WATERDOWN — The Ontario government is establishing new charitable gaming options that will make it easier for people to honour heroes and support their communities at Royal Canadian Legion branches and other local service clubs across the province. The province is offering a new, free social gaming licence that will allow legions and other local community groups to host small stakes games like bridge, euchre and bingo. Legions and charities will also benefit from new opportunities to fundraise through progressive jackpot (loonie and toonie) raffle lotteries. “Legions are there for veterans and our communities when we need them, and it is important we do all we can to help them thrive,” said Donna Skelly, Parliamentary Assistant to Attorney General Downey and Member of Provincial Parliament for Flamborough-Glanbrook. “These new features will give people more ways to support vibrant communities while honouring heroes and enjoying the company of family and friends.” Legions and other community groups can apply for the social gaming licence through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s online portal as of December 1. “Ontarians have always stepped up to honour heroes at their local Royal Canadian Legion branches – not only on Remembrance Day, but all year long,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “By making these common-sense changes to allow service organizations like legions to host small stakes games and hold more raffles, we are providing more options for people to support veterans and their communities.” Progressive jackpot raffles will be licensed by local municipalities or First Nations with an Order in Council, and will become available in the coming weeks.
All licensees and participants must comply with proof of vaccination requirements, physical distancing measures and any other public health measures issued by the Ontario and/or or local government.
There are about 400 Royal Canadian Legion chapters across Ontario, with approximately 100,000 members.
Legions support and advocate for the needs of veterans, their families and those still serving in the Canadian Forces, as well as sponsoring sports, youth and seniors’ programs and raising funds for local and regional organizations.
The progressive jackpot raffle lottery is a paper-based multiple-draw game where the prize, if not won, is carried over from one draw to the next. Tickets can cost up to $2 to play. For this raffle, there is a maximum prize of $2,500, at which time the pot must be awarded and the raffle starts again.
The types of games permitted under the new social gaming licence will include games such as euchre, cribbage, bridge, and bingo. Casino-type games will be excluded. All prizes must be paid out to players, minus a nominal fee for the organizer to cover expenses. This licence may not be used as a source of revenue or fundraising.
"The Royal Canadian Legion is a valued part of Ontario’s history and culture. Local branches are important to our communities – sponsoring local sports, youth and seniors programs and offering a safe, friendly space for community events. Establishing new fundraising opportunities empowers local branches to continue providing vital services that make a real difference in the lives of veterans and their communities."
- Hon. Lisa MacLeod
Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries
"Ontario Command of the Royal Canadian Legion is extremely pleased with this announcement. This new and free social gaming license will help to provide much needed funding for our legion branches and therefore our communities as a whole!"
- Garry Pond
Ontario Command President, Royal Canadian Legion
"Today’s announcement is a positive step forward and we are excited to hear more. These much-needed funds will help to maintain our facilities so we can support our veterans and communities."
- Sheila Latner
President, Branch 551, Waterdown Royal Canadian Legion
"Ontario Charitable Gaming Association applauds the government for once again stepping up to support non-profits in Ontario. Progressive Jackpots will provide legions and service clubs with yet another opportunity to raise funds for their services and programs in their local communities, while the new social gaming license offers social engagement experiences for members and patrons."
- Lynn Cassidy
Director of the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association