Online Raffles Coming to Canada

Online Raffles and Random Number Generators are Coming to Canada

I cannot find the official transcript of The Criminal Code of Canada which defines what types of gaming activities are illegal in Canada, however from an industry source I am told amendments to criminal code 206 and 207 have been made as of December 16, 2014.  The changes allow provinces the opportunity to permit charities to use a computer for the sale of a ticket, selection of a winner or distribution of a prize in a raffle, including 50/50 draws. Although federally it is no longer illegal for a charity to have an online raffle or use a random number generator the provinces are assigned responsibility to operate, license and regulate legal forms of gaming.  It is my thoughts that the provinces will take their time coming to the table with the new terms and conditions allowing for the online raffles and random number generators as it really is a game changer and clearly it needs to be done right.

Here is the History prior to the current amendment of Criminal Code 207:

Part VII of the Code prohibits gaming in general, while section 207 allows for a number of exceptions to the general prohibition. Specifically, it permits “lottery schemes” provided that they are:

  • Lottery schemes “conducted and managed” by the province in accordance with any law enacted by that province (s. 207(1)(a));
  • Lottery schemes “conducted and managed” by a licensed charitable or religious organization pursuant to a licence issued by a provincial authority, provided that the proceeds of the lottery scheme are used for a charitable or religious purpose (s. 207(1)(b)); and
  • Lottery schemes “conducted and managed” by a licensed board of a fair or exhibition or by an operator of a concession leased by that board (207(1)(c)).

(s.207(4)(c)) paraphrased means charities are not permitted to operate any charitable gaming activities including lotteries ‘on or through a computer.’

This is somewhat of an antiquated law as it was written for VLT’s, before the birth of the internet.  It is vitally important for two reasons:

  • Random number generators are not allowed to be used in Canada.  All lottery schemes have manual draws or lottery balls.
  • Charities are required to process and activate all sales manually and send customers their tickets by mail.

When I get a copy of the code I will post it.


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