Changes Introduced to Operation of Charitable Lotteries under the Criminal Code

February 11, 2014

As a further measure designed to increase the efficiency of registered charities, the Budget proposes to revise the provisions of the Criminal Code that impose restrictions on how charities can conduct lottery sales in support of their causes. Under section 207(4)(c) of the Criminal Code, charities are not permitted to operate any charitable gaming activities including lotteries “on or through a computer.” Charities are therefore required to process and activate all sales manually and send customers their tickets by mail.

The Budget proposes to amend the Criminal Code to permit charities to conduct various aspects of lotteries through the use of computer technology, including the use of e-commerce for purchasing, processing and issuing of lottery tickets and issuing receipts to donors.

The Budget notes that several prominent Canadian charities that run large charitable lotteries have urged this change, which will significantly lower the administrative costs of operating these programs. The Budget also confirms that it will engage in consultations with the provinces and territories on the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code.

We will keep our readers advised as this issue progresses.

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