If you’ve been to a charitable event, a school fete, village party or fundraising event of some kind, you will most likely have taken part in a popular, fairly cheap gambling activity known as a “raffle”.
What is a raffle?
Raffles are competitions of luck and chance. You can buy as many tickets as you like, and whilst there’s always the probability that you’ll win a prize, there is never a 100% guarantee- sometimes, this can lead to participants buying large amounts of tickets in a desperate attempt to come away with at least one prize!
Prizes in a raffle can vary, and there can be anything from three prizes up to bigger numbers such as 50, or even 100, depending on the size of the event the raffle is being hosted at. Whilst most prizes will be your average box of chocolates, cuddly toy, cheap perfume or a soap set, most raffles make sure to throw in some bogus prizes, such as a pair of socks, and some larger, more desirable prizes to attract people to participate in the gamble, such as a bottle of expensive champagne, a day trip to a spa or even a holiday! Again, the range of prizes can be very extensive and all depends on the size and style of the event.
How do you win?
So how do you win anything in a raffle? It is fairly simple in method but the end result is totally out of your control. Prizes are labelled up at random and tickets with matching numbers are thrown into a container, along with numbers not attached to a prize, for participants to pull out. If you pull out a ticket that matches the number on one of the prizes, you’re a winner! If not…well, you’ve given money to a good cause, so that’s your good deed of the year done! As the game is down to pure luck, many raffles will sell tickets in bulk for discounted prices e.g. 10 tickets for £1.00 or 20 tickets for £1.50. This encourages participants to purchase more tickets in order to have a better chance at winning a prize- nobody likes to go home empty handed!
Raffles aren’t just a fun gambling game for the English- they occur all over the world, with each country often putting their own edge on the game. In Italy, raffles are called ‘Tombolas’. Tombola’s happen around Christmas time as part of the festive celebrations, and all the prizes to be won have a religious value relating to the beliefs of the Italians. Tombola’s have made their way over to England, but the name has been replaced with well known gambling games of today, such as raffle and bingo. Additionally, raffle’s are also popular in Australia, but rather than having a variety of prizes, they opt for ‘meat raffles’, where participants can win a variety of meats and sea foods.
Alternative to the traditional raffle that most of us will know and love, there are other styles of raffle, including a Private Raffle. Legalities are very firm on raffles, particularly on private raffles, and these may only occur when there is permission for one to be held. Private raffle’s are used to sell on expensive items such as a large amount of land, a boat, a private jet or a fancy property.
Be them private raffles, meat raffles or raffles in order to raise money for a good cause, they’re all about having fun, taking a gamble and seeing if luck is on your side! No one has control over the results…it is, quite literally, luck of the draw!