Gambling for Fundraising

All games of chance organized for charitable purposes are subject to the state’s gambling laws. There is an exception to the general constitutional prohibition against lotteries (which includes raffles). In California, certain “eligible organizations,” as defined by the Penal Code, may conduct raffles to raise funds for beneficial or charitable purposes if certain conditions are met. “Eligible organizations,” such as private, nonprofit organizations, must be tax-exempt and have been qualified to do business in California for at least a year prior to the raffle.

According to the Attorney General, the three elements of a lottery are: (1) a prize, (2) distributed by chance, and (3) something of value given for a chance to win. To comply with the Penal Code, at least 90% of the gross receipts from the raffle must go directly to beneficial or charitable purposes in California. Any person that receives compensation must be an employee of the eligible organization and not receive proceeds that should be dedicated to the charitable purposes. See Penal Code section 320.5(d). Use of the internet for raffle sales is prohibited, however, the organization’s website may announce the raffle. No gaming machine, apparatus or device, may be used in conducting the raffle. No entity may have or hold a financial interest in the raffle other than the organization conducting the raffle or any eligible organization which receives funds from the raffle. The raffle or selling of tickets may not be located within an operating racetrack enclosure, satellite wagering facility or gambling establishment.

An organization may not conduct a raffle unless it completes the annual “Application for Registration” form and files an annual “Nonprofit Raffle Report” with the Department of Justice. See Penal Code section 320.5(h)(6). Certain organizations are exempt from the registration requirements.

General Release

A written document by which a one party is releasing another from liability in exchange for money and/or specific performance. A general release does not extend to claims which the aggrieved party does not know, or suspect, to exist at the time the general release is executed, which, if known, would materially affect that aggrieved party’s decision to settle its claims against the liable party. General releases may be mutual, namely each party to the release, releases the other or a partial or limited release where only party is releasing the other. General releases may extend to unknown claims with the proper waivers.

Genetic Information

Housing or employment discrimination based upon genetic information is prohibited. (Civ. Code §51; Govt. Code §§12940, 12955) Genetic information is defined in Government Code section 12926(g). When providing a copy of a declaration, governing document or deed to any person, a community association is required to provide the following information, in at least 14-point boldface type, on the cover page or stamp on governing documents (Govt. Code § 12956.1):

“If this document contains any restriction based on race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, disability, genetic information, national origin, source of income as defined in subdivision (p) of Section 12955, or ancestry, that restriction violates state and federal fair housing laws and is void, and may be removed pursuant to Section 12956.2 of the Government Code. Lawful restrictions under state and federal law on the age of occupants in senior housing or housing for older persons shall not be construed as restrictions based on familial status.”

Such discriminatory restrictions are deemed to be revised to omit such provisions (Civ. Code §782.5) and their actual removal pursuant to Government Code section 12956.2 may be accomplished by recording a Restrictive Covenant Modification.

Good Samaritan Law

The Good Samaritan Law traditionally protects those individuals who attempt to render aid in an emergency from liability associated with rescues gone awry. Most often, associations encounter this law when dealing with the decision of whether to purchase an automatic or semi-automatic defibrillator. Currently, the law is vague on whether associations which have an automatic or semi-automatic external defibrillator enjoy this protection. Contact your attorney to discuss this topic.

Good Standing

A term of no fixed meaning generally construed in associations to refer to compliance with governing documents. Thus an owner who is in default on payment of assessments, or in violation of the governing documents, may be said to be “not in good standing.” However, because the term is not defined by statute, a clear definition within the governing documents is advisable. A finding that an owner is “not in good standing” may require prior notice and a hearing.


Refers to a provision within an amended governing document allowing an existing use or status existing to survive the adoption of a prohibition or restriction on such use or status. For example, a rental restriction might “grandfather in” existing rentals, or a pet restriction might “grandfather in” existing pets whose number or weight would exceed the amended provision.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is the lack of any care or an extreme departure from what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation to prevent harm to oneself or to others. A person can be grossly negligent by acting or failing to act. California courts have recognized gross negligence as either a “want of even scant care” or “an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct.” (City of Santa Barbara v. Superior Court (2007) 41 Cal.4th 747, 754.)

Group Homes

The Community Care Facilities Act (Health & Saf. Code §§1500-1567.8) provides that a community care facility serving six or fewer persons is a both a residential and single-family use of property. Such residential facilities are family home or group care facilities providing 24-hour nonmedical care to persons in need of services essential to sustain daily living activities or protection of the person. Examples include, but are not limited to, group care homes for the elderly and the disabled. Similarly, alcohol or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities serving six or fewer persons are also considered a residential use of property. (Heath & Saf. Code §§11834.20–11834.25) Public policy favors establishment of group homes and community associations may not prohibit otherwise lawful group homes through restrictions.