Lottery Licensing

  • WHAT IS A LOTTERY SCHEME (Game of Chance)?

    In simple terms, a lottery scheme may be defined as any scheme which has the following three components:

    • a prize;
    • a chance (to win the prize); and
    • consideration or a fee.

    Therefore, a lottery scheme exists if money is paid or some other consideration is given for a chance to win a prize.  Lotteries conducted for non-profit and charitable organizations must be licensed.

    It is illegal to print tickets, promote or conduct a charitable gaming event without a licence.  It is illegal for individuals to conduct games of chance for profit.

    Activities are regulated by the Criminal Code of Canada, Section 206 & 207, Order-in-Council, Gaming Control Act, 1992, as well as provincial and municipal regulations. In 1969, the Government of Canada amended the Criminal Code (Canada) making it possible for eligible charitable or religious organizations to conduct and manage lottery schemes under a licence issued by the appropriate provincial authority.

    There are many types of lottery schemes for which licences are not available. The municipality will confirm whether or not a licence is available for a proposed lottery scheme. If the proposed event is one for which a lottery licence is available, the organization must apply for a lottery licence. The organization is responsible for ensuring that all its schemes are operated legally. 


    The Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) is responsible for administering the lottery licensing program in the province. Municipalities and the AGCO are responsible for issuing lottery licences to eligible charitable and religious organizations. Eligible charitable and religious organizations may raise funds through provincially or municipally licensed lottery events.

    Lottery licensing refers to lottery schemes permitted by a licence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Typically, these may include bingos, raffles, break open tickets and social gaming events held by charitable or religious organizations. In Ontario, Order in Council 1413/08 authorizes the licensing framework for eligible charitable or religious organizations to hold lottery events and sets out the limits of municipal and provincial licensing. Licensed charitable or religious organizations must conduct and manage their events in accordance with licensing policies and the terms and conditions of the licences and fulfill all prescribed reporting requirements. Information on conducting and managing lottery events can be found in Lottery Licensing Policy Manual, which provides an outline of the legal and policy framework and administrative procedures for lottery licensing purposes.

    The commercial sector of the charitable gaming industry is regulated by the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (the “Act”) and Regulations.


    To be eligible for a lottery licence, an applicant must qualify either as an eligible charitable organization or as a non-profit organization with charitable purposes or objects including the relief of poverty, advancement of education and religion or other charitable purposes that are beneficial to the community.

    When an organization applies for a lottery licence, the following documents or information are required so that eligibility can be reviewed:

    • Incorporation Papers (Letters Patent)
    • Constitution and By-Laws
    • Notification of Charitable Registration (Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) (if applicable)
    • The most recent Registered Charity Information Return & Public Information Return, as submitted to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (if applicable)
    • Financial Statement for Previous Fiscal Year (audited, where applicable)
    • Detailed outline of all programs/services provided in the previous year and specific costs incurred in delivery
    • Detailed outline of all programs/service currently provided and specific costs incurred in delivery
    • The current operating budget
    • Current Listing of the Board of Directors
    • Any other information that will assist in determining the charitable nature of the objects and purposes. This could include an annual report, correspondence relating to its charitable number for income-tax purposes, and confirmation that it meets the reporting requirements of the Charities Accounting Act
    • The proposed use of proceeds, which must be consistent with the primary objects and purposes of the organization and of a charitable nature consistent with at least one of the four classifications of charitable purposes.

    Incomplete applications – such as applications that do not include the correct licensing fee or do not include the required documentation – will be returned to the applicant along with a Notice of Deficiency detailing what is missing. 

    Ineligible Organizations include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Individuals conducting games of chance for personal gain;
    • Professional associations, unions, employee groups;
    • Elected representative groups including municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments;
    • Government agencies or bodies;
    • Political lobby groups;
    • Advocacy, self-help and other groups solely dedicated to the political, personal and financial advancement of their members;
    • Political parties;
    • Adult hobby groups;
    • Private sports clubs (e.g., golf, curling); and
    • Adult sports teams;
    • Those promoting a political doctrine;
    • Those attempting to bring about or oppose changes in the law or government policy;
    • Municipal councils, municipal corporations and their administrative departments; and
    • Organizations established solely for the purpose of fundraising.

    The Town of Moosonee may issue licences for the following:

    • bingo events, with prize boards of up to $5,500;
    • media bingo
    • break open tickets for local organizations;
    • raffle lotteries for total prizes of $50,000 and under; and
    • bazaar

    The municipality may attach terms and conditions to a licence, in addition to those established by the province, provided that they do not conflict with provincial Terms and Conditions or policies.

    Lottery licences issued by the Province – The Alcohol and Gaming commission of Ontario (AGCO) is the licensing authority for:

    • bingo events (i.e., Special Bingo, Monster Bingo) with prize board over $5,500;
    • super jackpot bingo events;
    • progressive bingo game events and loonie progressive games;
    • social gaming events (i.e., table game event held in conjunction with a social event);
    • raffle lotteries for total prizes over $50,000;
    • break open tickets sold by organizations with a provincial mandate;
    • lotteries held in conjunction with another gaming event, including break open tickets at bingo events;
    • all lottery schemes conducted in unorganized territories; and
    • lottery schemes at designated fairs or exhibitions.

    For gaming and lottery licence application forms and related information visit the AGCO web site at