Frequently Asked Questions

I. Recreational Gaming Activity (RGA):

What is a Recreational Gaming Activity (RGA)?

As defined by WAC 230-03-005, an RGA is:
  • A nongambling activity
  • Uses poker tables and gambling equipment authorized for use in Fund Raising Events (FRE's)
  • Conducted no more than two times per calendar year
  • By, or on behalf of, a sponsoring organization, business, or association, or department of an organization, business, or association
  • The organization, business, or association or department of the organization, business, or association that holds or sponsors the RGA must get a permit before the event or hire a licensed FRE equipment distributor to organize and conduct the activity
  • Only members and guests of the sponsoring organization, business, or association or departments thereof may participate
  • Permit holders must rent the gambling equipment from a licensed FRE equipment distributor or a licensee who has conducted a FRE within the last 12 months
  • Only scrip or chips may be used
  • The activity is limited to 8 hours
  • The permit holder may charge a fee to enter the premises if the fee pays for an accompanying meal and entertainment associated with the RGA or the fee pays for the costs of renting the equipment used in the RGA
  • All prizes must be donated to or provided by the permit holder
  • The permit holder may allow participants to redeem their scrip or chips for prizes

Do we need a State license/permit?

If a licensed FRE equipment distributor is organizing and conducting a recreational gaming activity (RGA), then they must be properly licensed and follow the record keeping requirements of WAC 230-03-010. If a sponsoring organization is running an RGA, they must apply for the proper state permit if pre-activity sales took place off Tribal land. If pre-sales are only done at the Tribal casino and the event was held at the Tribal casino, a permit would not be required.

Do we need a Tribal license?

Possibly. The Tribal Gaming Regulatory Agencies (TGA) are primary regulators for the Tribal Casinos. Each TGA has its own licensing requirements in addition to Washington State Gambling Commission requirements.

Can we use the Tribal casino employees as dealers for the event?

Tribal casino employees may be used as dealers; however, you must contact the TGA to discuss this with them.

Can a licensed FRE distributor hire Tribal casino employees for the event?

Yes; the licensed FRE equipment distributor could employ Tribal casino employees for the event.

Can we use the Tribal casino’s gambling equipment for our event at the Tribal casino?

Tribal casino equipment may be used; however, you must contact the TGA to discuss this with them.

II. Fund Raising Event (FRE):

What is a Fund Raising Event (FRE)?

As defined by RCW 9.46.0233, a fund raising event is:
  • Conducted once in any calendar year, at most for 72 consecutive hours and exceeding 24 consecutive hours
  • OR is conducted not more than twice each calendar year for not more than 24 consecutive hours
  • Conducted by a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization as defined in RCW 9.46.0209 and must be authorized by the WSGC
  • The following activities may be conducted during the event: bingo, amusement games, contests of chance, lotteries, and raffles
  • Gross receipts less the amount paid as winnings or as payment for services and for the cost of prizes given as winnings cannot exceed $10,000 for the calendar year
  • Only members of the organization, who are volunteers, can participate in the management or operation of the activities
  • All income shall be devoted to the lawful purposes of the organization
  • The organization must notify local law enforcement of the time and place of the activities
  • The WSGC will require documentation recording the expenses incurred and the revenue received from the activities

Do we need a State license/permit?

Yes, if a licensed non-profit and/or a licensed FRE equipment distributor is running the FRE; all licensing and records requirements of RCW 9.46.0233 and WAC chapter 230-09 must be followed.

Do we need a Tribal license?

Possibly. The TGAs are primary regulators for the Tribal Casinos. Each TGA has their licensing requirements in addition to Washington State Gambling Commission requirements.

Can Tribal Lottery System machine gambling be part of a fund raising event?

No, per RCW 9.46.0233(1) (b).

If you have an FRE at a Tribal casino/event center, does the money count toward your State limit?

Yes. Limits placed on fund raising events per RCW 9.46.0233 and WAC 230-09-010 apply no matter where the events are held.

Can we use the Tribal casino's gambling equipment?

