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Iowa Charitable Gaming

Charitable organizations are allowed to conduct amusement games, contests, casino nights, games of skill and chance, bingo, and raffles. The Social & Charitable Gambling Program within the Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals administers Iowa Code Chapter 99B, which regulates charitable gambling.

Eligible organizations that want to conduct charitable games are required to obtain a Charitable Gambling license. Qualified groups representing veterans may apply for a Veterans Organization Card Tournament license, which permits an organization to operate a series of card games held during a contiguous period of 24 hours or less.

A Social Gambling license authorizes small-stakes card and parlor games, such as cribbage, chess, dominoes and checkers, between individuals. If a liquor or beer establishment is also a Social Gambling licensee, then sports betting is allowed.

Organizations qualified to conduct charitable gaming consist of those exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code; parent-teacher organizations or booster clubs recognized as fundraisers for school districts; and city, county, state or federal agencies. Proceeds from raffles and games of skill and chance must be used to benefit educational, civic, public, charitable, patriotic or religious purposes.

Gambling receipts are subject to Iowa sales taxes, including receipts from nonprofit organizations.

A qualified organization must apply for a license to conduct the type of gaming activity it wishes to offer. Licenses range in price from $15 to $1,000 and range in duration from one day to two years.

In April 2007, a bill was passed allowing nonprofit organizations that host game nights to offer up to $10,000 in cash prizes, and it was signed into law in July 2008.

In May 2015, Gov. Terry Branstad signed File 482. The law is intended to update and simplify Iowa's social and charitable gaming regulations by removing out-of-date restrictions, reflecting new technology, modernizing reporting and bringing various state-enforced regulations for fundraising activities under one unified section.
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