How best to manage a prize draw / giveaway?
May 29, 2009 7:49 PM   Subscribe

What rules / laws govern prize draws and contests in Ontario? How best to manage a giveaway much bigger than I've done before?

I'm organising a fund-raising event for a non-profit and a charity (2 separate organisations). I was expecting to giveaway a gift basket and a few CDs as door prizes. I've done this before and never worried about rules governing prize draws in the past at similar events.

Somebody has very kindly donated a trip worth several thousand dollars. This puts me into 'how do I handle this?' territory, as I regularly see long lists of contest rules and 'no purchase necessary' type statements on such contests.

Does Ontario or Canadian law govern such contests?

I was thinking of giving a ballot with a purchase (from the non-profit) or a donation (to the charity). Is this ok? Or do I have to do a 'no purchase necessary' option?

While I will exclude staff of both organisations from the draw, I want to allow volunteers to be able to be able to enter. OK? I will get the person representing the donor to govern all aspects of the draw to ensure no bias.

What else should I know? Hiring a lawyer to draw up rules is not an option. Registering for a license is more than I want to do. I just want to give this thing away to somebody who will appreciate it, raise money for the charity and promote the non-profit.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total)
From what I remember, the reason there is a "no purchase necessary option" is because a contest involving a very large price, pure luck, and purchased raffles/tickets can be treated as a lottery, which is governed rather strictly by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. There's a bit more info here.
posted by Phire at 9:24 PM on May 29, 2009

Don't consult random strangers on the Internet for this type of thing. You need a lawyer. You say it's "not an option," but it could end up costing you and your non-profit a lot more if you don't at least consult one. Anyway, you might be able to get a lawyer to donate his/her time to your cause.
posted by smorange at 10:26 PM on May 29, 2009

First, you need a license from your municipality (rather than the AGCO), since the prize is worth less than $50K.

Then, go here and read Chapter 5. It seems to cover everything you need to know.

Finally, IANAL and really all of my major-raffle-organizing experience is that my high school had one once. All of the above info comes from trawling the AGCO website, so don't take it as gospel.
posted by wsp at 11:11 PM on May 29, 2009

You need a lawyer to answer these questions, period. Or you may have luck calling the AGCO and asking.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:41 PM on May 30, 2009

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