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West Virginia Charitable Gaming

Permitted charitable games in West Virginia include bingo and raffles. The West Virginia Charitable Organizations Division (WVCOD), a part of the state Department of Revenue, is responsible for the registration and regulation of charitable organizations within the state.

A charitable organization is defined as a tax-exempt, nonprofit, benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, patriotic, civic, religious or fraternal organization, or a volunteer fire department, rescue unit or other such volunteer service organization, but does not include any nonprofit organizations organized mainly to influence legislation or support a public office candidate.

An organization is tax-exempt if it has 501(c) status with the IRS. To apply for a license, a charitable organization needs to have been in existence in the state for at least two years. Applications must be filed with the tax commissioner at least 60 days before the first bingo or raffle event.

A charitable organization that has been in existence in the state for at least one year may conduct raffles without a license if the prize awarded for a single raffle is not more than $4,000 in value and the organization does not earn more than $15,000 in gross proceeds from all raffles held in one year.

An annual bingo license permits an organization to hold at most two bingo events each week, with each event running for no more than six hours. There are no restrictions on the number of raffles an annual raffle licensee may hold.

A bingo licensee may not receive cash or a personal check of more than $100 during one bingo game.

An organization may apply for a limited occasion license for either bingo or a raffle. The bingo limited license is only valid for the time period specified in the application and for one bingo event every 24 hours for a period not to exceed two weeks; each bingo event may not run longer than 12 hours. A limited license for raffles is valid only for the time period specified and for two raffle events during the period requested, which may not exceed six months from the license date. Only three limited licenses may be issued to one organization each year for both bingo and raffles.

Prizes at one regular or limited license bingo event may not exceed $10,000 in total. Prizes may be money or merchandise other than beer, wine or alcoholic liquor.

An annual bingo license fee is $500, except for volunteer or nonprofit groups that gross less than $20,000 in one year, for which the fee is $200. An annual bingo license is $50 for senior groups. For raffles, an annual license fee is $500 and only one license is allowed for one organization annually. A limited license fee is $100 for bingo events and $50 for raffles.

West Virginia issues a super bingo license to a charitable organization that wishes to conduct one super bingo event each month where the prize limit is $50,000. The annual license fee for a super bingo license is $5,000.

The West Virginia state fair board may apply annually to the tax commissioner for a state fair bingo or raffle license to operate bingo or raffles at the state fair. The license allows for state fair board bingo or raffle operators with prior operation experience of two years for bingo and one year for raffles. The license fee for a state fair bingo or raffle license is $500.
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