The Issue

Promoting responsible gambling is a key priority for the AGCO. We want to ensure that vulnerable people, including minors and at-risk individuals are not targeted by electronic raffles, and that advertising or marketing materials are not misleading to the public. It is important that players understand the rules of play, their chances of winning, and the outcome of the raffle. If players are experiencing problems with gambling, they should be able to easily find the resources they need to get help.

What We Heard

General Considerations:

  • There is very little evidence or research on problem gambling issues specifically related to charitable raffles.
  • Responsible gambling risks depend on game design. Some raffle games may inherently be higher risk than others because of the way that they have been designed.
    • Charitable electronic raffles do not necessarily pose much risk for responsible gambling as long as the games that will be offered by charities do not offer instant gratification and remain very similar to existing paper raffles. However, if the rate of play for electronic raffles is faster, there may be more risks with respect to problem gambling.
    • Increased variety in the types of games being offered creates a greater challenge for responsible gambling education.
  • Lack of human contact when buying raffle tickets may encourage people to overspend, or buy more frequently. It is also easier to overspend when using a credit card rather than cash.
  • Participants tend to see charitable gaming wagers as donations and fundraising rather than as a form of gambling, and so often responsible gambling messaging is not considered.

Risks related to Marketing/Advertising:

  • To obtain a competitive edge, game designs, marketing, and advertising may start to push the boundaries of traditional charitable raffles.
  • If charities are looking to grow their revenue through electronic raffle channels, this may significantly increase the gambling footprint in Ontario, and lead to more problem gambling.

Risks related to Players:

  • Real-time jackpot information draws more attention and creates excitement and the potential for consumers to spend more than they can afford.
  • There is always a need to ensure minors cannot access gaming.
  • Some players may feel like they are donating money to a charity rather than gambling – this may lead them to overspend.

Suggestions for Responsible Gambling Risk Mitigation Strategies:

  • The AGCO can ensure that responsible gambling controls are built into all approved product packages offered by suppliers – including age verification methods, customer education information, and information about problem gambling services.
  • The AGCO can mandate responsible gambling messages and signage for all raffles, including on all electronic 50/50 raffle related material, including raffle tickets themselves.
  • Charities should ensure that individuals involved in the raffle are appropriately trained on any responsible gambling requirements.
  • Ensuring players have knowledge of the raffle rules and draw information. Rules, odds of winning and prizes need to be accurately and clearly presented so that players have meaningful information to make decisions.
  • Establish a maximum purchase limit to prevent players from spending outside of their means.
  • Consider a voluntary purchase amount limit for electronic raffles, if feasible.
  • Player information from online purchases could be tracked and monitored for signs of at-risk gambling.

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