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Illegal To Raffle Off Home

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM #LAW 743

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A ThinkGlink reader is thinking of raffling off his home. Ilyce and Sam explain how to research this alternative but warn the reader that it is most likely illegal.

Q: Is it legal to raffle off my home in Massachusetts? I want to sell tickets for a set price. A lawyer will be involved to hold money and make sure all outstanding claims against the home get paid.
(article continues below useful links)

A ticket will be drawn on a certain day and that person would be the winner of the home. Is this legal?

A: In some states, lotteries of your type are legal, but may be regulated. If you plan to have people who live in other states participate in your lottery, you may have to comply with the lottery rules in each of those states.

Some states may require you to submit your advertising materials and other information relating to your lottery for approval by the appropriate governmental agency.

Other states will specifically restrict any game of chance in which you have to pay to participate. Some of these games of chance are permitted for charitable purposes, but when it comes time to have a lottery, raffle or other game of chance in which a person has to pay to play, it may be prohibited or highly regulated.

For more information on your specific state, you should contact the gaming commission board in the state in which you are located.

You can also look up the laws of Massachusetts at From a quick reading of the legislation, it appears that a lottery of the type you are contemplating is considered gambling and probably illegal.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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