The Ins and Outs of Legal Raffles in Canada
For the most part, under the Criminal Code, gambling is illegal in Canada. Exceptions to the rule are made, however, and each Canadian Province may permit and manage certain types of gambling, including raffles. Charitable and religious organizations, fairs and exhibitions and small scale commercial operators may be eligible to apply for a licence to run a legal raffle. The key to running a legal raffle in Canada lies in learning the guidelines and rules, which are unique to and specified by each province.
The Province of Nova Scotia may issue eligible organizations two different types of raffle permits. Depending on the total prize value, there is a separate permit for raffles under $500 and a licence for raffles over $500. Completed applications may take 3-5 days to process by mail, and approximately 20 minutes to process by walk-in at the Alcohol and Gaming Division office. Organizations should allow extra time for a permit or licence to be mailed back, and should include the lottery licence number on all of the raffle tickets that are printed.
Any organization eligible for a raffle licence in Nova Scotia must state on the application that all proceeds from the raffle will be used for a charitable purpose. There is no fee associated with a raffle permit if the total prize value is under $500. For organizations that obtain a raffle licence with a total prize value over $500, a fee of 2.13% of the total prize value is due within 30 days of the raffle date. Any records having to do with the conduct and management of the raffle should be kept for at least 3 years after the date of the raffle in case of an audit. Make sure to look up the specific Nova Scotia Ticket Lottery Regulations that apply to each permit and licence in order to keep the raffle legal.
Find out more about guidelines, permits and licences, or download an application for a raffle licence in Nova Scotia here.
What Must Be Included on Raffle Tickets
- The name and address of the organization licensed for the raffle
- The exact words: “Licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Authority”
- Assigned licence or permit number
- Price for each ticket or each group of tickets
- Description of the prize
- Location, date, and time of the draw
- Any additional rules or restrictions regarding the conduct or management of the raffle
Get Your Raffle Started!
Once you’ve received your licence, you can start printing raffle tickets. You need only remember to include a few specific, legally required details on each raffle ticket. In some cases, exemptions may be issued, but if you have not been exempt, add:
(a) the name and address of the licensee;
(b) the words “licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Authority*” together with the assigned licence or permit number;
(c) the price per ticket or group of tickets;
(d) a description of the prize;
(e) the exact location, date and time of the draw; and
(f) any house rules or restrictions respecting the conduct and management of the ticket lottery.