Eligibility for a Lottery Licence

Charitable Gaming in Ontario

What is Charitable Gaming and how is it regulated in Ontario?

Charitable gaming refers to lottery schemes permitted by a license under the Criminal Code of Canada. Typically these may include bingos, raffles and break open tickets held by charitable and religious organizations. Charitable organizations are regulated by licensing policies and the terms and the terms and conditions of the licences issued by the province or the municipalities under the authority of an Order in Council. The commercial sector of the charitable gaming industry is regulated by the Gaming Services Act, 1992 and Regulations proclaimed in force February 1, 1993.

Who can get a licence to conduct a lottery scheme?

Canada's Criminal Code permits charitable and religious organizations to conduct a lottery scheme to raise funds pursuant to a licence being issued. Organizations must have a demonstrated charitable or religious mandate to qualify. The courts have determined that the term "charitable" refers to organizations which provide programs for;

  • the relief of poverty;
  • the advancement of education;
  • the advancement of religion;
  • other charitable purposes beneficial to the community.

The following pre-requisites are mandatory to be considered eligible for a lottery licence:

  • Organizations must have been in existence for at least one year before being considered eligible for lottery licences.
  • The organization must have a place of business in Ontario, demonstrate that it is established to provide charitable services in Ontario and use proceeds for objects or purposes which benefit Ontario residents.

The primary purposes of an organization are determined by considering;

  • the mandate of the organization as set out in it's incorporation documents or documents stating the organizations objects
  • the objects of the organization as described in its application for licence
  • the services which have actually been provided by the organization to the community

What types of charitable and religious organizations are eligible?

Types of organizations in the four categories of charitable mandate include those providing for:

The relief of poverty

  • the sick and dying
  • disabled persons
  • the homeless
  • the victims of crime
  • rehabilitating young offenders and parolees

Funds may be provided to individuals or families where the relief is a short-term or one-time payment intended to relieve an exceptional or unusual condition or circumstance. (eg. helping a family whose house has burnt down).

The advancement of education

To be eligible, an organization must provide public programs which:

  • are geared to scholastic and vocational training for individuals
  • advance a recognized field of knowledge which leads to an accredited degree, diploma or certificate, and
  • do not include professional development

Examples of organizations that could be eligible:

  • elementary and secondary public and Roman Catholic separate schools
  • accredited colleges and universities
  • private schools registered with Revenue Canada as a charitable organization
  • parent / teacher associations or other groups which are non-profit entities and which support one of the above types of institutions
  • scholarship or bursary funds registered with Revenue Canada as a charitable organization

The advancement of religion

Religious organizations must demonstrate that programs and services assist in the delivery of religious services and programs to the community. A religious body is considered charitable when its activities serve religious purposes for the public good. Other activities that advance religion include;

  • organizing and providing religious instruction, and performing pastoral and missionary work; and
  • establishing and maintaining buildings for worship and other religious use.

Any purpose beneficial to the community

To qualify an organization must demonstrate that;

  • it is operated an a not-for-profit basis, and its purposes include charitable or religious objects,
  • its services are offered to significant portion of the public, and
  • the proposed use of proceeds are consistent with its mandate

Eligible organizations include those with mandates in;

  • culture and arts
  • health and welfare
  • physical education
  • community sport
  • youth sports where the majority of players are under 18
  • service to the community (service clubs)