This page is intended to help those applying to run a paper-based or electronic Catch the Ace progressive raffle. Applicants interested in applying to run an electronic Catch the Ace raffle should also refer to the Electronic Raffles page.

A Catch the Ace progressive raffle lottery is a multiple-draw game in which participants purchase tickets for a chance to win:

  1. a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of tickets from one draw
  2. the draw winner also gets a chance to win a progressive (cumulative) jackpot by selecting a card from a standard deck of 52 playing cards.

The person who holds the winning ticket selected in each draw has an opportunity to select one playing card from the single deck of 52 playing cards. If the Ace of Spades is selected, in addition to winning a percentage of the proceeds from the draw, the person will win the progressive jackpot.

If the card selected is not the Ace of Spades, the selected card is removed from the deck and the progressive prize portion of the ticket sales for that draw is rolled over into the progressive jackpot for the next scheduled draw.

The licensee conducts the scheduled events until the Ace of Spades has been selected and the progressive jackpot has been awarded.

Tickets are valid only for the draw for which they are purchased. Once the draw is complete, the non-winning tickets are removed from the draw and a new series of tickets will be sold for the next draw.

Determining Eligibility for a Catch the Ace Progressive Raffle Licence

The eligibility of your organization will be determined by the issuing licensing office. Charitable registration with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or incorporation as a non-profit organization does NOT guarantee eligibility for licences.

Your organization may be eligible if it is:

  • non-profit
  • located in Ontario
  • has carried out activities consistent with its charitable purpose for at least one year

AND

Your organization has a purpose to provide charitable services to Ontario residents to:

  • relieve poverty
  • advance education
  • advance religion; and/or
  • benefit the community.

Organizations that only promote the private interests of their members DO NOT qualify for a lottery licence. This may include, but is NOT limited to:

  • adult recreation or sports groups
  • individual sport teams
  • unions or employee groups
  • social clubs
  • professional associations
  • political, government, lobbying or advocacy groups.

If you think your charity is eligible based on the above information, please continue to step one. If you need more clarification, please contact the AGCO: 416-326-8700 or toll-free 1-800-522-2876.

If you are interested in carrying out a Catch the Ace raffle, follow the six steps detailed below.

Step 1: Initial Raffle Planning

Details to consider as you are planning your raffle:

Event Location:
  • Where will this event be held?
  • Has the landlord consented to the charitable gaming event?
  • The local municipality must be notified and a copy of the notification must be provided to the AGCO (if applying for a provincial licence).
  • Are there any implications or risks if the location has a liquor licence?
  • Are you selecting an AGCO registered gaming-related supplier to provide the electronic raffle system?
Security:

When planning security for your event, employ a risk-based strategy: the higher the risk to public safety, the more security measures should be put in place. The number of volunteers, security and police will be based on, but not limited to, the following:

  • the location of the event
  • the dates and hours of the event
  • the number of people expected to attend and the size of the area where patrons will be allowed to drink alcohol (if applicable)
  • how people will get into and out of the event (i.e. traffic and patrol plans).

Step 2: Review Applicable Terms and Conditions

Please ensure that you read and understand the applicable Terms and Conditions before submitting your application to the appropriate licensing authority. The following Terms and Conditions are applicable to the Catch the Ace raffle.

Under a Raffle Lottery Licence:

The following Terms and Conditions for the raffle licence have been modified as follows to apply to Catch the Ace raffles:

  • Section 4.3 (a) (vii): total number of tickets printed does not have to appear on the tickets;
  • Section 7.2 (a) (v): the price of the ticket must be included in all print advertising, but the total number of tickets printed does not;
  • Section 8.5 (a) & (b): Ticket sellers are not permitted to be paid a sales commission; and
  • Section 9.2: Licensees shall keep winning tickets throughout the period of the licence and for reporting requirements. All unsold tickets or counterfoils may be destroyed 30 calendar days after the date of the draw. Winning tickets must be kept in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Terms and Conditions.
Under the Bingo Revenue Model Lottery Licence:

The following Terms and Conditions for Bingo Revenue Model have been modified or introducted as follows to apply to Catch the Ace raffles:  

  • Catch the Ace Rules of Play must be submitted to the Registrar for review and must contain an exit strategy
  • Only stub tickets are permitted. Ticket requirements are outlined in section 4.4 of the Charitable Gaming Events Conducted and Managed in Pooling Bingo Halls Terms and Conditions
  • Section 4.5 (g): total number of tickets printed does not have to be included on the ticket
  • Catch the Ace tickets can only be sold inside the bingo hall
  • No contributions from the Catch the Ace sales are to be included in the advertising and marketing plan.

