Fundraising “raffles” officially are not considered gambling in legislation assented to by Governor Helen Kilpatrick and gazetted, just in time for the holiday giving season.
Last-minute amendments to the Cayman Islands Gambling Law in October included the legalization of raffles – defined as the sale of numbered tickets, one or more of which is drawn as the means of awarding a prize.
Illegal forms of lottery games, including “numbers” games, are still against the law in Cayman.
According to amendments to the Gambling Law, recently made public, the law does not now apply to raffles staged by churches, service organizations and other volunteer associations to raise money for their programs.
The Cayman Islands Cabinet is authorized by the legislation to license raffles, including the manner in which the fundraisers must account for proceeds and any license fees. Regulations attached to the legislation have not been completed yet, so it is not certain how these raffles might be regulated.
The legislation puts to rest issues raised in a 2010 consultants report commissioned by the Cayman Islands government that revealed a number of different kinds of gambling – both the socially acceptable kind and otherwise – taking place in the islands.
The report by the GTECH Corp. found that Cayman residents “would be very receptive” to various lottery-type gaming, largely because similar betting games already happen here.
The GTECH evaluation reported a “notable and prominent presence of unregulated lottery games in the Cayman Islands.”
“Many things that happen openly today in the Cayman Islands (club raffles and fundraisers) are actually illegal under that existing statute [referring to the Gambling Law as it existed then], although there is no apparent enforcement effort on the part of the authorities, nor any recognition of the illegality on the part of the populace,” the GTECH Latin America report stated.
It noted that Caymanians who buy Florida lotto tickets and bring them back to the country are committing an offense under what the report called the “outdated” Gambling Law (1996 Revision).
“The population is very familiar with gaming, as there is a strong and visible presence of unregulated games on the Islands,” the report noted. “Although such forms of gaming are unregulated, this does not diminish or negate the fact that the populace is highly familiar with and readily participates in lottery-type games.”
The GTECH consultants said they met with a number of people who were both selling and wagering on unregulated games.
“Those wagering on games typically purchase their tickets from sellers they are familiar with and trust. The sellers sell the tickets either via telephone or at their house/store/bar, etc.”