It's the time of year when many non-profit groups are selling fundraising raffle tickets, whether they be for a trip-of-the-month, championship game pools, or plain raffles for money and/or prizes.

With the advent of the internet, some will post their raffles on social media web-sites, advertising to friends across Canada, and in some cases around the world.

I'll admit to being a "downer" when I point out to friends that they should not be buying or selling raffle tickets to residents of other provinces. After all, what is the harm?

I'm glad you asked! First of all, in Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority ("SLGA") specifies with every gaming licence issued that "ticket sales must take place within Saskatchewan". They further provide that "[p]ersons visiting from out of province may purchase a ticket if the entire transaction of payment and receipt of ticket occurs while the person is in Saskatchewan." Thus, by selling to people living outside of the province, who are not in the province at the time of sale, a seller is violating the terms under which the licence for sale was issued.

Some will point out that many raffles are now sold on-line. While true, the rules relating to such sales provide that the platform must be able to reasonably detect the physical location of a person attempting to access the service. This is why, if you have an IP address located outside the province where the raffle is located, you will be prevented from making a purchase.

I have been asked a few times why the SLGA, or similar organizations in other provinces, are so strict and for the answer, one has to go to the Criminal Code of Canada.

Under Part VII of the Criminal Code, gaming and betting, with certain exemptions, are illegal. One exemption is pursuant to paragraph 207(1)(b) of the Code, which provides that it is lawful:

for a charitable or religious organization, pursuant to a licence issued by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of a province or by such other person or authority in the province as may be specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council thereof, to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in that province if the proceeds from the lottery scheme are used for a charitable or religious object or purpose.

(This paragraph also answers another question I have been asked, as to why the SLGA will refer someone seeking to get a gaming licence to find a charitable or religious organization to sponsor their raffle.)

There is another provision that does allow for a province to grant permission for tickets issued in another province to be sold in their province, but that would require the selling organization to apply in multiple provinces.

As a result, it isn't the SLGA who is preventing the sale of tickets across provincial borders; it is the Criminal Code of Canada. By extension, anyone found selling across provincial borders, is not only in violation of the licence issued by the SLGA, but is also committing a Criminal Code offence!

So, as much as you might want to help support, or get the support of, family or friends in other provinces, it is better to stick with those who are close to home.

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