Mayor Adams signs bill to allow 50/50 raffles at Yanks, Mets games

May 25th, 2023

NEW YORK – The action on the field at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will soon be supplemented by games of chance in the grandstands. New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed legislation on Thursday to permit 50/50 raffles at professional and collegiate sporting venues.

Seated at a mayoral desk in Yankee Stadium’s Great Hall, Adams put ink upon “Intro. 891-A,” which will also allow venues like Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden to operate raffles with cash prizes, given certain charitable conditions are met.

“There are thousands of people sitting in the stands at stadiums, ballparks and sporting events who want to give back, and really don’t know how to,” Adams said. “We can find an easy way to do so. It’s just a win.”

Mayor Eric Adams signing Intro. 891-A at Yankee Stadium (Photo by Bryan Hoch)

50/50 raffles are common at sporting events throughout the United States and Canada, and even in other areas of New York State. However, an antiquated law prevented them from being conducted in New York City.

With legislation spearheaded by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. of the 17th District, who represents the South Bronx, raffles now may be conducted from two hours before the beginning of play until the end of play.

Yankees president Randy Levine said that 50/50 raffles at Yankee Stadium will begin after the All-Star break.

“This is something that has been in the works for a long time,” Levine said. “It’s done a lot of places, and it’s something that fans all over the country and in other places in this state have loved. There’s this arcane rule in the city charter that you couldn’t do it, so we’ve been on it for a long time. It’s going to raise a lot of money for charity. Fans are going to love it.”

The Yankees plan to identify charities that will benefit from the raffles, which other Major League clubs have typically seen raise tens of thousands of dollars for each home date.

Several representatives of community-based organizations were on hand to applaud Adams’ signing, including: the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Bronx Community Foundation, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, Food Bank for NYC, Hispanic Federation, Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, New Settlement and The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.

“Anyone can apply. It’s wide open,” Levine said. “The idea is to get as much participation as possible.”

Other dignitaries attending Thursday’s event included Marjorie Velázquez, Council Member of District 13 in the Bronx, Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson, and Tiffany Raspberry, the Mayor’s Office’s Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs.

“I remember my days as a police officer, we’d do what was called a 10-13 event when a cop was in trouble, if his family was going through something,” Adams said. “We would do 50/50 raffles and raise thousands of dollars to help with medical expenses or save a home. We’ve now taken this from the minor leagues to the big leagues.”