Charitable Lottery Regulations

Charitable Gaming Regulations in British Columbia

March 21, 2023

British Columbia (BC), like every province or territory in Canada, has its own set of rules and regulations governing lottery for charity. We’ve broken down BC’s charitable gaming rules for you and done our best to explain a few of the trickier parts. If you’re planning on running a  charitable gaming event in BC and are wondering if, for example, you need a lottery licence for a 50/50 in BC or you want to know if you can apply for a gambling event licence or check your licence application status online, we’re here to help.

Before we get into the details, we just want to say that, yes you can use Zeffy’s 100% free event management software for nonprofits (we don’t even charge transaction fees) to sell tickets online in BC—there are a few conditions that we mention in this article. We’ve also written down the steps for setting up your online raffle, but you should keep reading before you get started.

What is a lottery?

Well, in classic Canadian style, the official definition varies ever so slightly from province to province. In British Columbia, licensed charitable gaming rules are regulated by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB)—and according to the GPEB, for an activity to be considered gaming, the following three elements must be present:

  1. Consideration: players must pay or exchange something of value to be eligible to participate.
  2. Prize: an award of money or anything of value.
  3. Chance: the outcome cannot be pre-determined or determined solely by skill.

Gaming laws in British Columbia state that the GPEB are responsible for issuing charitable lottery licences to nonprofits.

Online ticket sales for nonprofits in BC.

In British Columbia, you can use online payment methods, such as Zeffy’s ticketing forms, for Class A and B events. Class A events are events that are projected to earn more that $20,000 in gross revenue. Class B events are events that are projected to earn $20,000 or less in gross revenue.

The types of gaming allowed online include: prize raffles, bingo, draws, social occasion casinos, 50/50 draws and a few other events.

If you’re going to use Zeffy’s free fundraising ticket templates and online ticket sales for nonprofits in BC, a couple conditions have to be met:

  • Zeffy can only be used as a method for accepting and buying tickets.
  • The buyer’s address must be in British Columbia.
  • The payment method must be PCI compliant. (Zeffy is PCI compliant!)
  • The ticket must be printed by the organization and sent to the buyer by mail or scanned and sent by email. If you want to distribute online tickets you need to apply and be approved for an Electronic Raffle System (ERS). Zeffy is not a registered ERS.

To apply to use an ERS, choose the Electronic Raffle System option when you apply for a Class A or Class B licence during your online application and include an addendum and gaming service provider contract with your applications.

For all the rules and regulations concerning electronic raffle systems in BC, check out section 12 of the Licensed Charitable Gaming Rules.

How to get a BC charitable gaming licence.

First, read the Licensed Charitable Gaming Rules and then follow the step-by-step instructions in the Licence Application Guides.

When you apply, you’ll need to include the following information:

  • Any eligibility documents, if applicable.
  • The full name and address of your organization and its general purpose.
  • All gaming event location(s), date(s) and time(s).
  • The type of gaming event (i.e. ticket raffle, bingo) and the amount of tickets for sale, pricing and prize details.
  • How the net proceeds (funds) will be used to benefit the community, a specified third party, or the group or organization.
  • The names addresses and phone numbers of the correct number of persons listed on the application.

Keep in mind that you’ll need a separate licence for each type of nonprofit organization event and there are minimum processing times for charitable event applications:

  • 10-weeks for Class A.
  • 10 business days for Class B.

Lottery licence fees.

There is a $50 processing fee for Class A events and a $25 processing fee for Class B events. Read gambling event licence classes and types to learn more about BC’s licensing classes.

We’ve whipped up an example of a fundraiser ticket with all the info in the right places.

Side A:

Side B:

Or you can use the ticket raffle event sample ticket from the GPEB. (We’ve made sure our sample tickets include all the required information.)

Things to keep in mind when applying for a nonprofit gaming licence in BC:

  • Send your application a minimum of 10-weeks in advance for a Class A gaming licence and 10 business days for a Class B.
  • Follow the Licensed Charitable Gaming Rules and check the GPEB website for any updates.
  • The seller (you) and buyers of the raffle tickets must both be physically located in British Columbia during the sale.
  • The lottery licence number must be on all communication pieces related to your lottery event.
  • The paperwork doesn’t stop once you get your licence. Read more here. (Scroll down.)
  • You can contact the GPEB in a lot of ways.

Some helpful links for a charity lottery in British Columbia.

Here’s a recap of all the documents mentioned in this article:

The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB)

Contact the GPEB in a lot of ways

The online application form

Licensed Charitable Gaming Rules

Licence Application Guides

Apply for a BC gaming licence

A sample ticket

BC gambling event licence classes and types

Zeffy’s online raffle how-to guide

If you need them: charitable lottery licence for Canada’s provinces and territories.

Charitable Lottery Regulations in Alberta

Charitable Lottery Regulations in Manitoba

Charitable Lottery Regulations in New Brunswick

Charitable Lottery Regulations in Newfoundland and Labrador

Charitable Lottery Regulations in Nova Scotia

Charitable Lottery Regulations in Ontario

Charitable Lottery Regulations in PEI

Charitable Lottery Regulations in Quebec

Charitable Lottery Regulations in Saskatchewan