If the facility in which any part of the event is held has a liquor licence, the Liquor Licence Act applies.

Additionally, licensees must also be aware of additional requirements found in the following documents:

Step 3: Application for a Catch the Ace Progressive Raffle Licence

Before completing a licence application please ensure you understand what licensing authority you will need to submit your licence application to and any applicable fees.

Prize boards up to $50,000:
  • A municipality and First Nations licensing authority may issue licences for paper-based Catch the Ace progressive raffles with a prize board up to $50,000;
  • As part of the application process, applicants will submit a proposed draw schedule and sales plan outlining the maximum sales and prizes per draw to ensure the cumulative prizes do not exceed $50,000 for the licence period; and
  • Please contact your municipality directly for further information regarding turnaround times, licensing fees, and required documentation.
Prize boards over $50,000:
  • The AGCO Registrar may issue licences for paper-based Catch the Ace progressive raffles with a prize board over $50,000. As part of the application process, applicants are required to notify, in writing, the municipality where the event is to be conducted and provide a copy of the written notification to the AGCO;
  • Applicants will also submit a proposed draw schedule along with a safety and security plan describing the control measures that will be put in place as the progressive prize amount grows; and
  • Control measures should address issues including (but not limited to) how the applicant will address the potential for increased attendance and traffic at the draw venue, and how the money from ticket sales will be secured.
Electronic Catch the Ace Raffle
  • All licences for electronic Catch the Ace progressive raffles with prizes boards of any amount are issued by the AGCO.
  • You may apply to the AGCO to conduct initial draws using paper-based ticket sales, and through an amendment request, propose to conduct in-person ticket sales for later draws by AGCO-approved electronic devices.

Note: Charities with licences issued by municipalities or First Nations licensing authorities are not eligible to request an amendment to switch over from paper-based ticket sales to electronic ticket sales. Only licences issued by the AGCO are eligible to request this type of amendment.
The AGCO requires at least two-week written notice for application amendments, which will not be automatically approved and may not be permitted.

  • You also have the option to conduct Catch the Ace raffle ticket sales online.

Note: If you choose to sell raffle tickets online you must submit an application prior to the start of your event and every draw(s) completed on this licence must be conducted using this method of ticket sales. Switching from paper-based Catch the Ace progressive raffle ticket sales to online sales is not permitted.

The AGCO requires a minimum of six-weeks to complete the application process for a licence.

Please submit the completed raffle application form along with all the supporting documents outlined below by E-mail to lotterlicensing@agco.ca or by mail to:

Customer Service
90 Sheppard Avenue East Suite 200
Toronto, ON
M2N 0A4

Please scan original copies of the necessary documents when emailing, or provide photocopies of originals when mailing.

Your licence application is a legal document and will be returned or delayed if the instructions (below) are not followed or if items (on application) are missing. This may result in the delay of your charitable gaming event. Keep a copy of all licence application documents for your records.

The following is a checklist of the documentation that is required to support your application for an electronic raffle licence. The licensing authority may ask you to provide additional information.

