A raffle is a gaming event where a prize(s) is awarded by selling a chance of winning for a fraction of the value of the prize(s). Winners are randomly selected.
The most common types of raffles the LGA 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.
Players’ 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).
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.
Following amendments to the Criminal Code (Canada), charitable and religious organizations may now operate provincially licensed raffles on or through a computer. Charities can now sell, distribute and process raffle tickets and prizes online, and use electronic random number generators to determine the outcome of the raffles. To learn more, please click below to read the information bulletin sent to Manitoba charities in December 2015.
- For raffles with anticipated gross revenue of $10,000 or less
- Three week processing time
- For raffles with anticipated gross revenue of more than $10,000
- Six week processing time
Please click below for answers to some common questions about raffles. You can also email our Gaming Licence Department or contact us at 204-954-9400 or toll-free at 1-800-782-0363.
Who can hold a raffle? What application form do I complete?
The LGA licenses charitable and religious organizations to conduct raffles as outlined in Section 207(1)(b) of the Criminal Code (Canada). Charitable and religious organizations have the option of applying for a community raffle licence if anticipated gross revenue is $10,000 or less, or a raffle licence if anticipated gross revenue is $10,000 or more. If your organization has never been licensed, you will need to submit background information about your organization with your application and we will determine your eligibility.
The LGA also licenses individuals and groups who are planning a one-time social occasion event at a venue such as a banquet hall, restaurant, bar or community centre, and want to have a raffle such as a 50/50 or players’ choice draw at the event. These draws are licensed under Section 207(1)(d) of the Criminal Code (Canada). Individuals, groups and businesses that are not charitable or religious organizations can apply for a social occasion permit if liquor is being sold or served at the event or a social occasion raffle licence if liquor is not being sold or served at the event, or if the venue holds a liquor licence.
Please read and ensure you understand the Raffle Terms and Conditions before you apply for a licence. You must comply with these terms and conditions once you are licensed.
Our office holds a payday pool every second week. Do we need a licence?
All raffles must be licensed and only charitable or religious organizations are eligible to apply for gaming event licences. Businesses, offices and individuals do not qualify for a charitable gaming event licence regardless of the intended use of profits.
Do all raffles need a licence? Tickets will only be sold within our organization.
All raffles need to be licensed regardless of the nature and expected profits. Conducting a raffle without a licence is a criminal offence.
Can my business obtain a licence to hold a raffle and donate all the proceeds to charity?
Businesses and individuals do not qualify for raffle licences. Section 207(1)(b) of the Criminal Code (Canada) states that you must be a charitable or religious organization to be licensed to conduct a lottery scheme, which includes raffles.
We can license individuals and groups who are planning a one-time social event at a venue such as a banquet hall, restaurant, bar or community centre, and want to have a raffle such as a 50/50 or player’s choice draw at the event. These draws are licensed under Section 207(1)(d) of the Criminal Code (Canada).
When is a licence not required for a draw?
A licence is not required if an organization is holding a free draw. Draws for door prizes do not require a licence if there is no charge or consideration to enter the draw. Consideration is when participants are required to make a donation or pay an entry fee to an event in order to enter a draw. The draw must be open to anyone who wishes to participate.
Is a silent auction considered a raffle?
A true silent auction, where participants voluntarily place written bids for a prize and only the highest bidder pays money for the prize, is not a raffle and does not require a licence.
How long does it take to get a raffle licence?
We require three weeks to process applications for community raffles with anticipated gross revenue of $10,000 or less. We require six weeks to process applications for raffles with anticipated gross revenue over $10,000. Keep in mind it will take longer to process applications proposing to operate any part of a raffle electronically or online, or if your application is incomplete or inaccurate. The application guides (community raffle application guide, raffle application guide) will help you properly complete and submit your application to us. You can’t advertise your raffle until your licence is approved.
For individuals and groups wanting to conduct social occasion raffles, we require approximately one week for processing your application.
What does a raffle licence cost?
Licences for social occasion raffles and community raffles (anticipated gross revenue under $10,000) are free.
Organizations holding raffles with anticipated gross revenue over $10,000 are required to submit a licence fee of 1.5% of the actual gross revenue. The LGA sets reporting requirements at the time your licence is issued, but fees aren’t due until after your event, when you submit your financial reports.
How do we apply for a raffle licence?
