Sep 4, 2018: As part of an ongoing review of lottery licensing, the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing (“Registrar”) is pleased to announce a number of changes to lottery licensing policies aimed at providing greater flexibility for charities and easing administrative burden.

1. Reduction of the minimum prize amount for online raffle ticket ordering

Online raffle ticket ordering is now permitted where the raffle prize amount is greater than $50,000. The threshold for online ordering has been lowered from $1 million.

The following policies continue to apply to online raffle ticket ordering (please note that different policies apply to online raffle ticket sales—please see Information Bulletin 89):

  • The internet may be used for:
    • submitting payment information;
    • acknowledging that the order has been received;
    • notifying winners, provided that this is not the only mechanism used for communicating winning ticket numbers.
  • Licensees cannot provide online ticket ordering as the sole channel for their lottery event. Online ordering must be one of a variety of order-taking channels, which may include regular mail, phone, fax and in-person orders.
  • The internet ordering system may not be used to process ticket order payments. While payment information may be collected, licensees must process payments in the same manner as for existing sales channels (e.g., batch orders processed every 24–48 hours).
  • Licensees will ensure that transactions are limited to Ontario and, where online ordering is used, they must use software to verify that the person placing the order is in Ontario.
  • Regardless of the ordering channel used, the licensee must verify that the transaction is taking place in Ontario, and must confirm the ticket purchaser’s and the ticket recipient’s physical address.
  • Verification that the purchaser is 18 years of age or older must be included on the raffle ticket order form for all sales channels.
  • Details of how licensees intend to use internet technologies must be communicated to the Registrar in their business plan, submitted as part of the licence application, including details of the safeguards used to ensure honesty, integrity, accountability and compliance with the principles set out in this Bulletin.
  • The licensee must report the results of the lottery to the Registrar. The report shall include the number of orders received via the internet, how many tickets were sold using online ordering, the percentage of sales that originated with internet orders, whether the use of the internet affected the number of tickets sold, the costs associated with using internet ordering, and the benefits realized through the use of internet ordering.

2. Increased flexibility on timing of certain raffle licence fee payments

Raffle licence fees are calculated as a percentage of the total prize amount and have generally been paid at time of application. This can present challenges for raffles where the prize amount is not fixed, such as 50/50 draws.

To address these challenges, the Registrar may, on a case-by-case basis, collect the licence fee during or after the ticket sales period.

Municipalities may also determine when to collect relevant licence fees.

3. No more winning bingo cards with financial reports

Winning bingo cards no longer need to be submitted to the Registrar as part of the financial report on completed bingo games. This will reduce the costs and time, including by eliminating the need to mail bingo cards to the AGCO.

Winning bingo cards should continue to be retained by licensees after the completion of the bingo game in case the AGCO audits the licensee.

4. Blanket raffle prize maximum raised to $50,000 and licensing period extended to one year

A blanket raffle licence allows eligible organizations to obtain a single lottery licence to conduct and manage more than one type of raffle event within a fixed time period, from one location.

Previously, events under a blanket raffle licence had to be run within a six-month period and the total prize amount from all the events was limited to $5,000.

The total prize limit for blanket raffle events is now $50,000 and the events can be run over a period of up to one year. These changes increase flexibility for licensees, allow the potential to generate more proceeds, and reduce reporting requirements.

5. Prize board limits for events under a Bazaar licence raised to $5,500 for bingo and $50,000 for raffles and penny auction raffles

The prize board limit for bingo and raffles at bazaars has been $500 for over 20 years. With the limits now raised to $5,500 for bingo and $50,000 for raffles and penny auction raffles, licensees have the opportunity to generate more proceeds through their charity gaming events.

This bulletin replaces Information Bulletin No. 61, which has been revoked. Please update any links you may have had to this document.

If you have any questions about this bulletin or about charitable gaming, please submit them online through iAGCO or telephone AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876 (toll free in Ontario).

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