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How to Get Started

as a Charity

In this section, you’ll find out how to get started with your e-raffle. Most importantly, make sure you do your research about e-raffles to decide whether this new form of fundraising is right for you.  We suggest the following:


  1. Read through this website to get a better idea of how e-raffles work .

  2. Look through the AGCO documents and requirements so that you have the clearest possible picture of what’s expected. 

  3. Talk to one or more e-raffle suppliers about your needs and plans – they’ll be able to give you advice about options.  If you want to use an e-raffle supplier (instead of developing your own solution, for example), you’ll need to enter into a Raffle Services Agreement with one of them before commence your e-raffle. 

  4. Think carefully about your fundraising business plan and how e-raffles fit in.  Here are some things to think about:

    • If you’re thinking of a single event such as a fundraising dinner or a golf tournament(instead of an e-raffle lasting a weeks or months), traditional paper raffles tickets may still be your best option in terms of low cost and complexity. 

    • The charity e-raffle event manager is a very important role.  It’s not complicated, but this individual will have significant responsibilities on a day-to-day basis.

    • Marketing and awareness are key success factors for online e-raffle success. Charities are responsible for their own marketing and awareness activities but can hire outside services to assist in this area.  

    • If you don’t have access to a large database of social media and email contacts, you may have challenges with an online e-raffle.

    • If your objects and purposes allow your charitable organization to donate to other groups, consider working with other charities to reach more donors, share the workload and provide a greater benefit to the community. Remember to have a written agreement.

    • Volume/flow of traffic and having volunteers that like to sell are important parts of in-person e-raffles.

Here's what you need to know...

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Who can apply for an e-raffle licence?


Any charity or non-profit organization in Ontario that meets the AGCO’s eligibility criteria can apply for an e-raffle licence.  If charitable organizations decide to work collaboratively on an e-raffle, only the charitable organization that can donate to other groups applies for the e-raffle licence.  All other charitable organizations must also meet the AGCO eligibility criteria.


The AGCO website says:


Your organization may be eligible for a charitable gaming licence if it provides charitable services to Ontario residents in one or more of the following areas:

  • relieves poverty,

  • advances education,

  • advances religion,

  • benefits the community,

  • has carried out activities consistent with its charitable purpose for at least one year,

  • is located in Ontario,

  • is non-profit.


Organizations that only promote the private interests of their members do not qualify for a lottery licence. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Adult recreation or sports

  • Individual sport teams

  • Unions or employee groups

  • Social clubs

  • Professional associations

  • Political, government, lobbying or advocacy groups


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What if we are already licensed by the AGCO?


If your charitable organization is already licensed by the AGCO – for example, to conduct paper raffles or to sell Break Open Tickets – then you likely won’t have any issues applying for a licence.  The AGCO will not need to treat your application as coming from a new organization but may still require additional eligibility information.


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What if we have a municipal licence?


If your charitable organization holds a municipal license for raffles, bingo, or Break Open Tickets, and you are not currently licensed directly by the AGCO, you will need to apply to the AGCO as a new licensee and will need to provide all of the required eligibility documentation.


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How long is the AGCO application process?


The AGCO suggests that you plan on at least six weeks for your application to be processed.


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What documentation needs to be provided?


The AGCO has an application form that you can download here


Along with the completed application form, you will need to submit the same kind of documents that your organization would have submitted for a municipal gaming licence. 


Here is the AGCO’s list of potential documents:


  • Letters patent

  • By-laws

  • Constitution

  • Charter

  • Trust deed

  • Memorandum/articles of association, signed as required

  • Canada Revenue Notification of Registration Letter - If your organization is a registered charity

  • Detailed outline of programs/services - What they are, how and where they are delivered to clients, specific costs, supporting materials, etc.

  • Current operating budget

  • Verified financial statements for the last fiscal year

  • Annual updated List of Board of Directors with contact information

  • Changes to governing documents and Canada Revenue status - Includes amendments, supplements, reinstatements, revocations, dissolutions, etc.


You only need to submit the documents that are relevant to your organization.  If, for example, your organization does not have a Charter or Trust Deed, you are not expected to provide one.


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What else will be asked in your application?


For your application to the AGCO you will need to have done some operational planning and be specific about things like:

  • Who your charity e-raffle event manager is

  • Who your e-raffle supplier is or if you are developing your own solution

  • Whether you’re planning an in-person or online e-raffle, or both

  • How long your raffle will runWhat types of prizes you’ll be offering (50/50 or fixed prize, smaller subsidiary prizes, or even merchandise prizes that have been donated – for example, by local merchants)

  • Whether you have already secured a Lottery Trust Account where electronic payments and cash will be deposited.

  • How the use of the e-raffle proceeds is aligned to the charitable objects and purposes of your organization


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What is the e-raffle event manager’s role?


The charity e-raffle event manager role (the “bona fide” charity member in charge of the event) is extremely important.  The role isn’t complicated, but this individual (or “individuals”, since you may actually need more than one) has significant responsibilities on a day-to-day basis, including:  

  • Ensuring the e-raffle meets all regulatory requirements.

  • Managing the e-raffle sales, draw, tracking and reporting software – for both in-person/hand-held and online e-raffles

  • Supervising all e-raffle volunteers

  • Controlling the e-raffle from a separate, secure room where they can: track sales, conduct the draw, count cash receipts, and void tickets if required (for example, if a printer runs out of paper, or the customer changes their mind)

  • e-raffle security, including the responsible for the security of the process, cash counting and security, financial management, and signing-out POS devices to charity volunteers, and securely storing all raffle equipment.

  • Submitting reports and dealing with AGCO inspectors


For an in-person e-raffle, the charity e-raffle event manager does not have to remain in the raffle office during the entire event and can be “on the floor” selling tickets but must ensure that the office is not accessible to the public and must monitor the event laptop periodically.


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