Charitable gaming revenues are a source of funding for a large number of worthy organizations and undertakings that contribute to the social fabric of society. The Criminal Code (Canada) allows provincial governments to set gaming regulations.
In Ontario, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is responsible for regulating and overseeing the licensed lottery events (such as bingo, raffles and the sale of break open tickets) conducted by charitable and religious organizations to raise funds to support charitable purposes. Some of the activities associated with this include:
- Registering commercial suppliers and gaming assistants of charitable gaming events
- Administering the regulatory framework governing the issuance of charity lottery licences (e.g., bingo, raffle, and break open ticket events).
- Inspecting and monitoring charitable gaming events/facilities for compliance with the Gaming Control Act, 1992, its regulations, licence requirements and other standards and requirements established by the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming.
Order-in-Council 1413/08 provides that the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming and municipal councils may issue lottery licences to charitable organizations. The AGCO and municipalities work together to ensure that the legal requirements, including terms and conditions to the licences, are complied with by lottery licensees and any gaming suppliers used by the charities. The Registrar has issued a Lottery Licensing Policy Manual which is used by municipal licensing officers to make decisions on eligibility for a lottery licence and for the use of proceeds, and for the types of lottery schemes for which a licence may be issued. The Registrar also issues "terms and conditions" for lottery licences, which may be supplemented by municipalities.
The Registrar has a general authority to issue lottery licences. In the case of lottery licensees in pooling bingo halls, the AGCO and the municipality are both involved in the issuing of the licences. In other situations, the municipality will issue most lottery licences for bingos not in a pooling bingo hall with a maximum prize board of $5,500, break open tickets sold within the municipality, and raffles under $50,000 in prizes. The Registrar issues licences for raffles more than $50,000 in prizes, break open tickets to be sold regionally or province-wide, and certain "in conjunction with" games as part of a non-pooling bingo hall. These games include, for example, Super Jackpot bingo and break open tickets.