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Don’t Gamble with Your Community’s Well-Being By: Nicholas J. Meinert, Esq.

The recent changes to Ohio’s sports gambling laws, which took effect on January 1, 2023, have prompted many board members to inquire about the possibility of community associations holding bingo game or raffles.  In short, the laws related to bingo and raffles remains the same. Only charitable corporations may conduct such gambling events. As we all know, a community associations’ purpose is to maintain the common elements and administer the governing documents, which is not considered charitable in nature.

There are some exceptions to this rule, under which community associations may hold bingo games under certain conditions.  However, it is important to remember that the association cannot use its funds to conduct the game unless its governing documents specifically authorize spending on social functions.  The legal bingo requirements for community associations are as follows:

  1. The participants do not pay any money or any other thing of value to participate;
  2. The prizes awarded are nonmonetary, with a total value less than $100.00;
  3. No donation or payment is made to the bingo game operator; and,
  4. The number of bingo players does not exceed fifty.

In summary, even with the recent changes to Ohio’s gambling laws, community associations remain unable to conduct raffles and can only host bingo games if they comply with the requirements listed above.