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New raffle rules make for smoother permit process

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – With a little luck, raffles can win you a prize, but without a permit to run them they can cost you up to $500 in fines. 

State law allows counties and municipalities to regulate the licensing of raffles, said John Acardo, DeKalb County clerk and recorder. The raffle permit ordinance recently was updated for the first time in almost 13 years to allow the DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder to process and administer permits for raffles.

The county and city of DeKalb entered into an intergovernmental agreement that allows the county to issue raffle permits on the city’s behalf while also issuing its own. The changes took effect June 19 after DeKalb County Board approval.  

One of the changes to the permit ordinance was allowing application fees for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and charitable events to be waived, allowing charities and nonprofits to generate more income. 

“Our County Board wanted to be generous to our support groups,” Acardo said.

In the past, organizations would have to be at least five years old to apply for a permit, but now that requirement has been reduced to about two years. 

Revisions to the raffle permit were crafted using raffle permit policies in other counties and working with community leaders in the DeKalb County, he said.

The fees for raffle permits are not uniform. Acardo said the fees can vary depending on what type of raffle is involved or how large the prize is. For example, a permit for a 50/50 raffle may cost $25. 

This year, the county has issued 19 raffle permits. Acardo said 40 percent of those were issued in the county and 60 percent in DeKalb. Last year, the county issued about 10 permits and the city typically issues about 70 annually, he said. 

The Kishwaukee Valley Art League applied for a raffle permit that was approved in May by the DeKalb County Board. Jim Dester, vice president of the league, said his organization had no issue with the changes to raffle permits or the permit application process before the changes. 

“It was no problem,” Dester said. “We got the permits immediately.”

Because the art league is a nonprofit, it was able to obtain a free permit, he said. Applications for raffle permits can be downloaded at The application can be emailed or faxed.

“We try to make the process as easy as possible for organizations,” he said. 

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