The Dos and Don’ts of Legal Canadian Raffles
If an organization desires to hold a raffle in Canada, it is important for them to know the individual rules for the province where the raffle is expected to take place. General Canadian Raffle Law maintains that only religious or charitable organizations are eligible to hold raffles. Each province in Canada may also have particular rules on how to hold legal raffles and what is required to obtain a licence. It is unlawful to hold an unlicensed raffle in any of the provinces, so it is wise to learn the rules and apply for a licence well in advance.
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador classifies raffles into two different categories: games that are organized by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation on behalf of the Province, and games that are conducted by religious or charitable organizations. Promotional contests are not considered lottery games, and therefore do not require a licence. Each type of lottery game has separate rules as established by the province in addition to general rules that apply to all the games.
Applications for a raffle licence may take up to two weeks to process. Avoid delays in processing and make sure to include all the necessary information when applying. Be sure to include a sample ticket with the application if you plan to hold a ticket lottery. Eligible organizations that are approved for a licence will be notified on the back of the actual licence whether or not financial reporting is required. In some cases, before a licence can be approved, a group may be required to submit the signature of specific members.
Organizations that May be Eligible for a Raffle Licence
- Incorporated Not-for-profit groups like museums, music groups, health associations, or churches
- Service clubs who are Incorporated Not-for-profit or are affiliates with grand lodges or chapters
- Senior groups that are Incorporated Not-for-profit
- Volunteer fire departments that are registered with the Office of the Fire Commissioner
- K-12 schools and college and university groups
- Sports and recreation groups that have a valid Lotteries Amateur Sports Certification or a Lotteries Recreation Certification (groups of this nature wishing to raise funds through a raffle must apply to do so through their league, association, council or club, and unless otherwise noted, one of the signatures on the application must be an executive member of the club
Time to Print Your Raffle Tickets?
If you’ve got your licence and you’re ready to print your tickets, keep in mind the following legal guidelines regarding information that legally needs to appear on your tickets.
On the body of the ticket:
(a) the name of licensee;
(b) the draw location and dates;
(c) the description, number and retail value of the prizes, whether donated or purchased;
(d) the ticket number;
(e) the total number of tickets printed;
(f) the selling price of the ticket;
(g) the licence number; and
(h) the name of the printer,.
On the ticket stub:
(a) place for the name, address and telephone number of the purchaser;
(b) the ticket number; and
(c) the licence number.