Bingo Licensees and Bingo Hall Owners or Operators may offer giveaways or complimentary products as promotional items. These may include or be redeemable for cash, gaming and non gaming-related products.
Bingo Hall Owners or Operators and Licensees that wish to offer promotional products (such as Comps, customer loyalty programs and gift certificates) must identify these elements in the Hall Marketing Plan. How this may be achieved must be set out in the Hall Marketing Plan.
Use of Promotional Products in Exchange for Liquor Prohibited
The sale and service of liquor must be consistent with the Liquor Licence and Control Act , 2019 and Regulations. For example, alcoholic beverages may not be given to a patron in a bingo hall free of charge or in exchange for customer loyalty points or gift certificates.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Bingo Hall Owners or Operators and Licensees may operate customer loyalty programs without pre-approval from the Registrar. Third party sponsors can donate items that may be given away to patrons who have accumulated customer loyalty points. Customer loyalty programs must be addressed in the Hall Marketing Plan and their cost must be covered through the Hall Marketing Fund. How Hall Operators and Licensees plan to cover the expenses related to the ongoing existence of the customer loyalty program must be outlined in the Hall Marketing Plan.
Licensees and Bingo Hall Owners or Operators may sell gift certificates or gift cards as promotional items in accordance with a Hall Marketing Plan. These may be used to purchase any item or be redeemed for cash at any Charitable Gaming Event held in their hall. Any sale of gift certificates is considered revenue and is to be split accordingly. It is not necessary to submit gift certificates to licensing authorities prior to offering them for sale; however, they must be available for review upon request. In the event of hall closures or revenue constraints the onus is on Licensees and Hall Operators to cover the value of promotional products upon redemption by bingo patrons through the Hall Marketing Fund.
The sale and issue of gift certificates and gift cards must be consistent with the Ontario Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and Regulations. For example, gift certificates and gift cards may not have an expiry date and no fees may be attached to the card with the exception of fees to customize a card or replace a lost card. If a hall is closing it must provide at least 60 days notice posted within the hall which will allow opportunities for patrons to redeem these products.
Donations of Product by Third Party Sponsors
A third party may donate merchandise to be given away as part of a Bingo Hall Owner or Operator or Licensee-run promotional contest in exchange for promotional consideration. Bingo Hall Owners or Operators and Licensees must include this activity in the Hall Marketing Plan. If financial consideration is received as a result of this activity it is considered revenue and must be remitted to pooled funds for redistribution.
Complimentary Products in Bingo Halls (Nominal Value)
Bingo Hall Owners or Operators and Licensees may offer Complimentary (Comp) items of nominal value to new and existing patrons. The offering of Comps must be included in the Hall Marketing Plan. Nominal value is considered to be 20% of average bingo spend with a maximum of $5 per player per Charitable Gaming Event.
Branding of Gaming Products
Licensees may provide Advertising on their gaming products in accordance with these Guidelines. The product must be seen and perceived as a charitable gaming product and must not be misleading in its portrayal as a charitable gaming product. Charity involvement must be clearly and prominently identified on the gaming product. Any financial benefit received through the branding of gaming products is considered revenue and is to be split accordingly.
Design of Ads
Licensees and Bingo Hall Owners or Operators may work together on the design and placement of Advertising. It must be noted in the Hall Marketing Plan. The design of the Advertising must fall within the Advertising Guidelines.
Licensees must comply with all of the applicable advertising Terms and Conditions for electronic raffles.
Pooling of Funds for Advertising Purposes
Funds may be pooled across more than one bingo hall through a joint sign-off by the Hall Marketing Committees of the halls. This form of pooling may take place in halls with the same operators, halls owned by different operators as well as halls within the same municipality or across geographic regions.
Bingo Hall Owners or Operators and Licensees wishing to pool Advertising funds must include this activity in the Hall Marketing Plan. Pooling between halls will require approval by the Hall Marketing Committees from all participating halls with these agreements forwarded to the AGCO and relevant licensing authorities for information and review.
Transportation of Patrons to Bingo Halls
Licensees and/or Bingo Hall Owners or Operators may offer transportation services to their patrons. Transportation services must be part of the Hall Marketing Plan and be subject to review and written approval by the licensing authority where the destination bingo hall is located. If this service is provided through the Hall Marketing Plan it may be paid for through the Hall Marketing Fund.
Direct and Unaddressed Advertising
Licensees and Bingo Hall Owners or Operators may use direct mail Advertising to communicate with existing customers. Licensees and Bingo Hall Owners or Operators may send direct mail to reach new or lapsed patrons. This can be in any form provided that the Advertising is consistent with the Advertising Guidelines and all applicable privacy legislation.
Licensees and Bingo Hall Owners or Operators may also participate in other forms of unaddressed Advertising such as television or radio spots. Any mass media Advertising must also be consistent with the Advertising Guidelines and the Ontario Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and Regulations.
Paid Celebrity Endorsements
Celebrities may be paid for their endorsement of Charitable Gaming Events through a Hall Marketing Plan. Endorsements must fall within the Charitable Gaming Content Guidelines. For example, a celebrity may not express or imply that participating in Charitable Gaming Events has resulted in their personal or financial success.
No well-known personality may be used in any material advertising charitable gaming that may reasonably be expected to appeal, either directly or indirectly, to persons under the age of 18 if the Advertisement contains any direct or indirect endorsement of participation in Charitable Gaming Events. These may include historical, political, religious and cultural figures as well as celebrities and sports figures.
Celebrities may appear in Public Service Advertisements that appeal to all ages provided there is no direct or indirect endorsement of charitable gaming by the well-known personality.
Additional Use of Hall Marketing Funds
The Hall Marketing Fund may be used to retain the services of a marketing firm for the development and execution of Advertising and promotions materials. The fund may also be used to retain the services of a firm to conduct market and consumer research.
Marketing and research companies are not required to be registered under the Gaming Control Act, 1992. However, if marketing and research companies provide goods or services that go beyond marketing and research (services directly affecting the conduct and management of the lottery), the Registrar may require registration based on an evaluation of the services being provided.
Advertising of Raffle Odds
Licensees holding raffles in Pooling Bingo Halls may Advertise the odds of winning. However, they are responsible for dealing with complaints that may arise due to an inaccurate portrayal of odds.
Responsible Gaming Information Requirements
Information promoting the Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline must be prominently displayed in the Bingo Hall.
A responsible gaming message must be included in all Advertising in any medium including print, radio, television and all online Advertising.