Raffle Laws Canada

Bingo and raffles were the first to reappear. These forms of betting were permitted for charitable purposes. A decade later, horse racing was added to the list. In 1970, gambling laws in Canada suffered changes that approved provinces to oversee gambling within their respective borders. Criminal Code 1892 The first gambling-related legislation in Canada appeared in the form of the Criminal Code in 1892. The Criminal Code is pursuant to the 1867 Constitution Act that gave the federal government executive power to legislate criminal offenses across Canada. Among these offenses was gambling or betting on games, to be precise. The US and Canada have long been neighbors with huge contrasts in theirs laws and social factors. The stance the two countries have on gambling is an example of these major differences.

Canada has a lot of things to brag about. It’s home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and backdrops in more isolated areas intertwined with the perfect mix of modern city views with sky-scraping glass towers, which attracts tourists from all around the world, making it one of the top destinations to travel. Not only are travellers searching for the visually pleasing atmosphere, but they are also after the vast amount of gambling opportunities that the country is known for. For decades, citizens from around the world have come from far and wide to try for their lucky chance to win. Today, those from around the world can enjoy gaming on Canadian soil and also try their luck online from the comfort of their homes or on the go from their mobile devices. But what about the gambling laws in Canada? Here, we will break down the relevant legislation, giving both citizens and those travelling to the mountain-filled oasis a better way to understand it.

What is considered illegal?

The game of gambling didn’t become legal until 1970 when the country tried to put an end to illegal gambling availed by criminal organizations. In 1985, things began to get a little complicated, as the provinces and territories were given the right to introduce certain Canadian casino laws the way that they see fit. The laws have been tweaked over time, becoming what they are now as of 2010. There are several sections in the Canadian Criminal Code that mention gambling, with serious crimes being:

  • Keeping a common gaming house;
  • The use of illegal means of gaming like betting and booking;
  • Unpermitted lotteries and games that rely on luck in exchange for money;
  • The practice of cheating at gambling games to defraud the house.

In Canada, when they say serious offence, this generally consists of a prison sentence for a maximum of 5 years; however, the majority of convicts spend no more than 2 years and sometimes only face a fine of up to $5,000. There are a lot of grey areas in most laws, but a good rule of thumb to follow is “…gambling is illegal within the borders of Canada if it’s not licensed or managed by the government.” Casinos are required to have their license displayed. If this is not clearly available, simply ask someone for their license. It is a sure way to receive a guarantee that gamers can take a chance at luck without the possibility of committing a crime.

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The Laws of Canadian Gambling

Is It Illegal To Raffle

The complicated thing about Canadian gaming laws is the fact that they vary by province and by territory. There are 10 total provinces, each with their own set of rules and regulations. These regulations are very specific, depending on which type of gaming you prefer. Mostly all provinces allow for casino gaming, horse race bets, and sports bets, but it is always best to check licenses before partaking in any of them to ensure that gamers are legally trying their luck for more money.


One of the first issues to note is the Canadian gambling age. It can be either 18 or 19, depending on where you’re gambling and also which type of gaming you’ll be doing. Lottery in most areas is allowed by those aged 18 and up, with several provinces raising the age for sports and horse betting to 19.


The amount of taxes to be paid depends on whether or not the lucky winner is a citizen. Taxes are a bit higher for those coming from other countries, a phenomenon that is not uncommon. The second factor is whether the player is partaking in a game of chance for work or pleasure.


One of the serious concerns of the Canadian government is safety, especially with the boom of online gaming. Laws have placed strict regulations on international companies wishing to cater to Canadian gamers. They enforce these regulations by auditing and requiring each of them to obtain a license for operating as a casino officially in the Canadian jurisdiction.

Canadian Online Gambling Laws

So, overall, is online gaming legal? Yes, but only to some extent. The way that the laws are written has left a small loophole for companies from overseas to cater to Canadian gamers stating that offshore online gaming is legal. The tricky part is, most of the servers are located on Canadian soil but conduct business operations in other locations, making for a swarm of complications in the process. Technically, according to most laws that are in place today, offshore gaming sites are breaking Canadian laws daily, but they are unable to be prosecuted without a straightforward law of some entity to take them to court. The laws, in general, have the term ‘grey area’ written all over them, as a label and a reminder that much is left up in the air.

So, what does that mean for you?

Basically, the takeaway message here is always to be sure that as a citizen and a visitor, you should only play in a licensed casino to ensure that you are within legal limits. When it comes to online gaming, this could prove to be difficult as it is less regulated at the time. For this reason, it is important to check the license of the online casino and also the security setting involved to make sure that it is not only legal but safe. Lucky for those within the borders, there are millions of options to get your gambling fix or place a lucky wager on a team or sport.

Today, over 80% of the entire population of Canadians partakes in a game or two every year. That goes to show that the gambling world is going nowhere, it is here to stay and sure to grow in the years to come.

Each Canadian province is allowed to have its own raffle laws and regulations thanks to the federal government. In the state of Alberta, every legal aspect of holding a raffle is enforced by the AGLC (Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission). There are certain similarities between Canada’s regions, but in order to run a law-abiding raffle event, you need to contact the corresponding office. In some cases, the province further allows municipalities to create their own, local laws.
In the province of Alberta, raffles are only permitted if they have a charitable cause. You cannot run a legal raffle for personal or financial gains. For this reason, the raffle licenses issued by the AGLC are only given non-profit groups or organizations. In order to be able to start advertising your raffle and print numbered raffle tickets for it, you will have to apply for a license.
However, there’s a prerequisite for the license: eligibility. In order to prove your eligibility for a raffle, you must first submit a form to your local province office. To be deemed eligible to run a raffle, you must provide documentation regarding your non-profit organization and the purpose of the raffle ticket proceeds.
Raffle Laws Canada
Once you are eligible for a license, the AGLC raffle licence page contains all the details required to complete and submit a form. Currently, there are two types of eligibility forms and licenses that can be issued, based on the value of the ticket proceeds:

Ticket Proceeds of $10,000 or Less

  • The eligibility application usually takes around 7 days to be processed and approved
  • If you provide incomplete information, the process of approval may be delayed depending on the missing information
  • Once your eligibility form has been approved, you will receive an AGLC identification number
  • The AGLC identification number grants you the possibility to apply for a raffle license from your local Registry office
  • The license expires when the raffle ends, unlike the AGLC identification number, which can be used again in the future

Ticket Proceeds of More Than $10,000

  • The latest financial records must be submitted in order to be able to apply for a license
  • The organization’s charitable mission must be provided through a written statement
  • In some cases, a lawyer’s trust will be required for the raised funds
  • In some cases, an outside evaluation of the prize will be required
  • Similar, the eligibility and licensing processes can be delayed if the provided documents are incomplete

Regulations about what to print on each numbered ticket

The AGLC strictly prohibits the sale of raffle tickets to minors (under the age of 18). Each ticket must have two parts: a stub kept by the organizing party and a body that remains with the buyer. When the time comes to print numbered raffle tickets, the following guidelines must be followed:

The ticket stub must contain:

  • The buyer’s contact details (full name, address, and telephone number)
  • The license number issued by the AGLC

What Are The Laws On Raffles

The ticket body must contain details about the:

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Are Raffles Illegal In Canada

  • Contact details of the organizing party (company name and address)
  • Ticket price
  • Ticket number and total amount of numbered raffle tickets
  • Details about the prize and its value

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Want to print your raffle tickets at home? Here are three ways to create and print raffle tickets at home.