First-time applicants must enclose copies of the following:

  • Governing documents
    • Letters Patent, by-laws, constitution, charter, trust deed, memorandum/articles of association, signed as required.
  • Revenue Canada Notification of Registration Letter if your organization is registered
  • Detailed outline of programs/services
    • what they are, how delivered to clients, specific costs, supporting materials, etc.
  • Organization’s current operating budget
    • Organization’s verified financial statements for last fiscal year
  • Copy of Municipal notification, if applying to AGCO
  • Use of net proceeds
    • List specific projects or items for which funds will be used. They must fall within your objects or purposes as outlined in your governing documents.
    • Once your raffle licence is issued, if your organization intends to spend money on other items, a written request must be sent to your licensing authority. Written approval must be issued by the licensing authority and received by your organization before proceeds can be spent on new items.
  • Rules of Play for raffle
  • Ticket Sample
  • Copy of your safety and security plan
  • List of Board of Directors with contact information

If AGCO has already issued gaming event licences to your organization, you must provide the following:

  • Outstanding Raffle Licence Financial Reports
    • See Raffle Licence Terms and Conditions Reporting Requirements.
  • Outstanding Financial reports for other Charitable gaming events
  • Outstanding information requests from your licensing authority
  • Use of net proceeds
    • List specific projects or items for which funds will be used. They must fall within your objects or purposes as outlined in your governing documents.
    • Once your Raffle licence is issued, if your organization intends to spend money on other items, a written request must be sent to your licensing authority. Written approval must be issued by the licensing authority and received by your organization before proceeds can be spent on new items.
  • Rules of Play for raffle
  • Ticket Sample
  • Copy of your safety and security plan
  • Annual updated List of Board of Directors
  • Changes to governing documents and Revenue Canada status
    • Includes amendments, supplements, reinstatements, revocations, dissolutions, etc.
  • Annual verified financial statements
Application Changes

If you make changes to your Licence Application package before you submit it to your licensing authority, each change must be initialed on each document by the Licence Application signers and other signers of that document.

Changes to your submitted Licence Application package must be made in writing on your organization’s letterhead, signed by the Licence Application signers and include supporting documents that are affected (for example, new municipal approval).

Expired licences may NOT be amended or cancelled.

For Electronic Catch the Ace Raffle: If you are running a paper-based Catch the Ace Raffle and would like to switch over to electronic ticket sales for future draws, you must submit an amendment request to the AGCO by email to lotterylicensing@agco.ca or by mail to:

Customer Service
90 Sheppard Avenue East Suite 200
Toronto, ON
M2N 0A4

The AGCO requires at least two-week written notice for application amendments; AGCO approval is required for application amendments.

Letter of Credit 

Requirements will be outlined by your licensing authority. Contact them directly for more details.

Reporting Requirements

A Catch the Ace report form, along with all supporting documentation must be submitted to the licensing authority within seven (7) calendar days after every fourth draw.

Lottery Trust Account

The licensee must open and maintain a separate designated lottery trust account to administer all funds related to the conduct of lottery events. See Raffle Licence Terms and Conditions Banking and Financial.

Step 4: Paying your Licence Fee

Municipal Licence
  • The Municipality may charge up to a maximum of 3% of the prize board for licensing fee.
  • Contact your municipality for more details.
Provincial Licence
  • The licence fee for electronic raffle licenses is one per cent of the total prize board.
  • Payment may be made by cheque from the lottery trust account payable to the Minister of Finance (MOF).
  • An administrative fee is charged for cheques returned by the bank.
  • Licence fees are collected with Catch the Ace raffle report after every four draws.

Step 5: Executing the Raffle

In addition to your obligation to manage and conduct a raffle lottery event, you must adhere to the following event details.

  • The prize structure must be as follows:
    • 20% of event ticket sales – awarded to the bearer of the winning ticket at each draw
    • 30% of event ticket sales – allocated to the progressive jackpot
    • 50% of event ticket sales - retained by licensee and from which all allowable expenses will be paid

Note: Early-bird or consolation prizes are not permitted in a Catch the Ace progressive raffle.

