A Belleville News-Democrat watchdog investigation
Raffles are an increasingly popular form of fund raising among organizations in small towns in Illinois. The games have jackpots of hundreds of thousands of dollars at times, and there is little oversight of them.
In some cases, the raffles themselves appear to violate parts of the state’s Raffles and Poker Runs Act. In other cases, the raffle ordinances in the cities don’t appear to be consistent with state law. And in yet other cases, the cities don’t appear to be enforcing their own raffle ordinances.
Gambling critics and experts say if the laws are not followed and enforced, it can lead to big problems: The prize money could be seized by the government, losing players could demand refunds, the insurance policies of the organizations might not cover accidents, and large crowds can threaten the safety of communities.