Church raffles legalized in Gambling Law change

Raffles held by community organizations and church groups have been legalized under changes to the Gambling Law.

Nonprofit organizations, like Rotary and Lions clubs, as well as sports teams, have technically been breaking the law by raising cash through raffles, the Legislative Assembly heard this week. There has been little or no enforcement, however.

Commerce Minister Wayne Panton, introducing amendments to the Gambling Law, said, “It has been recognized for a long time that these types of events and functions were raising funds for good legitimate purposes, but the Gambling Law technically applied.”

The amendment was introduced by the government as an add-on to changes to the same law, designed to allow cruise ships with on-board casinos to be registered in the Cayman Islands.

“We have taken on board the comment that while we are making this change to the Gambling Law, we should take the opportunity to effectively legalize the holding of raffles by church organizations, services and other voluntary organizations, who do this to raise funds for programs that they utilize for civic purposes or contribution to society.”

Legislators unanimously approved the changes, which Mr. Panton, said, “reflect the fact that these are not for profit agencies which apply the proceeds for charitable ends.”

Other forms of gambling, including the ever-popular “numbers game,” remain illegal.

The principal changes to the law were to exempt ships on international voyages, outside Cayman’s waters, from being subject to Cayman’s gambling ban. Mr. Panton said this switch was designed solely to allow the Shipping Registry to market its services to cruise ships.



  1. I believe Gov”t missed an opportunity here. We could have made money by selling lottery or numbers. I think we need to rethink that . Cause people are still going to play. Too many laws against fun things to do in Cayman.