Canada: Vous Avez Probablement Participé A Une Loterie Illégale A Votre Insu…

Loin de moi l'idée de freiner vos élans de générosité, mais sachez que si vous avez déjà acheté des billets de tirage d'un collègue de bureau qui voulait amasser de l'argent pour une Suvre de charité, et que ce tirage n'était pas enregistré auprès de la Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec (RACJ), vous avez participé à une loterie illégale.

Même si on dit souvent que « c'est l'intention qui compte », ce n'est malheureusement pas suffisant pour rendre un tirage légal...

Qu'est-ce qui rend une loterie illégale ?

Une loterie est illégale si elle implique les trois éléments suivants : (1) l'attribution d'un prix; (2) au hasard / par chance ; (3) moyennant une contrepartie de la part des participants (art. 206 du Code criminel).

En d'autre termes, cela interdit essentiellement toutes les formes de tirages au sort couramment organisés, où l'on demande aux participants de contribuer (monétairement ou autrement) pour avoir la chance de gagner un prix.

Qu'est-ce que vous risquez ?

L'organisation d'une loterie illégale est un acte criminel passible d'une peine d'emprisonnement maximale de deux ans (art. 206(1) du Code criminel).

De même, quiconque achète, prend ou reçoit un billet ou un prix dans le cadre d'une loterie illégale se rend coupable d'une infraction punissable sur déclaration de culpabilité par procédure sommaire (art. 206(4) du Code criminel).

Bref, cela peut vous coûter beaucoup plus cher que si vous aviez simplement fait un chèque ou un don en ligne à l'organisme de votre choix...

Comment organiser un tirage légalement ?

Prenez-vous d'avance.

Avec le temps des fêtes qui approche (déjà !) et la multiplication des activités caritatives, mieux vaut y penser dès maintenant si vous voulez organiser un tirage car le processus est à la fois long et lourd.

D'abord, il faut obligatoirement obtenir une licence de la RACJ.

Cependant, n'obtient pas une licence de tirage qui veut. Seuls les organismes à but non lucratif (OSBL) peuvent obtenir une licence. Il faut en plus que le tirage soit fait au profit d'Suvres charitables ou religieuses en accord avec les fins que poursuit l'OSBL. Vous aurez donc compris qu'un individu ou toute entité autre qu'un OSBL ne peut légalement tenir un tirage, même si « c'est pour une bonne cause »...

Ensuite, il faut être prêt à fournir un nombre de documents assez impressionnant. En plus de remplir le formulaire d'obtention de licence de la RACJ, l'OSBL devra, entre autres, fournir une copie de ses lettres patentes ou de son certificat de constitution, un document démontrant les fins qu'il poursuit, une copie de la résolution autorisant la personne à faire la demande, ses plus récents états financiers complets et ses prévisions budgétaires pour l'ensemble de ses opérations, incluant le tirage.

La demande d'obtention de licence doit être produite à la RACJ au moins 30 jours avant la date prévue du tirage. Des frais administratifs sont également associés à cette demande. Les billets de tirage doivent également revêtir une forme particulière.

Enfin, gardez en tête que l'après-tirage n'est pas non plus de tout repos. L'OSBL doit fournir un rapport à la RACJ des bénéfices nets et bruts résultant du tirage en plus d'un formulaire de calcul des bénéfices nets et un rapport d'utilisation des fonds. L'OSBL doit également conserver les fonds dans un compte bancaire distinct, et les dépenser dans l'année de délivrance de la licence.

En somme, assurez-vous que les bénéfices que vous pensez retirer du tirage valent les coûts et les efforts impliqués dans l'obtention d'une licence...

Quelles alternatives s'offrent à vous ?

Si vous voulez amasser des fonds pour un organisme et que la perspective de simplement demander à vos collègues de faire un don en ligne vous ennuie, l'encan silencieux peut être une option intéressante. Au lieu de faire tirer les lots au hasard, les gens ont la possibilité de faire des enchères sur des lots particuliers, la plupart du temps en inscrivant leur nom et le montant de leur mise sur une feuille de papier correspondant à chaque lot. La personne qui a offert la mise la plus haute pour un lot donné l'emporte. Cette façon de faire permet de respecter le Code criminel, puisqu'on enlève l'élément de chance et de hasard associé à l'activité.

En espérant de ne pas vous avoir découragés de donner généreusement aux organismes qui vous sont chers !

* Je tiens à remercier Charline Guay, étudiante, pour son aide à la recherche relative à la réglementation des tirages.

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

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