Q&A: Is a Lottery Gambling?

Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission Q & AQ: My high school debate club/team wants to hold a lottery or a raffle to pay some of the Debate Team expenses. Is a lottery gambling? Is it legal? —Debate Team President

A: A lottery is gambling and is NOT legal under Utah law. Gambling is essentially paying for a chance to win something.

Having a contest such as you describe to benefit a team or club can be legal IF, instead of a selling a chance to win, you sell a small candy bar or a used book (something of value) in exchange for the patron’s $1 or $5 ticket.

What is UPPAC? UPPAC is a committee of nine educators and two community members charged with maintaining and promoting a high standard of professional conduct and ethics among Utah teachers. It is advisory to the Utah State Board of Education in making recommendations regarding educator licensing and may take appropriate disciplinary action regarding educator misconduct.

For more information about UPPAC or to submit your questions to the UPPAC Q&A, contact William Spiegel at william.spiegel@schools.utah.gov or by phone at 801-538-7500.

Read the UPPAC newsletter, “Utah School Law Update,” for more Utah public education legal news and information.

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