December 2, 2021

The Ontario Government is launching a new, free Social Gaming Licence for casual social gaming activities, like cribbage, bridge, or bingo. This new licence will provide community groups, seniors’ groups, social and service clubs with greater flexibility to run small-stakes social gaming events.

The new Social Gaming Licence was developed in response to requests from community groups, municipalities, and the general public for AGCO to permit small-stakes gaming on a range of social games. The licence is intended to enhance or provide social interaction opportunities for community members such as seniors.

This licence became available on the AGCO’s online portal, iAGCO, on December 2, 2021. Please note that these activities are subject to provincial public health restrictions under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. All licensees and participants must comply with proof of vaccination requirements, physical distancing measures and any other public health measures issued by the Ontario and/or or local government. For information on the provincial public health and workplace safety measures, we encourage you to visit the government’s COVID-19 website.

Who is this new Social Gaming Licence for?

This new Social Gaming Licence is intended for social and service clubs, community and seniors’ groups, organizations, individual applicants or charities that host casual social gaming events in public places.

All proceeds from these games are paid out in prizes, minus a nominal fee for the organizer to cover expenses to run the event. Charitable organizations may obtain a licence, but fundraising is not the purpose of the licence. The licence is not for conducting games as a revenue source for licensees. This licence is not intended for private homes.

Note: Social gaming events cannot take place in liquor licensed premises. However, service clubs and service organizations will be permitted to obtain a Social Gaming Licence even if they hold a liquor licence.

Financial Obligations Under the Social Gaming Licence

This new Social Gaming Licence is intended for casual social games where the wagers are awarded to the winners, less permitted expenses. No fees, entrance or admission may be charged. Under the new licence, bet limits on social games may not exceed $2 per person and total cash prizes awarded for all gaming activities must not exceed $500 per calendar day. These limits are prescribed by the Criminal Code of Canada.

Obtaining a Licence using iAGCO online services

The Social Gaming Licence will be issued by the AGCO commencing on December 2, 2021. Those interested may apply for the licence through the iAGCO online portal. As part of the straightforward application process, the licence will be issued immediately provided that the application is complete and meets all requirements. More information is available below on how to create an iAGCO account.

Applicants can re-apply every year, and at such time can update their name or contact information if needed.

Social Gaming Licence and Game Highlights

Licence Details:

  • There is no licence fee.
  • The licence is valid for a period of 12 months and can be used for multiple events over the course of a year.
  • Organizations are limited to one licence for social gaming at any time and may not hold multiple licences on any calendar day or at any location.  
  • The licensee is responsible and accountable for the overall conduct and management of the Social Gaming Event.  
  • The gaming under this licence cannot be advertised or marketed to target underage persons.

Game Details:

  • Bet limits on social games may not exceed $2 per person. 
  • Total cash prizes awarded for all gaming activities must not exceed $500 per calendar day.
  • The licence does not impose limits on the number or frequency of games, as long as no more than $500 per day is awarded in prizes, including all activity over the course of the day. The licensee named on the licence is responsible for managing this limit on prize money per day.
  • The Social Gaming Licence is intended for casual social games where the total wagers are awarded to the winner, less permitted expenses. The licensee is permitted to recover up to $50 per day to cover expenses for event costs only.
  • The licence can be used for a variety of games that are commonly played, such as cribbage, bridge, and other small stakes games. Casino games such as blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and baccarat are not permitted under this licence.
  • Rules of Play must be made readily available to all players. These could include commonly accepted rules for the game being played.
  • Games are not permitted to be played on or through an electronic device.
  • People under the age of 18 must not be allowed to participate.

Helpful Resources

Information about services to support problem gambling in Ontario are available at Connex Ontario or by phone at 1-866-531-2600.

For more information

  • Submit an inquiry online via the iAGCO portal (an iAGCO account is not required). 
  • Call AGCO Customer Service Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at 416-326-8700 or toll free 1-800-522-2876
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