Please complete our Community Raffle application or our Raffle Application.You can also call our Gaming Licence Department at 204-954-9400 or toll-free at 1-800-782-0363 for a paper copy of the application or to arrange a time to complete the appropriate form in person at one of our offices.
Please read and ensure you understand the Raffle Terms and Conditions before you apply for a licence. You must comply with these terms and conditions once you are licensed.
Can I run a raffle using a computer and online?
Yes, recent changes to the Criminal Code (Canada) specify that charitable and religious organizations can operate raffles on or through a computer. These changes will allow your organization to sell and issue tickets online, conduct electronic financial transactions, track sales and distribute prizes electronically (e.g. send gift cards via email). As well, you can use electronic random number generators to determine the outcome of the raffle.
What do we need to submit with our application?
In order to determine a religious or charitable organization’s eligibility for a licence, first-time applicants and organizations not licensed in over three years must provide as many of the following documents as possible:
- constitution and by-laws
- articles of incorporation and most recent corporate annual return
- minutes of most recent annual general meeting
- membership list
- most recent financial statement and bank statements
Other requirements are clearly listed in the application guides and include such things as sample tickets, copies of contracts with the suppliers or service providers, a current bank statement or prize guarantee, and rules governing the raffle. We will contact you if we require any additional documents.
Our organization is very small and we do not have the background documents you ask for. Can we still get a licence?
Yes, provided your organization is a charitable or religious organization. We recognize that many smaller organizations may not have formal documentation. In these cases, minutes from meetings and/or letters of support from principals, councilors, religious leaders or mayors may be acceptable. These letters of support should state:
- that the group is in fact a bona fide organization
- the organization’s aims and objectives
- the reasons/need for fundraising
What if we don’t have a president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer?
If the titles of your executive members are not consistent with the generic titles on the application form, please indicate your organization’s actual titles on your application. Organizations must adapt their titles to those on the form in a best-fit manner where necessary (e.g. Grand Knight, Head Coach, Manager, Principal, or Minister may replace President). The executive members you list on the application must be the actual elected executive of the organization itself and not members of a sub-committee who have been given responsibility for the charitable gaming event.
Is it possible to sell our tickets for different price levels ($2 each or 3 for $5). What do we need to know?
Organizations must be accountable for all revenue and all revenue must be auditable. You may sell tickets at multiple price levels as long as the tickets are distinguishable (i.e. colour or price pointed printed) or another method of financial accountability is approved.
When can we print our tickets?
The application guide tells you if you are required to submit a ticket draft with your application for consideration. An actual printer’s proof may also be requested and we would provide instructions if further review was necessary. Tickets can only be printed once your licence and ticket proof (if required) are approved.
Does the LGA set an expense limit?
Yes. You must specify anticipated expenses on your application. Raffle expenses must not exceed 20% of the anticipated gross raffle revenue. Prizes, ticket printing, bank transaction fees and licence fees are not included in expenses.
Are there any limitations on advertising our raffle?
Raffles can only be advertised in Manitoba and you can’t advertise your raffle until your licence is approved. All advertisements must contain the name of the licensed organization and your licence number. If you are advertising on the internet, you must indicate that the advertisement is intended for Manitoba residents only. Advertisements must adhere to federal, provincial and community advertising laws and standards.
What is a supplier/service provider?
A gaming supplier is an individual, business entity or association of persons that charges a fee to make, sell, advertise or distribute gaming supplies. A gaming service provider assists in the conduct and management of a raffle. When considering a supplier or service provider, it is your responsibility to ensure they are licensed by the LGA.
Where can we get a list of licensed suppliers/service providers?
You can contact the LGA Gaming Licence Department for a list of licensed suppliers and service providers. Licensed organizations must not do business with unlicensed suppliers or service providers.
Are we obligated to give away a certain percentage of the anticipated revenue?
You are only obligated to give away a percentage when the prize or prizes offered are based on that percentage (e.g. 50/50 draw). Otherwise, the prize(s) offered is up to the organization and prizes do not need to be based on a percentage of anticipated revenue. The LGA does not set prize limits; however, all prizes must be guaranteed.
How can we use the money we raise through our raffle?
Funds raised through raffles must be used for education, religion, health, relieving poverty, or to benefit the community by promoting sports, recreation, culture, or any other area considered appropriate by the LGA. Revenue generated from raffles cannot be used for anything that is considered personal gain. Please provide as much detail as possible on your application about your intended use of funds.
