Fundraising- Specific Regulations

Selling, Raffles, Poker

Temporary Food Sales: Requires permission from the specific campus location and a food stand permit from Environmental Health, 333 East Campus Mall. For details, see the Fundraising Opportunities panel above.

Selling on UW Library Mall: Unless sponsored by an appropriate University department or office, sales are not permitted on the UW Library Mall (area around the fountain between Memorial Library and the State Historical Society Library). For questions regarding UW Library Mall, contact Campus Events Services, 608/262-2511. Refer also to University Facility Use Policies and Guidelines G3: Use of Library Mall.

Selling in the Wisconsin Union: The Wisconsin Union includes both Memorial Union and Union South. Registered student organizations may reserve space for occasional non-commercial sales within the Union. There is a small fee. Contact Campus Event Services, 608/262-2511 for more information.

Selling Inside University Buildings: No food is allowed in campus classrooms. To sell food in areas outside of the classroom, in lobbies or in other common areas of campus buildings, you must (1) obtain the Building Managers' permission. Click here for a list of building managers and their phone numbers. (To view the building manager information, click on the 'Facility Abstract' link next to the appropriate building.) (2) Obtain a food stand permit. Instructions are available in the Temporary Food Sales section above. (3) Be sure what you’re selling is allowable. Refer to the list of types of items allowable for sale above in this section.

Selling on State Street Mall: State Street Mall extends the entire length of State Street from the Capitol Square all the way down to Park Street and includes the raised, cement podium area and the area south of Memorial Library where the food carts are located. The State Street Mall is City of Madison property and the city is responsible for issuing vending permits. These permits are limited to and restricted to individuals selling handcrafted goods or personally prepared food items. For application materials and information, call or email Warren Hansen, City of Madison Street Vending Coordinator, at or call 608/261-9171.

Selling on City Sidewalks:
City sidewalks include sidewalks on Langdon Street and on University Avenue. To obtain sidewalk vending permits and information relating to sales in these areas, call or email Warren Hansen, City of Madison Street Vending Coordinator, at or call 608/261-9171.



  • The State of Wisconsin Statutes requires all raffles to be licensed through the Office of Charitable Gaming. Tax exempt organizations, having charitable work as a major purpose written into their by-laws, can qualify for a raffle license. The organization also must have been in existence for at least one year prior to application for the license. The other major requirement is that the organization's activities must be limited to the state of Wisconsin.
  • For a more detailed description of these requirements, refer to About DOA (click Gaming and then click Raffle, to find raffle information and documents). Here you will find an Original Raffle License Application, Legal Requirements for Raffles in Wisconsin and the Wisconsin State Statutes that refer to raffles. Download the Original Raffle License Application or request an application to be sent by mail, 608/270-2552.
  • The Office of Charitable Gaming asks for 4-6 weeks to process an Original Raffle License Application. Please note that you will need to provide copies of documents from your organization listed on the application along with a $25.00 processing fee. The mailing address is on the application. For further assistance, please call 608/270-2552 or 800/791-6973.

Poker Tournaments

Following is a reprint of an article written by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) of the Gaming Enforcement Bureau. Please read it over and if you have questions about poker tournaments, contact the Dane County District Attorney’s Office, located at 210 Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd., in Madison, telephone 608/266-4211.

Legality of Poker Tournaments

  • The recent popularity of poker tournaments, specifically Texas Hold ‘em Poker, has generated numerous inquiries to the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation regarding their legality. At this time, it is the position of DCI that Texas Hold ‘em Poker and poker tournaments constitute illegal gambling.
  • Poker tournaments in which the participants pay a fee to enter for the opportunity to win money or prizes are illegal under two different Wisconsin statutes. Wisconsin State Statute 945.01(1) provides the definition of a bet as “… a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement.” Wisconsin State Statute 945.01(5)(a) defines a lottery as “… an enterprise wherein for a consideration the participants are given an opportunity to win a prize, the award of which is determined by chance, even though accompanied by some skill.”
  • Several elements of poker tournaments and Texas Hold ‘em Poker cause them to fall under these definitions of illegal gambling activities. Poker tournaments in which the participants are required to pay money to enter (consideration) are clearly illegal lotteries and betting. Another type of consideration would be requiring a minimum drink or food purchase during the event. Even if no purchase is required to enter the tournament, other factors may be enough consideration to make the tournament illegal.
  • The penalties for violations of these gambling statutes range from misdemeanor gambling for making a bet or participating in a lottery to felony commercial gambling for operating a gambling place or conducting a lottery. Gambling is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to nine months. Commercial gambling is a Class E felony, punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment up to fifteen years.
  • A key element of the definitions of both a bet and a lottery is the term “chance, even though accompanied by some skill.” It is DCI’s position that chance predominates over skill in all poker games and poker tournaments. This is due to the fact that the game involves a deck of cards in which nobody can predict with any great degree of accuracy what card will appear next. There are states, such as California, where poker and other traditional gambling card games are specifically allowed. Wisconsin has not adopted any statutes or exceptions which would allow such gambling activity.
  • At this time, it is unclear whether poker tournaments that do not involve consideration (that is, participants do not have to pay to enter) are illegal. The legality of these tournaments will have to be determined on a case by case basis. Check with your District Attorney’s Office to make that determination. Otherwise, all poker tournaments and Texas Hold ‘em Poker games that require any sort of consideration to enter, are illegal and should be discontinued.”