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FAQs - Gaming


Charitable Gaming Lottery Licensing FAQs

1. How is the province authorized to administer licensing pursuant to the Criminal Code amendments in 1970?

The Criminal Code of Canada was amended in 1970 to permit certain types of lottery schemes provided that they are conducted and managed by a province (such as 6/49, Superstar Bingo, casinos), or, by a charitable or religious organization pursuant to a licence issued by an authority named by the Lieutenant Governor of a province. An Order in Council (1413/08) authorizes the province through the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming and municipal councils to issue licences for certain types of lottery events, such as bingos, raffles, break open tickets. The first Order-In-Council in 1970 allowed municipal councils to issue licenses for bingos with prizes of up to $3,500. This was increased in 1993 to the current level of $5,500.

2. What does the Order in Council cover?

Under section 207 of the Criminal Code, the following types of lottery schemes are legal:

  1. lottery schemes conducted and managed under licence by a charitable or religious organization;
  2. lottery schemes conducted and managed under licence by a board of a fair or exhibition that has been designated by the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming; and
  3. lottery schemes conducted and managed by the province in accordance with any law enacted by that province.

The order-in-council governs the rules relating to the issuance of these licenses.

3. What types of organizations qualify as charitable organizations?

To qualify as a "charitable organization", the organization must have a demonstrated charitable or religious mandate. The order-in-council defines "charitable object or purpose" as any object or purpose relating to:

i) the relief of poverty
ii) the advancement of education;
iii) the advancement of religion; or
iv) any other purpose beneficial to the community

4. Who determines whether a person is eligible for a licence to conduct and manage a lottery scheme?

The Registrar appointed under the Gaming Control Act, 1992 or someone who the Registrar authorizes may determine eligibility for licensure.

5. For how many events may a bingo licence be issued to a person?

A bingo license may be issued to a person for a single bingo event, or for a number of bingo events not exceeding 52 events in one year or such other limits, if any, set by the municipal council issuing the licence.

6. Can terms and conditions be imposed on a licence? If so, by who?

Yes. The Registrar may attach terms and conditions to any licence, and a municipal council may attach terms and conditions to a license issued by the municipal council.

7. Can the licensing authority require licensees to provide security for ensuring that payment of all proposed prizes is guaranteed?

Yes.

8. What happens if a prize is not claimed by a winner within a reasonable time?

The licensee must hold the unclaimed prize in trust for a period not less than twelve (12) months from the date the prize was to be awarded. At the end of the twelve-month period, if prizes are still unclaimed, the total amount of the prize held in trust, including interest, shall be included by the licensee in the net proceeds from the lottery event subject to the approval of the licensing authority.

9. When will the Registrar or municipal council suspend, cancel or refuse to issue a licence?

The Registrar or municipal council may suspend, cancel or refuse to issue a licence where:

  1. there has been a breach of any term or condition of the licence;
  2. there are reasonable grounds to believe that the licensee will not conduct and manage the lottery scheme in accordance with the law or with honesty and integrity;
  3. it is in the public interest to do so; or
  4. a licensee fails to submit the financial reports relating to the conduct of any lottery event which may be or may have been required as a term or condition of a licence.

The Registrar or a municipal council may also refuse to issue a licence where it is in the best interest of the community. In determining what is in the best interests of the community, the Registrar or municipal council may take into account such factors as the number of licences issued and the playing locations already in existence.

10. How old do I have to be to play at a licensed bingo event, or to purchase a break open ticket/raffle ticket sold by a licensed organization?

You must be 18 years of age.