What is “charitable gaming” and how is it regulated?
“Charitable gaming” refers to lottery schemes permitted by a licence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Typically these may include bingos, raffles, break open tickets, and bazaar gaming events held by charitable and religious organizations.
Charitable organizations are regulated by licensing policies and the terms and conditions of the licences issued by the province or municipalities under authority of an Order-in Council. The commercial sector of the charitable gaming industry is regulated by the Gaming Control Act, 1992 and accompanying Regulations.
What is a “lottery scheme”?
A “lottery scheme” may be defined as any scheme that has the following three components:
Therefore, if money is paid or other consideration is given for a chance to win the prize then it is considered to be a lottery scheme.
However, there are many types of lottery schemes for which licences are not available. Promotional contests that are carried out by companies to promote products and increase sales cannot be licensed to operate a lottery because they are not charitable. For that reason, a company must ensure that the contest does not fall within the definition of a lottery scheme.
Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions including the types of organizations eligible for a lottery license, what events are provincially licenced, what events are municipally licensed, and how the licencing process works.
Who can get a license to conduct a lottery event?
Canada’s Criminal Code permits charitable and religious organizations to conduct a lottery scheme to raise funds once a license is issued. Organizations must have a demonstrated charitable or religious mandate to qualify. Charitable refers to organizations which provide programs for:
To be considered eligible for a lottery license, each organization must:
The primary purposes of an organization are determined by considering:
What is considered ineligible use of proceeds?
Proceeds from lottery licenses may not be used for the following:
The above list is not intended to be exhaustive but to simply provide some examples of ineligible use of proceeds.
What lottery schemes do municipalities license?
A municipality may issue licenses to conduct the following lottery events:
How does my organization apply for a lottery license?
Determine what type of lottery scheme your organization intends to conduct, and: