Stadiums can now hold raffles

New York City to allow sports organizations to host charitable games of chance in their venues

Citi Field stadium.
Reading time 1:49 min

New York City's sports organizations are now authorized to use their venues to raise money for charity under a bill signed by Mayor Eric Adams. The new law authorizes sporting venues that include the likes of Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Madison Square Garden to hold raffles and other “games of chance.”

Such games will allow sporting organizations to collaborate with charities to increase their philanthropic work, reports The Center SquareUntil now, only charities could conduct specified “games of chance," or as the Administrative Code puts it, games "in which prizes are awarded on the basis of a designated winning number or numbers, color or colors, symbol or symbols,” such as raffle tickets.

“We have now taken it from the minor leagues of the small organizations to the big leagues of our professional sporting events in the city. This is a real win,” Mayor Eric Adams said, as per Pix 11. Other cities have permitted games of chance for years and have seen great windfalls for charity. Last season, for example, the Los Angeles Rams raised nearly $2 million for charity.

The new law will allow sports venues to host charitable raffles during professional or collegiate sporting competitions. Raffles can be conducted two hours before the beginning of the play until the end. The charitable 50-50 raffles can have winnings up to $300,000 a game. Fifty percent would go to the ticket holder, with the other half going to a non-profit charitable organization.

The bill's sponsor, New York Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr, said while the state allows 50-50 charitable raffles at sporting venues across the state, New York City, where many of the state's premier sporting venues are located, has been prevented from doing so by arcane city law. 

Salamanca in a statement said: "With the introduction of 50/50 fan raffles in New York City sporting venues, we have paved the way for sports teams to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities each season. I look forward to seeing the positive impact that this new initiative will bring to our city."

Maria-Torres Springer, New York City's Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development, noted that the money raised by charitable events will help non-profits with their missions "from delivering hot meals to our older adults to providing after-school programming to our children."

Yankees' president Randy Levine welcomed the approval of the changes and said charitable raffles would begin at Yankee Stadium after the All-Star break. “This is something that has been in the works for a long time. It's done in a lot of places, and it’s something that fans all over the country and in other places in this state have loved. It’s going to raise a lot of money for charity. Fans are going to love it," Levine said.

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