Poker Tournaments

Poker tournaments are under the Attorney General's Advisory. Below is a checklist for a non-profit organization that is holding a poker tournament. To apply for a tournament, fill out the Raffle and Bazaar Application (PDF).

Step 1: Qualifying Organizations
  • A veterans’ organization, church or religious organization, fraternal or fraternal benefit society, educational or charitable organization, civic or service club, or other organization operated exclusively for non-profit purposes.
  • Actively functioning as a non-profit organization in the Commonwealth for at least the past 2 years.
  • If required, have registered with the Attorney General’s Division of Public Charities pursuant to G.L. c. 12, § 8E and c. 68, § 19, are up-to-date with annual filings, and are in possession of a valid Certificate for Solicitation. Haven’t conducted more than 3 bazaars in a single calendar year. Haven’t had a raffle/bazaar permit revoked for a G.L. c. 271, § 7A violation occurring within the past 3 years.
Step 2: Preparing for the Event
  • Select 3 persons, 2 of whom have been officers or members in good standing for at least the past 3 months and 1 of whom has been a member in good standing for at least the past 2 years, to be responsible for the operation of the event and the uses to which the net proceeds will be applied. Of the 3 members selected, designate 1 person who has been a member in good standing for at least the past 2 years to be the “member in charge,” with primary responsibility for the operation of the event.
  • Designate a separate person who is an officer of the organization to be the “officer responsible for gross receipts,” with primary responsibility for the accounting, use, and disposition of all funds received during the event.
  • Establish a system of bookkeeping to keep complete financial records.
  • Maintain a list of all members who assist in the event’s promotion and operation.
  • Establish and reduce to writing the house rules.
  • Determine in advance the prizes to be awarded (prizes should not increase or decrease based on the number of people playing, the amount of proceeds collected, or the outcome of the games being played.)
  • Limit individual cash prizes to $25. (Prizes for merchandise, including gift cards, may be any value.)
  • Obtain a permit from the clerk of the city or town in which the event will be held.
  • Arrange for a uniformed police officer to be present during the event.
  • Do not hold a bingo or beano event at the same time as the poker tournament. (A raffle may be held simultaneously, so long as the organization complies with all applicable legal obligations.)
Step 3: During the Event
  • Ensure that the member in charge and all assistants are present and display proper ID.
  • Prohibit anyone under 18 on that part of the premises where poker is played.
  • Ensure non-members do not participate in any aspect of the tournament’s promotion or operation.
  • Conspicuously post house rules at each table, including no tipping of dealers.
  • Ensure that participants and spectators are not registering bets of money or anything of value upon the result of any hand or game.
  • Ensure that the event does not last longer than 5 hours.
Step 4: After the Event
  • Within 10 days after the Bazaar, file a return with the Lottery Commission.
  • Within 30 days after the permit expires, file with the clerk 2 copies of the financial report certified by the 3 members responsible for the event and by an accountant.
  • Store all records so that they will be accessible and available for at least 1 year from the issuance of the financial report or for at least 3 years if an organization is required to file an annual report with the Division of Charities.
  • Use net proceeds exclusively for educational, charitable, religious, fraternal or civic purposes, or for veterans’ benefits.