Minnesota meat raffles: What you should know before you go

April 01, 2019 - 3:30 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- If you were to win a meat raffle at a Minnesota bar, what would you go home with?

It’s not clear why, but Minnesotans gamble for meat. Across the state at bars and VFW posts, there are frequent so-called meat raffles.

If your number is called, you win a box of meat, everything from chuck roasts to jerky to bacon wrapped fillet mignon.

Almost all meat raffles are done for charitable purposes, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. But what many organizations that sell raffle tickets don’t realize is that there are lots of state and federal laws on selling raffle tickets. 

First, a raffle is considered gambling under the law and is, therefore, illegal unless it’s for a charitable purpose and then only under certain conditions. 

Only organizations registered as 501(c)(3) nonprofits, are allowed to hold raffles, and even they have to get a permit to hold a raffle.

Raffles can almost never be done online because they would violate interstate laws, not to mention the fact it’s no fun unless you can pick up your box o’ meat.

Raffles for cash over $600 and for noncash prizes have to do federal tax withholding.

If ever you win a Minnesota meat raffle, ask for your withholding form and the expiration date.