To help answer this common question about whether or not you need to get a Gambling License, we went to directly to the source and have copied and pasted excerpts right from representatives of the AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario). That way we know we are giving you the right info! Keep in mind, that that you should definitely cross reference our advice with their website, as the information you are about to read was the most current that we knew about, at the time of writing the article (March 2019). This is just advice that we are giving you here, but it would be wise to double check things to ensure you are doing everything by the book.
To be quite frank here, if everyone followed the AGCO’s rules perfectly, most halls would be out of business, and we would also be out of business!! We believe you just have to be creative with how you do things. Basically they do not like to see actual cash out at each game as they do not want people winning money. We have been told that one idea is to instead sell raffle tickets at the front door as your guests enter, and they can use these raffle tickets to “gamble” with at the games.
They can give a raffle ticket to the person running the Golf Putt Challenge game for example vs. actual money and get a shot at it. Just like they do when you go to a town fair – you give them money, they give you game tickets, and that is how you play their games. The other way around things from what we have heard, is to not give away money as a prize, but instead an actual tangible prize. If it is donated then even better!
One other important thing to note, is that they say Games of Skill are good but Games of Chance are bad. So games like Hockey Shootout, Hole in One, Bra Pong, Bean Bag Toss – these all requires skill. Other games like the Wheels and Plinko are all won by chance. With that said, the Crown & Anchor and Plinko, are our most popular rentals, so figure that one out!
A spokesperson from the AGCO was quoted in this article saying that Games of Skill are acceptable as well as a few other ideas:
As for games of chance and 50-50 tickets, she said people holding a stag and doe can try different ones (games of skill are allowed) or an auction, or simply charge more for tickets.
So that is why it is important to ask the hall if they have a gambling license because then you are permitted to run raffles. In this article, they are quoted saying that there are 5 ways to make money at your fundraiser:
– Ticket Sales
– Silent Auctions – get prizes donated, but no liquor bottles. You can get LCBO or Beer Store gift certificates and have people write their bids down on a piece of paper. Try to get the Bride’s side bidding against the Groom’s side to increase the bid amounts
– Live Auction (same as above except with a lively auctioneer!)
– Games of Skill – not chance (putting contests, scoring contests, nailing the log, guessing how many jelly beans in a jar etc.) and then all of the funds raised through these methods go directly to the Bride and Groom
So now that we have cleared that all up for you, are things clear as mud now?!