or New Year parties. In this case, the participants are present during the raffle and the prizes are awarded immediately.

Tickets for a raffle are usually fairly inexpensive, as the goal is often to sell the most possible tickets. Even when high-priced items such as cars are available, the ticket price is generally not high. The form of raffle tickets most often used come in a roll, with each perforated ticket being detached and given to the buyer, and its mate with the same number being put into the "hat" to be drawn.


When more than one prize is available, there is usually no set system to decide who gets them. During the actual raffle, a ticket is drawn from a bucket and the holder receives a prize. That ticket is then taken out of the game, and a new one is drawn to receive prize number two. Sometimes the raffle requires the owner of the ticket to be present; even if the ticket was sold, the prize can be forfeited by the holder not attending the event.

The type of prizes offered in a raffle depends on the audience and magnitude of the event. Cars and travel packages are often offered in raffles, but so are electronic equipment such as big screen TVs and DVDs, gift certificates to local stores, and general home devices such as barbecue grills. Obtaining the prizes for a raffle is not as hard as you may think. Often the organizers themselves have objects that can be donated as prizes; in other occasions, local companies may donate at least some of the biggest items. The more interesting the prizes are, the more chances a raffle will be successful. Large events that include a raffle may need a license to operate and distribute prizes, although laws vary by country and state.


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