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Lottery Licencing

Lottery Licencing Charitable gaming refers to lottery schemes permitted by a licence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Typically these include bingos, raffles, break open tickets and Monte Carlo events.

Section 206 of the Criminal Code of Canada makes it an indictable offence to participate in a lottery scheme while Section 207 provides an exemption from the general prohibition against gambling, allowing provincial governments to conduct and manage gambling schemes. Section 207 also provides a further exemption from the general provisions against gambling allowing not-for-profit organizations (ie. charitable and religious organizations) to conduct and manage lottery schemes under authority of a licence issued by an appropriate authority.

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.

It is important to note that without the required licence, operation of an unlicensed event by an organization contravenes the provisions of the Criminal Code.

To be eligible for a lottery licence, an organization must be either:

(a) A charitable organization, which has objects and activities that are exclusively and entirely charitable.

(b) Non-profit organizations with both charitable and non-charitable objects provided the charitable objects fall within the following four classifications:

  1. The relief of poverty.
  2. The advancement of education.
  3. The advancement of religion.
  4. Other charitable purposes beneficial to the community.

Organizations must have been in existence for at least one (1) year before they are considered eligible for a lottery licence.

The following organizations are not charitable for lottery licensing:

  • Social clubs
  • Professional associations, union, employee groups
  • Elected representative groups including municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments
  • Government ministries, agents or bodies
  • Political lobby groups
  • Political parties
  • Adult hobby groups
  • Private sports club (ie. golf/tennis)
  • Adult sports teams
  • Individual youth sports teams

If one of these groups wishes to raise funds to donate to charities, it must become recognized as a charitable organization with an established charitable mandate, either through incorporation or by constitution and by-laws, and apply for lottery licences to be used for projects or donations that are consistent with its charitable mandate.

A municipality may issue licences to conduct the following lottery events:

  • Bingo events with prize boards $5,500 and under;
  • Media bingo events with prizes up to $5,500;
  • Break Open Ticket lotteries for local organizations;
  • Raffle lotteries for total prizes of $50,000 and under; and
  • Bazaar lotteries which include: wheels of fortune with a maximum bet of $2.00, raffles not exceeding $500, and bingo events up to $500

First time applicants should provide:

Lottery Licence forms can be found at the AGCO website here=>