Lawmakers: charity raffles soon legal for non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations say it's been a long time coming. South Carolina voters decided in November that organizations could hold charity raffles, and on Thursday, state law makers made it official.

"It's a glorious day. We've been waiting a long time to have this bill ratified," said Madeline McGee with the South Carolina Association of Non- Profits.

McGee has been pushing to make raffles legal since 2011. On Thursday, the General Assembly officially changed the law that was on the books. On April 4th, organizations like the Charleston Animal Society can start holding charity raffles.

"We are terribly hurting like most non-profits are for support and additional revenue streams," said Joe Elmore, CEO of the Charleston Animal Society. "It gives us another fundraising tool to do the good work that we do. Here in Charleston, we can save many more lives with this additional fundraising material."

Kate Lloyd with the Carolina Youth Development Center feels the same way. She hopes raffles benefit programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

"These are children who would have a greater failure as adults. The statistics show that many of them will end up in jail or out of work or homeless," said Lloyd.

Julian Wiles at the Dock Street Theater also hopes raffles will help his youth educational programs.

"This is a low cost way to do it so we don't have to have a big event and we don't have to go out and ask for all kinds of donors," said Wiles.

Non-profit leaders say this new legislation is a win, win all around.

"Everybody benefits from this. It's a really good thing," said Lloyd.

"It's good for the community, good for non-profits and good for our state," said Elmore.

Only qualified non-profit organizations are eligible to hold raffles.

For more information on how this legislation you can visit the South Carolina Association of Non-Profit's website at