INFORMATION BULLETIN No. 77
The Development of a Framework for Electronic Raffles in Ontario
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has recently begun work to develop a regulatory framework for Ontario that will allow eligible charitable or religious organizations to be licensed to conduct and manage electronic raffles, including electronic 50/50 draws. Once complete, organizations licensed under this new framework will be able to use computers in the sale of raffle tickets, selection of raffle winners, and distribution of raffle prizes within the parameters of that framework.
The development of a new regulatory framework for electronic raffles in Ontario builds on changes made by the Government of Canada to the Criminal Code of Canada in 2014. The new framework is expected to deliver on the original intentions of changes made to the Criminal Code while also reflecting Ontario’s unique and diverse charitable gaming sector. This includes developing a regulatory framework for electronic raffles that helps charities:
- Continue to ensure charitable raffles are conducted and managed in accordance with the principles of honesty, integrity and the broader public interest.
- Offer charitable raffles products that use modern technology to Ontarians;
- Increase fundraising revenue opportunities for eligible charitable objects and purposes; and
- Streamline the administration of charitable raffles;
As with other recent areas of work, the AGCO is committed to developing this framework through its modern regulatory approach, one that is risk and outcomes-based and compliance focused.
The AGCO’s regulatory framework for electronic raffles in Ontario will be developed through 2016-2017. The AGCO will be conducting extensive stakeholder consultations with charitable organizations, municipal and First Nations partners, electronic gaming manufacturers and suppliers and the responsible gambling community throughout the development process. Organizations interested in confirming their participation in consultations in advance are encouraged to contact the AGCO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electronic Mega Raffles in Ontario
As part of the development of a regulatory framework for electronic raffles in Ontario, the AGCO has begun working directly with Mega Raffle designated charities to begin transitioning them to electronic raffles.
Mega Raffle charities are charities licensed by the AGCO which have held raffles with prize boards over $1 million for several years. Since 2009, these charities have worked closely with the AGCO on an online ticket ordering pilot program through which they have demonstrated a preparedness to begin transitioning to electronic raffles.
Early adoption of electronic raffles by Mega Raffle charities will further inform the development of Ontario’s framework for electronic raffles by helping the AGCO to strengthen its understanding of the regulatory risks to be mitigated through a new regulatory framework.
Participating Mega Raffle charities are:
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation
- Heart and Stroke Foundation
- London Health Sciences Foundation
- Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
- Red Cross Foundation and
- SickKids Foundation
Electronic 50/50 Raffles in Ontario
As part of the development of a regulatory framework for electronic raffles in Ontario, the AGCO has also begun working directly with the charitable foundations who have participated in the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) Electronic Raffle 50/50 Pilot Program to transition them to a new electronic 50/50 lottery licence issued by the AGCO.
This change will allow the participating charitable foundations to conduct and manage electronic 50/50 raffles at their sporting venues on their own, beginning with their next sports seasons. This transition will leverage knowledge and experience developed through the OLG’s pilot program and will inform the development of the AGCO’s new framework for electronic raffles, including 50/50 draws, in Ontario. The OLG will be working closely with the AGCO and the participating charitable foundations throughout this transition period.
Participating venues and foundations are:
- Air Canada Centre by the Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Foundation
- Canadian Tire Centre by the Ottawa Senators Foundation and
- Rogers Centre by the Jays Care Foundation
Broader Implementation of a Framework for Electronic Raffles in Ontario
The AGCO anticipates a broader implementation of electronic raffles in Ontario in spring 2017, following its development of a regulatory framework for electronic raffles in Ontario. Once implemented, Ontario’s Electronic Raffle Regulatory Framework will expand the use of electronic raffles to additional charities outside the current work with Mega Raffle charities and select 50/50 charitable foundations.
In 2014, the Government of Canada amended the Criminal Code of Canada, adding subsection (4.1) to s. 207, allowing for the use of a computer for the sale of a ticket, selection of a winner, or the distribution of a prize in a licensed charity raffle, including a 50/50 draw.
Section 207 of the Criminal Code is an exemption section which specifies the types of gaming and betting that are lawful in Canada. Section 207(1)(b) makes lawful the conduct and management of a lottery scheme by a charitable or religious organization, if the organization is licensed by a province, or a delegate of the province, and if the proceeds of the lottery scheme are used for a charitable or religious object or purpose.
Until subsection (4.1) was added to s. 207 of the Criminal Code, subsection 207(4)(c) specifically allowed provinces and provincial crown agencies to run gaming using electronic devices but specifically excluded charitable organizations from conducting and managing such lottery schemes. Subsection (4.1) now expands the licensing authority of provinces, or their delegates, to create a regulatory framework to issue licences to charities or religious organizations for the purpose of conducting and managing a lottery scheme that uses electronic devices for the sale of a ticket, selection of a winner, or distribution of a prize.
For additional information, please contact Customer Service at 416 326-8700 (GTA) or 1 800 522-2876 (toll-free in Ontario); or visit our website at www.agco.on.ca.