A raffle is a lottery scheme where a prize(s) is awarded randomly to someone who has purchased a chance to win.
The most common types of raffles the LGCA licenses are:
- Regular raffle: A predetermined number of tickets are printed and sold. Winners are chosen by pulling a ticket stub from the pool of all tickets sold.
- Player’s choice raffle: These are also called rainbow auctions. Players choose which draw they wish to participate in from displayed prizes (or prize packages) and place their tickets in the respective draw bag, bin, box or pail.
- Percentage payout raffle: These are also called 50/50s. A number of tickets are sold and a predetermined percentage of sales is identified as the prize(s).
- Chase the card raffle: These are commonly called chase the ace, track the jack, or other similar catchy names, and are a 50/50-style raffle. Organizers preselect a specific card and players purchase tickets for a draw. The draw winner picks a card from a deck of facedown playing cards and if they pick the preselected card, they win the prize. If the card they pick isn't the preselected card, the jackpot increases and the raffle continues on future dates until someone picks the preselected card. Chase the card raffles operate differently from other raffles and have their own standard rules of play.
- Calendar raffle: A predetermined number of tickets are printed and sold (usually on the back page of an actual calendar) and each ticket has a chance to win any number of times during a specified series of draws (e.g. daily, weekly or monthly). Calendar raffles can be for a portion of a year or for an entire year.
- Sport or event raffle: Examples include Grey Cup or Super Bowl raffles. Tickets are produced with scores marked on each portion of the ticket. The winners are determined by matching the score in the game with the score on the ticket. Tickets are printed in a series containing all possible scores.
The LGCA licenses charitable and religious organizations to conduct raffles in accordance with Section 207(1)(b) of the Criminal Code (Canada). You can learn if your organization is eligible to apply for a licence by reviewing the LGCA's eligibility guide (click here). If your organization has never been licensed or has not had a licence in three years or more, you must submit background information to show your eligibility fora licence.
Individuals groups or businesses that are not a charitable or religious organization and want to hold a one-time event at a venue such as a banquet hall, restaurant, bar or community centre are able to apply for a social occasion raffle licence. This licence allows raffles such as 50/50s or player’s choice raffles to be offered at the event.
All raffles must be licensed regardless of the nature and expected profits. Conducting a raffle without a licence is a criminal offence.
Terms and Conditions
Organizations holding raffles must comply with the terms and conditions set by the LGCA.
Electronic Raffle Systems
An electronic raffle system is computer software and related equipment used by raffle licensees to sell tickets, account for sales, determine winners through random selection, and to distribute prizes. Only charitable and religious organizations with a raffle licence or a community raffle licence are eligible to use an electronic raffle system.
To be approved to use an electronic raffle system, you must complete the application appendix below to provide information on how you propose to use the system for your raffle, and if the system is being supplied or developed in-house. If the electronic raffle system is being supplied, your supplier must be licensed by the LGCA. Also, the system you use must be tested by an accredited testing facility and approved by the LGCA.
The type of licence your organization must apply for is determined by the anticipated gross revenue of your raffle.
For raffles with anticipated gross revenue of $10,000 or less:
- GUIDE: Eligibility Guide for Charitable Gaming Event Licence
- GUIDE: Community raffle application guide
- GUIDE: Community raffle application guide for youth sports
- FORM: Community raffle application
- FORM: Appendix for electronic raffles
- FORM: Licence Amendment
For raffles with anticipated gross revenue of greater than $10,000:
These lists do not include ongoing raffles such as weekly 50/50 draws or community raffles with anticipated revenue of $10,000 or less.
There are no fees for raffles with anticipated gross revenue of $10,000 or less.
For raffles with anticipated gross revenue over $10,000, the licence fee is 1.5% of the actual gross revenue. The fee is due after the event, when you submit your financial reports. The LGCA will let you know your reporting requirements when your licence is issued.