  • Roll tickets, stub tickets or electronic tickets (e.g. approved devices or online) may be used.
  • A standard deck of 52 playing cards (the 2 through to the Ace of diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades totaling 52 cards) are each placed in identical, opaque envelopes and sealed. Those sealed envelopes must be shuffled, randomly numbered from 1 to 52 and be put on public display, in a secure fashion at each draw. As an alternative to using a deck of playing cards, the licensee may also use approved gaming supplies from a registered supplier.
  • It is not mandatory for the purchaser of the ticket selected at a draw to be in attendance. However:
    • If you are using roll tickets, you are required to include in the Rules of Play the amount of time within which the winner must claim the prize before another ticket is drawn.
    • If stub tickets or electronic tickets (e.g. electronic device or online) are used, you require purchasers to provide their name and contact information and to indicate in a designated area on the ticket, the envelope number selected by the purchaser in the event that his or her ticket is drawn. The licensee must also set out a procedure to be followed in the event that envelope number has already been chosen and is no longer available.
  • Once sales for a draw have closed, a ticket must be selected as the winning ticket for that draw. The number on the ticket will be announced at the draw and the prize shall be awarded accordingly.
  • If you are conducting a paper-based draw you must use a container that is large enough to hold all sold tickets or stubs.
  • All prizes must be paid out in Canadian funds either by cheque or as an electronic money transfer.
  • The Rules of Play must be posted at the location of the draw and be readily available to the public. If you are conducting online sales the Rules of Play must be posted on the website where tickets are sold.
  • The ConnexOntario helpline name and phone number 1-866-531-2600 must appear on the Rules of Play, in all print advertising, on all stub tickets and electronic tickets and on the website if tickets are sold online.
  • Once the Ace of Spades card is selected, the event and licence are concluded. If the licensee wishes to conduct another Catch the Ace event, a new licence must be obtained.
Control Procedures

The licensee is required to notify the Registrar of any issues encountered during the raffle. Notifications shall be in accordance with the Electronic Raffle Notification Matrix.

You must ensure the following:

Tickets
  • Tickets (serialization) must be unique from draw to draw.
  • There must be no duplicate ticket numbers for all draws under a licence. There must be a documented process in place showing how the licensee will ensure there are no duplicate tickets for all draws.
  • Tickets are only eligible for the draw for which they are purchased. At the conclusion of a paper-based draw, all non-winning tickets must be removed from the container. Non-winning tickets may be destroyed after 30 calendar days.
  • For electronic raffles: If you are using a RNG, the raffle ticket pool must be emptied at the conclusion of each draw.
  • Winning tickets must be kept in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Raffle Terms and Conditions.
  • The licensee will keep a record or log for all draws, recording the sequence numbers and other characteristics for all tickets in play.
Paper-Based Draw Process
  • Immediately prior to the draw, the tickets sales for the draw, the draw prize and the current progressive jackpot amount must be announced.
  • In the event that the Ace of Spades is not drawn, the licensee will immediately destroy the card selected by the winner of the draw. The licensee must maintain a log to record the destruction of all cards. The log must include the draw date, complete card details and verification by the bona fide member who destroyed the card, and by another bona fide member in charge of the lottery licensee.
  • All draws will be video recorded by the licensee.
  • Participants will be advised in the Rules of Play that all raffle draws will be video recorded in order to ensure raffle integrity.
  • Video recordings must be secured by the licensee and made available to the licensing authority upon request. All video recordings must be maintained for at least 30 calendar days after the draw date, after which they may be deleted or destroyed.
  • The video recording shall in be high definition (minimum resolution – 720p) in a well-lit environment, have an unobstructed view of all raffle activities and show:
    • selection of the winning draw ticket
    • selection of the envelope by the bearer of the winning draw ticket
    • reveal of playing card within selected envelope
    • destruction of the playing card
Electronic Draw Process
  • The licensee is required to provide the details how the draw process with be conducted based on the registered gaming solution they intend to use.
  • Immediately prior to the draw, the tickets sales for the draw, the draw prize and the current progressive jackpot amount must be announced.
  • In the event that the Ace of Spades is not drawn, the licensee will immediately delete the card selected by the winner of the draw, on the electronic device. The licensee must maintain a log to record the deletion of all cards. The log must include the draw date, complete card details and verification by the bona fide member who deleted the card, and by another bona fide member in charge of the lottery licensee.

Step 6: Raffle Wrap-up

Once the raffle has completed, the licensee is responsible for adhering to certain reporting requirements back to the AGCO.

The licensee must complete a Post Event Compliance Form, if any incidents occurred before or during your licenced electronic raffle event, as outlined in the Electronic Raffle Notification Matrix that is also mentioned in Step 5.

Ensure that all proceeds go into the lottery trust account.