What if our organization does not have current funds to cover the cost of all prizes being offered?
The total cost of all prizes must be guaranteed before we can issue you a licence. The LGA will accept an organization’s current bank statement, an irrevocable standby letter of credit from a financial institution (sample) or proof of purchase for any merchandise prize. We will not accept a third party guarantee alone for prizes. Evidence of sufficient funds is not required if all prizes being offered are based on a percentage of sales or if all prizes are being donated.
What is a contractual agreement and when do we need one?
A contractual agreement (sample) is an agreement between the organization and the provider of a prize. Contractual agreements must be submitted with your application for each individual prize valued at $5,000 or more, whether it is donated or purchased.
If we are offering a prize such as a vehicle, is the prize taxable?
Generally, if you are offering a merchandise prize, the organization would pay applicable taxes when buying the prize. If you choose to leave this expense up to the winner of the prize, your ticket and rules must clearly state the exact costs that would be incurred to claim the prize.
Can we offer sellers’ prizes?
Yes, sellers’ prizes can be offered. However, your application must specify what those will be.
Can we hold more than one raffle at a time?
Yes, organizations may be licensed to hold any number of raffles at the same time.
Can we apply for one licence to hold several raffles?
Yes. If you want to run ongoing draws (e.g. 50/50 draws every Friday) you would be issued a one-year licence that would cover all those specific draws. Organizations wanting to run several different types of raffles such as a 50/50 or players choice throughout the year must apply for each licence individually.
Can we get a raffle licence elsewhere?
Organizations based in a rural community wanting to operate a raffle may choose to visit their municipal office, town office, local government district office or band office. These offices are authorized to issue licences to organizations based within their municipality, where the total prize value does not exceed $3,000. Not all municipal offices issue licences. Check to see if this option is available for you. First Nations gaming commissions are also authorized to license charitable gaming events, including raffles, on reserve.
If you plan on using an electronic raffle system the LGA must approve the system and the supplier must be licensed by the LGA; municipalities and First Nations gaming commissions cannot approve electronic raffle systems. However, once your electronic raffle system is approved by the LGA you can apply to municipalities or First Nations gaming commissions for a charitable raffle licence.
Can our organization issue a tax receipt for tickets purchased?
No. Purchasing a lottery ticket is not considered a taxable donation. Please contact the Canada Revenue Agency for information about charitable donations.
We received forms with our raffle licence package. What do we do with these forms?
Organizations with anticipated gross revenue over $10,000 must submit financial reports to the LGA within 60 days after their final draw. Organizations with anticipated gross revenue of $10,000 or less must simply keep records of the licensed event(s) and are not required to submit the forms. All records relating to the conduct and operation of the raffle must be kept by the licensee for at least three years. The LGA may request these records during an inspection, audit or with a subsequent application.
How can I find out what other raffles are going on in my area?
Please click here for a listing of LGA-licensed raffles. This list does not include ongoing raffles such as weekly 50/50 draws or community raffles with anticipated revenue of $10,000 or less.
What is an electronic raffle system?
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.
What has changed to allow charities to now be able to run raffles using computers?
In late 2014, the federal government amended the Criminal Code (Canada) to begin allowing charities to use computers to operate raffles. Prior to these changes, only provincially appointed agencies, such as Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, were authorized to operate gaming on or over a computer. All others, including charities, were prohibited. Now, with the opportunity for charities to use computers to conduct raffles, organizations will be able to modernize their fundraising systems.
My organization wants to use an electronic raffle system. Are there any special requirements?
Only charitable and religious organizations obtaining 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 will need to provide information on how you propose to use the system for your raffle event, and if it’s being supplied or developed in-house. If the electronic raffle system is being supplied, the supplier needs to be licensed by the LGA. As well, the system you use will need to be tested to make sure it is in compliance with the LGA’s technical standards to ensure your raffle event will be conducted fairly.
The LGA will evaluate your application and determine what level of testing is required to ensure the integrity of the raffle.
Who tests electronic raffle systems?
An applicant or gaming supplier may select an accredited testing facility, or other equivalent body that has been approved by the LGA, to perform required testing. Please contact the LGA and we can provide you with a list of currently approved test facilities.