What’s going on in Canada with Online Lotteries and Raffles?

You're likely well aware Canada has amended criminal code 207 that deals with charitable gaming and giving the provinces the right to allow lotteries and raffles for charitable purposes.  The code was amended in December of 2014 which opened the doors for online raffles, random number generators choosing winners and payment of prizes.  The push for amending the criminal code was spearheaded primarily by Janice Gray, the lottery Manager for the Canadian Cancer Society along with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  Ironically as they are both based in Ontario, it has been one of the slower provinces to adopt change.

It's amazing how a change in a few little words can make a world of difference.  Basically Here are such words:

Exception re: Charitable or Religious Organization

(4.1) The use of a computer for the sale of a ticket, selection of a winner or the distribution of a prize in a raffle, including a 50/50 draw, is excluded from paragraph (4)(c) in so far as the raffle is authorized under paragraph (1)(b) and the proceeds are used for a charitable or religious object or purpose.

How the Provinces have Reacted

Starting from west to east:

BC:

In the province of British Columbia, GPEB which is the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch is now accepting online raffles and random number generators.

At this time participation is limited to certain Class A gaming event licensees, as the new policy is being phased-in:

  • Class A raffle licensees may apply to sell and distribute raffle tickets online, and distribute prizes online.
  • Registered Class A Raffles and Class A Electronic Raffle System (ERS) users may apply to select a winner online using a certified random number generator (RNG)

 

Class A raffle licences allow eligible organizations to fundraise by holding a raffle or series of raffles that will generate more than $20,000 in gross revenue.

 

Allowed Use of Computerized Electronic Systems:

 

Eligible Applicants:
Online Ticket Sales – To sell tickets through the Internet by way of a real time processing and payment system and where the purchaser’s ticket is paid for immediately online. Class A raffle licensee
Online Ticket Distribution – To send a purchaser a ticket by email or through the Internet and where the purchaser downloads a copy of the ticket. Class A raffle licensee

 

Electronic Ticket Draw – To determine a prize winner by conducting an electronic draw using computer software or a computer application that utilizes a GPEB certified software random number generator (RNG). Class A registered raffle licensees conducting regular event raffles

Class A licensees that have been approved for an electronic raffle system (ERS)

Online Prize Distribution – To send a winner a prize voucher by email or over the Internet and where the prize winner downloads a voucher or gift certificate for redemption. Class A raffle licensee
Electronic Raffle System – A GPEB certified and inspected computer application, known as an Electronic Raffle System (ERS), that may include the use of hand held electronic devices to sell tickets and other computer software and related equipment to account for sales and facilitate the manual or electronic drawing of tickets to determine the winner. Class A raffle licensee conducting single event percentage raffles (50/50)

 

Generally, licensees that wish to sell raffle tickets online will need to ensure:

 

  • That they are compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards for merchants;
  • That they meet GPEB defined standards related to the security and control of the ticket raffle/sales platform and ticket inventory; and
  • That they have a mechanism for ensuring that age and location are verified.

 

Generally, licensees that wish to select a winner through computerized means will need to ensure:

 

TGS6 is based on GLI-31, but GPEB tightened up the language around some of the ambiguous wording of GLI-31.

More information for BC rules and regulations can be found here:  https://www.gaming.gov.bc.ca/news/docs/2016-01-25.htm

 

Alberta :

AGLC is the regulator in this province of Alberta.  Currently Alberta has no mandate to allow online raffles.  They are however working on allowing random number generators for ticket draws.

Alberta has taken the unique and odd position that electronic raffle server equipment has to be onsight rather than housed at a centralized Internet Data Center.  This perhaps is one of the reasons they are in no hurry to allow online raffles.  The policy for electronic and online raffles is in conflict.

Saskatchewan

SLGA is the regulator in this province.  Saskatchewan actually took the position that online raffles did not break criminal code 207 before 207 was changed as long as there was a manual draw.  As such they were the first province to allow online raffles in theory.  However the software and hardware requirements along with the need to have account confirmation prior to the ticket purchase has made it undesirable for home lotteries and many larger charities.

Online Technical Standards which to a large degree is GLI-31 and  can be found here:  https://www.slga.gov.sk.ca/Prebuilt/Public/Online%20Raffle%20Sales%20Standards.pdf

Saskatchewan has also published their own electronic gaming standards document which is basically gli-31 for electronic raffles.  If you are gli-31 compliant then you do not have to re-certify to the Saskatchewan standard…which begs the question why would anyone certify to the Saskatchewan standard which would only be recognized in Saskatchewan.

 

Manitoba

On April 1, 2014, the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission (MGCC) and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission’s Regulatory Services Division combined to become a single regulatory agency: the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba (LGA).

To be approved to use an electronic raffle system, you will need to provide information on how you propose to use the system for your raffle event, and if it’s being supplied or developed in-house. If the electronic raffle system is being supplied, the supplier needs to be licensed by the LGA. As well, the system you use will need to be tested to make sure it is in compliance with the LGA’s technical standards to ensure your raffle event will be conducted fairly.

The LGA will evaluate your application and determine what level of testing is required to ensure the integrity of the raffle.

http://lgamanitoba.ca/documents/information-bulletin-electronic-raffles.pdf

http://lgamanitoba.ca/documents/terms-and-conditions-raffles.pdf

 

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