|Casino Night, one of the Foundation's most popular annual events|
(Credit: Michael Connell/Texas Stars)
Jason Farris, board chair of the Dallas Stars Foundation, notes that the 50/50 raffle is "part of the culture of hockey in lots of other markets around North America."
A 50/50 raffle is a massively popular charitable raffle in many US states and Canadian provinces. In a 50/50 raffle, each participant buys a ticket and the total amount raised by sales is split down the middle between one of the raffle purchasers and a charitable foundation. You may have seen some of these drawings happen during intermissions on away games when you've watched on AHL Live. Several thousand dollars can be raised this way. For example, the 50/50 raffles in Utica this season so far have raised an average of $7,774 for charity and the same amount has been given away to one lucky winner each home game.
These raffles have been banned in the state of Texas because the state is the only entity currently allowed to operate a lottery. Proposition 4 nominally allows "professional sports teams" to operate these types of raffles in the state.
Unfortunately for Texas fans, even if the measure passes, the Texas Stars Foundation will not be able to operate 50/50 raffles. For the purposes of the bill, professional sports teams are limited to only major league teams.
"We began the [lobbying] process before we owned our minor league team," said Farris. "We're focused on the Dallas Stars Foundation. The crew in Cedar Park runs the entire operation down there. [The major league teams] collectively got together and decided it was something we would push for at the major league level."
He added, "It's not something we're pushing for right now. We've only concentrated on the NHL team."
The measure allows teams to get started as early as January 1st, 2016. Farris hopes the Dallas Stars will run some experiments with the raffles late in the season and make it "a mainstay of a long playoff run."
Of course, all of this is contingent on the measure passing.
"We really hope this goes through. It's hard to see what the downside is. We'll put a lot more money back into the community. We've really been trying to get back into the community more since the ownership change. It would allow us to amp that up a lot."