Legal Raffles and the Laws of Canada
The raffle law in Canada prohibits gaming events of any kind, with exceptions made in certain cases. Charitable or religious organizations may be eligible to hold some types of gaming events, following specific rules for each of the Canadian Provinces. In order to be eligible for a raffle licence, an organization must be charitable in nature and use all profits from the raffle for a charitable purpose that somehow benefits the community.
The Province of Saskatchewan has come up with specific guidelines for the meaning of “charitable” for the purpose of determining eligibility for raffle licences. These guidelines are based on common law, various court decisions, and past Licensing Commission decisions. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) has identified four categories of charitable purpose, namely, the relief of poverty, advancement of education, advancement of religion, or other purposes that provide a range of benefit to the greater community.
There are several different types of raffle licences that organizations may apply for. A Small Raffle offers prizes that are $1,000 or less and may be issued a licence by the SLGA or a local authority. A Public Amusement Raffle licence is only for eligible organizations that are nonprofit, in raffles with prize values of $500 or less and ticket prices of $2.00 or less. Raffles with prize values of over $50,000 require a Large Raffle licence. The Regular Raffle licence is for those that contain prizes that are over $1,000 but not more than $50,000. The SLGA has specific policies associated with many types of raffle games, so make sure to do the research when it comes to planning a legal raffle.
Key Licence Eligibility Criteria
- Primary purpose of the organization is charitable or religious
- Use of the profits are for a purpose that is charitable
- The mandate of the organization is consistent with at least one of the four classifications of charitable purposes
- The organization is in existence at least 6 months prior to the application for a raffle licence
- The organization has a structure which includes a volunteer board of directors, constitution and by-laws
- The organization has a specific Saskatchewan component and offers programs that benefit a large part of the community
- Upon closing all assets are donated to a charitable organization
Let’s Print Tickets!
Just make sure you include the required information when you do print tickets:
For a small raffle: when printed tickets are used, the organization’s name and licence number must appear on all tickets.
For a large raffle: a two-part serial-numbered ticket must be used, with one part retained by the purchaser and one part retained by the licensee for the draw (unless an order form system is used);
For a regular Raffle: the organization must state an actual guaranteed prize structure on the raffle ticket and award that amount regardless of the final number and value of tickets sold. It is also a requirement of the Terms and Conditions of the raffle lottery licence that the total value of the prizes to be awarded must be stated on both the ticket and any advertisements; must use a two-part serial-numbered ticket, with one part retained by the purchaser and one part retained by the licensee for the draw.