The city of Boston requires special licenses for organized events or events that are held in public spaces, including those in residential or academic facilities, which involve games of chance where money will be exchanged or offered as a prize. This is true even for charitable events. It is also true of tournaments, such as poker, casino nights, etc. It may or may not be possible to get a license to pursue a particular event that fits the above definitions. The Office of Student Affairs should be consulted about any event that may require a license application.
However, the following criteria define allowable events that do not require a license even though gaming may be part of the activity. Such events fall under the general guidelines for social hosting at the University:
- Tournaments or gaming events at which no real money changes hands or is wagered are allowable. Play money or other non-monetary tokens that are not redeemable for cash may be used. The event may have an admission charge that is collected through advance ticket sales or at the door.
- Winners may not receive cash prizes or any percentage (including all) of the admission charge. Non-cash prizes that are determined and announced as part of the event planning and advertising may be awarded to winners. Cash prizes include any merchant credit or gift certificate that may be redeemed for cash or any credit toward an online vendor or gambling Web site.
- Pursuant to the Commonwealth's laws regarding the distribution of alcohol, the provision of alcoholic beverages to those who have paid an admission fee, whether in advance or at the time of the event, regardless of age, constitutes a cash bar, and as such, is illegal.