Thursday, July 27, 2023

Following its recent engagement, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is moving ahead with a proposal supporting the expansion of 50/50 electronic raffle (e-raffle) ticket sales in Ontario. When implemented, this expansion will permit hospital foundation 50/50 e-raffle tickets to be sold in Ontario convenience stores by retail staff, using an electronic device.

The anticipated expanded framework will offer improved fundraising opportunities for Ontario’s charities, especially hospital foundations looking to raise critical funds for health care services. This framework will also create new retail opportunities for convenience stores. More information about AGCO’s implementation timeline is set out below.

AGCO recently completed an engagement on the proposed approach in May 2023. Over a period of three weeks, the AGCO received 18 submissions including: six hospital foundations, seven convenience stores (including the Ontario Convenience Store Association), one supplier, OLG, the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association, and the Commercial Gaming Association of Ontario (CGAO).

This blog post serves as an update on the next steps and confirms our intent to move to further implementation planning activities within the AGCO.

Implementation Timeline

The AGCO will announce the formal framework and final regulatory requirements such as licensing requirements, technical requirements, and specific terms and conditions in September 2023. Applications would be accepted after that announcement.

This target allows us to prepare internally to support this new framework, including a review of current e-raffle regulatory requirements and licensing and registration procedures.

It also recognizes that hospital foundations working with convenience stores and e-raffle solution providers will have business activities to complete. This may include planning for placing equipment into convenience stores, determining compensation for retailers (more information below), and launching marketing activities for the charitable e-raffle product.

Key Points of the Anticipated Regulatory Framework

We understand that convenience stores and hospital foundations are seeking clarification on the e-raffle framework as soon as possible. In the interim, the anticipated key elements of the e-raffle in retail framework that builds upon the existing e-raffle regulatory framework are set out below.  

The information provided here is for information only and will be confirmed by the AGCO in September 2023, as they may be subject to change as we work internally and with interested parties in the coming weeks.

We anticipate:

  1. Hospital foundations to obtain a 50/50 raffle licence from the AGCO and to conduct and manage the e-raffle within convenience store(s). A licence fee of 1% of the prize board would be paid to the AGCO after the event.
  2. Convenience stores to be registered with the AGCO as sellers.
  3. Hospital foundations to provide a list of seller locations, and confirm that each retail store is a convenience store.
  4. Licensed hospital foundations must use an AGCO approved e-raffle solution (i.e., electronic device).
  5. Hospital foundations may sell e-raffle tickets in convenience stores province-wide, in alignment with the online framework for electronic raffles.
  6. Sale of tickets for each hospital foundation must occur at convenience store(s) through an e-raffle Point of Sale (POS) system and ticket printer that are separate from the store’s POS.
  7. All requirements concerning responsible gambling, player protections, and informed play be met including that the estimated current prize amount be prominently displayed in the retail store.
  8. When using an electronic gaming solution in the conduct and management of any lottery scheme, including within this proposed framework, hospital foundations must ensure that:
    • Any potential e-raffle solution provider (i.e., gaming supplier) is approved by the AGCO;
    • The e-raffle solution or system, including all features within this proposed framework, is approved by the Registrar;
    • All related approvals and terms and conditions are met, including with regard to conflict of interest, responsible gambling, informed play, record keeping, data collection, protection of player information and integrity of the lottery.
  9. Hospital foundations would be permitted to offer online sales of this e-raffle 50/50 ticket on their own foundation website in conjunction with in-store sales at convenience stores.
  10. Due to the charitable nature of the opportunity, the AGCO’s approach for seller compensation in electronic raffles protects the charitable share of revenues as set out in the current terms and conditions for e-raffle sales.  Retailer compensation is determined by the charity. All charitable gaming expenses must be reasonable, must be directly related to the conduct and management of the event, to the goods and services provided, and must not be based on a percentage of sales. This is consistent with current AGCO policy for charitable raffles permitted in the Electronic Raffle Operational Terms and Conditions. (Note: These requirements are subject to change)

Need Help?

Charitable gaming-related inquiries can be sent directly to the AGCO’s Eligibility Officers at Contact AGCO Customer Service anytime via the iAGCO online portal or call 416-326-8700 (toll free: 1-800-522-2876) Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

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