How It Works

Charitable Gaming

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Some charities rely almost exclusively on fundraising to operate. Games of chance can be a popular and successful means of raising money for community and not-for-profit groups. The two most common games are Bingo and Charity Raffles.

The Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division (AGFTD) of Service Nova Scotia issues gaming licences to organizations that raise funds for charitable purposes. This includes Bingo, ticket lotteries, and carnival games of chance. The AGFTD makes sure these groups follow the rules and that the games are being played fairly and honestly.

Bingo and raffles are popular among adults and all the same responsible gambling rules of thumb apply. Your best bet is to check out our tips for keeping the fun in the game.

Charitable Bingo 

We love to play Bingo, especially for a worthy cause. The excitement of being the first one to yell “Bingo” attracts us to halls and community centres to enjoy this social game which can offer cash or merchandise prizes. When playing Bingo, you use cards with numbers under each of the letters B-I-N-G-O and daubers, which are like large markers.

Each game has a Bingo caller who announces each ball as it comes out randomly from the bingo machine. Balls are marked with numbers from 1-75. When the caller announces each number you find that number on your card and mark it with your dauber. Depending on the game, a single line, four corners, a full card, or a specific pattern such as an “L” or a “X” will be asked for by the caller.

You can win if you are the first player to call “Bingo” when you get the specified pattern. If more than one player calls “Bingo” the prize will be split.

The odds of winning Bingo depends on the number of cards you are playing divided by the total amount of cards being played at the same time. For example, if you are playing two cards and there are 100 cards in play, your chances of winning are two in 100, which also means you have a 98% chance of losing.

Some Bingo games offer progressive jackpot games in which there is not a guaranteed winner. The odds of winning this type of game depend more on the difficulty of covering the pattern in the predetermined number of calls. The odds can be so steep in some progressive games that it may be weeks or even months before somebody wins.  The jackpot, and the excitement, builds from week to week until it is won.

In all cases, groups must obtain a lottery license from the AGFTD and abide by the rules associated with the license they are given.

Charitable Ticket Lottery 

Many charities, sports teams, community groups, and other organizations hold raffles throughout the year as a way to raise money for various purposes. Prizes run the full spectrum from small cash or merchandise prizes to cars and even houses. Charitable raffles are a fun way to support a local cause and have the chance to win a prize, but remember you will not get a charitable receipt because it is considered gambling.

In all cases, groups selling these tickets must obtain a lottery license from the AGFTD and abide by the rules associated with the license they are given.