RCMP Warns Against Rogue Bingo Games

By Ben Hamill - May 20 2020
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RCMP Warns Against Rogue Bingo Games

The best of intentions aside, Canadians have been warned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to refrain from participating in unlicensed Bingo and Lottery games, even when engaged with via social media platforms. Hosting or even just participating in Lottery games not officially licensed by Canada’s Service NL is a criminal offense under the country’s Criminal Code, police have cautioned. Service NL licenses are as a rule exclusively reserved for charities, religious organisations, etc. This however does not mean that anyone is now automatically at liberty to host a Lottery or Bingo fundraiser for non-profit and charity organisations. Consultation must first be had with said organisation and only in the event that the intended beneficiary organisation is already licensed to host fundraiser Lottery and Bingo events of its own.

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Any game that requires a fee or gift changing hands, however small or seemingly insignificant, is considered a Lottery game by law. A secondary qualifier is the presence of a lucky draw or a prize winner picked at random.

No Licence – No Play

The RCMP in its statement cautioned specifically about the need to ensure that a licence is already in place when wanting to host a fundraiser for an organisation in need of public funding. Since the issuing of all new licenses has been indefinitely suspended until further notice, there isn’t any scenario that would practically allow for an urgent license to be obtained given present challenges.

There will obviously be no ramifications to be faced by those duly licensed. Police specifically cautioned against engaging in hosting or participating in games hosted without the required licence locked into place.

Allowed Games, When Licensed

“Normal” circumstances dictate that the only Lotteries legally permitted to be operated in Newfoundland and Labrador are the following:

  • Bingo
  • Ticketed Lotteries
  • Games of Chance
  • Monte Carlo
  • Chase the Ace
  • Sports Lotteries
  • Break-open tickets

It’s important to keep in mind what the purpose of a licence really is. Not only does a licence prevent a charity organisation from being taken for a ride and money taken from those who really need that money of living essentials, but the licensing process also sees to it that non-profit and charity organisations remain accountable to those they claim to serve and that the money is merely used to enrich the people in charge of raising the funds. Licenses furthermore prevent under-aged people from developing an unhealthy relationship with games of chance.

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