Tribal casino equipment may be used; however, you must contact the TGA to discuss this with them.

Can we use the Tribal casino employees as dealers for the event?

No. Per RCW 9.46.0233 only bona fide members of the non-profit organization may act as dealers.

Can we conduct poker runs/walks during FRE's?

According to WAC 230-11-055(2), a poker run is an authorized alternate drawing format for a raffle. Raffles are an authorized gambling activity for an FRE.

Can a Tribal casino hold a charity poker tournament to benefit a nonprofit organization?

Yes. If the Tribe chooses to manage and operate a poker tournament, they can donate the proceeds to the nonprofit organization. The nonprofit organization would not be required to be licensed by us since the nonprofit would not be taking part in the management or operation of the poker tournament.

III. Limited Fund Raising Event:

What is a Limited Fund Raising Event?

As defined by RCW 9.46.0233, a limited FRE is:
  • When a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization hires a person or vendor, who is licensed by the WSGC, to organize and conduct a FRE on behalf of the organization
  • The person or vendor may not provide the facility for the event
  • The person or vendor may use paid personnel and may be compensated by a fixed fee determined prior to the event
  • All wagers must be made with scrip or chips having no cash value
  • Participants may be given the opportunity to purchase or otherwise redeem their scrip or chips for merchandise prizes only
  • The value of all purchased prizes may not exceed 10% of the gross revenue from the event
  • Only members and guests of the sponsoring organization may participate in the event
  • Gross receipts less the amount paid as winnings or as payment for services and for the cost of prizes given as winnings cannot exceed $10,000 for the calendar year
  • The following activities may be conducted during the event: bingo, amusement games, contests of chance, lotteries, and raffles

Do we need a State license/permit?

Yes, if a licensed non-profit and/or a licensed FRE equipment distributor is running the limited FRE, and all licensing and records requirements of RCW 9.46.0233 and WAC chapter 230-09 must be followed.

Do we need a Tribal license?

Possibly. The TGAs are primary regulators for the Tribal Casinos. Each TGA has their licensing requirements in addition to Washington State Gambling Commission requirements.

Can Tribal Lottery System machine gambling be part of a fund raising event?

No, per RCW 9.46.0233(1) (b).

Can a licensed FRE distributor hire Tribal casino employees for the event?

Yes. Per RCW 9.46.0233 employees of a licensed FRE equipment distributor may act as dealers. The licensed FRE equipment distributor could employ Tribal casino employees for the event.

Can we use the Tribal casino's gambling equipment for our event at the Tribal casino?

Tribal casino equipment may be used; however, you must contact the TGA to discuss this with them.

Can a Tribal casino have a charity poker tournament to benefit a nonprofit organization?

Yes. If the Tribe chooses to manage and operate a poker tournament, they can donate the proceeds to the nonprofit organization. The nonprofit organization would not be required to be licensed by us since the nonprofit would not be taking part in the management or operation of the poker tournament.

IV. Organizing/Conducting an RGA/Limited FRE:

Do we have to have a State license to organize and conduct events at a Tribal casino?

If you organize and/or conduct an RGA, you must have a license as a FRE equipment distributor-Profit. RGA's are not considered gambling because there is no consideration involved. Actual gambling equipment is used but participants play for script and prizes.

If you organize and/or conduct a limited Fund Raising Event, a FRE equipment distributor-Profit license is required. An FRE is considered gambling because consideration, chance, and prize are involved.

Do we need a Tribal license?

Possibly. The TGAs are primary regulators for the Tribal Casinos. Each TGA has their licensing requirements in addition to Washington State Gambling Commission requirements.

Can we use the Tribe's casino equipment for an event we organize?

Tribal casino equipment may be used; however, you must contact the TGA to discuss this with them.

As an event organizer, who should we contact to coordinate at a Tribal casino/event center?

First contact the Tribal Gaming Agency at the Casino to resolve any potential licensing requirements. The Tribal Gaming Agency can also direct you to the appropriate casino staff to coordinate the activity.



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Page last updated 01/09/2014 11:13 AM
Washington State Gambling Commission

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