Thursday, March 19, 2020

This message is to help municipalities that license charitable lottery schemes in Ontario understand their options in light of the societal impact of COVID-19. These are truly exceptional times that are affecting all aspects of our lives. We wish to offer as much guidance and support as we can to all those who rely on the AGCO’s services. 

The AGCO has received a number of inquiries from charities asking about pausing their raffle draws and events. We wanted to share with municipalities the response the AGCO is providing to charities, so that you may use similar language with your licensees if you choose. 

Terms and Conditions attached to current lottery licences 

Due to uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AGCO Registrar is providing as much flexibility as possible in the application of the Terms and Conditions attached to current lottery licences.   

For example: 

  1. For licences where the event has not yet started, licensees may choose to not begin sales until the pandemic concerns have passed.
  2. For current raffle licensees that have started ticket sales, each situation will need to be considered on its own merits. You will need to consider whether it is appropriate under the circumstances to extend the sale of tickets, even though it would have the effect of reducing the odds of winning for anyone who has already purchased a ticket. You will also need to consider whether it is appropriate under these exceptional circumstances to postpone the raffle draw date altogether. Both options are available to you.
  3. For Break Open Ticket licensees who have started ticket sales, you may consider extending the term of ticket sales.
  4. For bingo licensees who are unable to conduct their events, you may consider extending the term of your event.

In all cases, you should communicate changes to your participants. 

Although the Premier of Ontario announced a state of emergency for the province, he was also clear that this is not a lock-down of the province. Certain sectors regulated by the AGCO continue to operate and as long as they do, we will continue supporting them and conducting our regulatory activities to make sure they continue to operate with honesty, integrity and in the public interest.

We share everyone’s concerns about the toll the outbreak of this virus is taking on our communities and the charities, businesses, individuals and families that are affected by it. We appreciate the difficult times we are all facing and we’re here to support you as we all continue working through these challenges together.

Please feel free to reach out to us at If you have a question about charitable gaming licences, please contact

Thank you. We wish you all the best as you keep taking care of your staff, yourselves and your loved ones.

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