Questions related to a Permit, License and Insurance is a super common question for people to ask us! We get it almost daily so decided to put together a page that will guide you into making the correct decisions regarding which permits to get, and whether you need gambling licenses, and if it is mandatory to get Insurance. The AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario) does update their policies from time to time, so it is best to cross reference our suggestions with their website, however we do regular market research to try and stay on top of this as best as we can. Scroll down and you will find the most up to date information that we have! On this page, you will find:
Nowadays, most halls require you to get Party Liability Insurance, also known as PAL, when having a Wedding, Stag & Doe, etc. which will cover you for liability from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000. Some halls have their own Insurance company that they work with and offer great rates. If fact, the Peach King Centre in Grimsby, offers a great rate so be sure to check them out! Would be nice to save you the hassle of having to apply for this separately – just another step in the planning process that you can avoid! If the hall does not offer its own Insurance, then we recommend using PAL Insurance Canada which is the most well known company that offers PAL for Stag & Doe’s and Fundraisers. Also check with your auto or home Insurance provider, as they may offer this.
The last time we checked (Feb 2019), their rates (including tax) were:
$150 if you have between 1 – 100 people
$188 if you have between 101 and 500 people
$220 if you have between 501 and 1000 people
Here is what PAL Insurance Canada’s website says about what they cover:
This program provides protection when lawsuits are brought against individuals, organizations or companies who host single/multi-day functions with alcohol service. Designed for event hosts who are holding reception-type events in a rented facility. A valid liquor permit or license must be in place for service of alcohol. Events with live entertainment OR sports DO NOT qualify for this policy. Note: DJ’s are not considered as live entertainment
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 – Donations – 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?!
You need one of these before you can even consider holding an event that sells alcohol! Be sure to visit the AGCO Website as well as check with the hall to make sure you are following all of their rules too, as you don’t want to have any future issues due to a misunderstanding. Special Occasions Permit or SOP seems complicated at first, but we assure you they are not! Also know that the advice we give in this article, is based on what we knew at the time of writing this. The AGCO can at any time review and rewrite their policies so this is just a guideline.
Not sure which kind of SOP to get? See THIS PAGE for a quick summary. If you are having a Stag & Doe, you are having a Private Event and will need a Sale Permit.
The AGCO is full of information, and they put together this 1 minute video if you want to really understand the process!
One other thing that the AGCO has done for you, is put together a Tip Sheet from May 2017 that should make things pretty clear for you and answer any legality questions:
Do you need a “Private”, “Public” or “Industrial” Special Occasions Permit (also known as a SOP)? Did you need a “Sale Permit” or a “No Sale Permit”? Decisions, decisions! We will break it down for you below.
A “Private Event” with a “Sale Permit” is what most of our customers end up getting for Stag & Doe’s and Fundraisers, which will cost you $150 per day.
The Permit Holder has some responsibilities: They must be present the whole event and be responsible for safety and sobriety of guests, as well as ensure that the event is run properly and in compliance with the Liquor License Act.
We are only going to talk about Private and Public Events on this page, but scroll down to see the AGCO’s tip sheet for more info on the 3 Types of Permits available.
Meant for Stag & Doe’s and smaller events
You can only have invited guests (have a guest list)
There can be no intention to profit from the sale of alcohol at the event
You CANNOT advertise the event publicly
You CAN advertise through social media which is not available for viewing by general public
There can be no unlawful gambling
If indoor, must submit application at least 10 days prior. If outdoor it is 30 days prior
This is a great article to read: CLICK HERE as it explains in more detail what the AGCO recommends for a Private Event
Meant for a Charitable Organization or Not-for-Profit Organizations
Raise funds for charitable purposes (education, religion, relief of poverty, community, etc)
You are allowed to publicly advertise
You can offer alcohol as a prize if there is a lottery license issued to you
Must submit application at least 30 days prior if indoor or outdoor
The cost is $150 per day
Required when there is an admission charge for the event
Alcohol is a cash bar, or people buy tickets to get drinks
No Sale Permit
The cost is $35 per day
Alcohol is served but is free
No money is collected for alcohol
Permit holder absorbs all costs related to alcohol
If you still want more clarification, read the AGCO’s Tip Sheet below. Otherwise, time to get started and fill out their application! CLICK HERE to get started.