A non-profit corp. wants to hold a rather unique fundraiser
Persons will "buy" a square on a grid laided out in a small pasture for varying amounts of money (of their choosing). A cow will then be released into the pasture and the person who has the square onto which a cow-patty lands in the winner of 3 times their purchase price.
I believe this constitutes an illegal lottery.
Any thoughts or suggestions.
Before any of you make comments about Brownwood, I need to tell you this will be held in a rather up-scale suburb of Dallas and the stakes are extremely high.
Under Chapter 2002 of the Occupations Code a qualified non-profit organization may conduct a raffle, as long as the rules relating to raffles are followed: the money is used for the charitable purposes of the organization, no paid advertising, no paid ticket sellers, no more than two raffles in a calendar year, etc.
I think it meets the definition of a raffle contained in Chapter 2002.
Posts: 1029 | Location: Fort Worth, TX | Registered: June 25, 2001
Don't have the code in front of me but I thought Cash was not an acceptable raffle prize? I have always thought "Cow Patty Bingo" that offered cash as the prize was a problem, however, no cases have ever been presented to me for review and I try to avoid giving legal advice on scenarios that could be presented as a criminal case. That being said, I have brochures in my office published by the AG's office that explain the do's and don'ts that I give to those asking the Question.If you need a copy of the publication, let me know. Mike Hartman Scurry County Attorney 325-573-7440 Growing up in Santa Anna....Brownwood was always the "big city". So no negative comments from this end.
Occup. Code 2002.056(a) seems to prohibit money as the raffle prize. I have a dumb question too. Who determines whether "All proceeds from the sale of tickets for a raffle [were] spent for the charitable purposes of the organization" (which is required to make it legal)?
Also, if the patty falls into two or more squares (presumably some dumb cow might hit as many as four)who wins?
You can not give away cash as a prize in a lottery. A volunteer fire department in my county found out the hard way. Actually they knew they could not do it and did it anyway. I became quite familiar with the Charitable Raffles Act.
You mention that the scheme is "high-stakes". A consideration relevant to that observation is the limitation on prize value if the non-profit paid for or provided consideration for the prize: $50,000. Tex. Occ. Code sec. 2002.056(b). Additionally, folks often are tempted to make a grand production of such a high-stakes game. They may even advertise it. That, too, is no-no. Tex. Occ. Code sec. 2002.054(a)(1). In sum (and, no, I can't resist), it sounds like B---S--- to me.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001
In my prior life (before becoming an attorney...when things were much simpler) I was employed by a radio station that sponsored a cow chip bingo raffle in a small South Texas town during the town's annual fair. I spent a weekend broadcasting from the fairgrounds, giving commentary on the ongoing Bingo contest. It was a very popular contest. Everyone in town wanted in. We sold all of the squares. All during the fair, townfolk gathered around the pen and waited for the cow to pick a winner. This resulted in numerous side bets on "when" the winner would be chosen. This being a farming community, several of the players decided to nudge the odds in their favor. The cow was provided with numerous "non hay" foodstuffs in an attempt to speed her decision-making process. Snickers bars. Ice cream. Popcorn. Turkey legs. BBQ sandwiches. Funnel cakes. Corn dogs. At least one cigar. Deep fried Twinkies had not yet been invented. There was nothing specifically designed for a cow's (apparently) delicate gastrointestinal system. As a result, the cow became unable to render a decision. She stood forlornly in the middle of the pen and made funny noises. At least one member of the audience attempted to force a decision by administering a bovine laxative...using a farm implement that looks like a caulk gun. This resulted in protests from the people with the side bets. As it turned out, the laxative was the last thing the cow needed. After a long period if indecision, the cow finally proceeded to declare a winner and end the contest. Unfortunately, the cow was unable to produce a single unified game piece. Instead, she went for the equivalent of a Bingo "blackout" and selected a multitude of winners at one time. She then chose several dozen more winners. Then she selected a couple of dozen more. The judges were called upon to declare a winner. Eyewitnesses were interviewed. There were heated discussions involving ballistics and splatter forensics. It was eventually decided to split the pot among 5 or so winners who had squares within the intial blast zone. All in all, it was a mess.
Posts: 188 | Location: Lubbock, Texas USA | Registered: October 04, 2002
I just returned from a week long dog show in Topeka where they did a canine variation on Cow Chip Bingo. Hopefully it was legal there, as I came home a little richer....
Anyway - I think that, as long as the stakes aren't TOO high and the prize is not cash that your non-profit is probably OK. Of course, in that part of the state, you may have to watch out for PETA should anyone attempt to influence the bovine!
Excellent story Mr. Grace. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting John, knowing his dry humor and steady tone, I was in tears as well.
Incidentally, I don't know off the top of my head if a gift certificate is specifically authorized by the Occupations Code, but per the Supreme Court's ruling in the 8-liner case, Hardy v. State, a gift certificate is the equivalent of cash, as far as Chpater 47 of the Penal Code is concerned, so if there is no specific authorization of gift certificates in Chapter 2002, I would say this would also be a prohibited prize.
I was doing a bit of research on the issue again of gift certificates and /or credit cards as a prize for a charitable raffle and ran across a recent AG opinion that interprets the newly amended statute. The opinion seems to allow a savings bond or prepaid bank credit card to be awarded as a prize in the raffle because they are not "negotiable instruments". See GA-0341, July 2005. So once again, let the chips fly....and win a credit card. Wonder if you can go directly to the bank that issued the card and get the cash value assigned to it? Thought I would post this as there was some interest in this thread a while back and, as I understand, these type raffles are still popular throughout the state.
I was a member of a local chamber of commerce in a town of about 2,500 people. Each Fall, we'd have a festival named after the crop, which supports our community: almighty King cotton.
My first year on the chamber, I was assigned oversight duties of the cow patty bingo. I had to arrange for stock panels to be set up and get the grid spray-painted on the ground.
The cow which was loaned to the effort was rather uncooperative for several hours. Many bettors tried to influence her selection by coaxing her from the egde of the grid and behind the stock panels. One person actually had the gall to enter the enclosure & physically lead the cow to a point, where the bovine's posterior to looming over the most advantageous spot for that contestant. Many others complained, but the cow moved to another spot without having made any deposit.
As the festival drew to a close, the cow had not done anything. The tents & rides were being dismantled, as I sat just outside a stock panel watching & waiting. (I got to miss having tobreak down the tents & stuff, so I sort of lucked out!) Before the chamber members finished cleaning up, the cow finally "went" and produced a single winner. I think the prize was $250 for the contestant, $250 for the chamber.
Frankly, I'd find it hard to believe any prosecutor would be interested in proceeding against any charitable group who had a cow patty bingo contest & gave away money. Find a jury that would care! I mean, the whole idea is malodorous!
Posts: 124 | Location: West Texas | Registered: June 25, 2003
I agree that you might be hard-pressed to find a prosecutor who would file the case....but, that doesn't keep some old sorehead in the county from raising the issue and being technically correct under the statute. So, why not avoid the situation from the start if possible? Just say no to CASH!