Waterloo Region Record

Store raffle runs afoul of lottery law

Kitchener contest cancelled, refunds issued after owner gets a visit from the police

- BRENT DAVIS Waterloo Region Record bdavis@therecord.com Twitter: @DavisRecor­d

KITCHENER — Kevin Ivory’s attempt to raffle off the contents of his Kitchener sports collectibl­es store ended with a visit from the police.

Last month, Ivory launched a contest to offer All-Star Sports Collectibl­es’ inventory and fixtures to a lucky ticket buyer after an earlier attempt to sell the business didn’t lead to a deal.

He set up a dedicated website, selling tickets for $100 each or six for $500 for the chance to win at least $250,000 worth of sports memorabili­a and collectibl­es.

And he thought he’d done his homework, having spoken with a lawyer and contacting the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to see if he needed a licence.

Ivory said he was told his idea was outside the AGCO’s jurisdicti­on, as he was not representi­ng a charitable or religious organizati­on interested in holding a gaming activity like a raffle. Ivory understood that to mean he didn’t require a licence, and no one from the AGCO ever said his raffle would be illegal, he maintains.

“If they would have used those words, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong ... If I did I wouldn’t have (gone) ahead.”

But a couple of weeks ago, Ivory said a pair of Waterloo Regional Police officers showed up at the store, located at Sportsworl­d Crossing. Someone had apparently complained about the raffle; police advised him the raffle was unlawful.

Ivory stopped selling tickets, announced the cancellati­on on social media, and issued refunds to purchasers. He said he had sold roughly 500 tickets.

“I didn’t want people thinking we were trying to do some kind of scam,” he said. “It is frustratin­g.”

Canada’s Criminal Code outlines permitted gaming activities, including raffles, and the provinces are assigned responsibi­lity for operating, licensing and regulating those activities, AGCO spokespers­on Raymond Kahnert said in an email.

In Ontario, the AGCO, in associatio­n with municipal officials, can issue licences to charitable and religious organizati­ons to conduct lotteries.

“An individual or associatio­n that is not a charitable or religious organizati­on would not be eligible for a licence,” Kahnert said.

“Violations of the Criminal Code are a matter for the local police ... It is my understand­ing that the local store owner contacted the AGCO and was advised that the AGCO had no authority to issue a raffle licence.”

The AGCO also oversees the licensing of games of chance at fairs and exhibition­s, and approves rules of play for games managed by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporatio­n.

With just four months left on his lease, Ivory is trying to sell the 11-year-old business the convention­al way once again, asking $159,999. He’ll be forced to liquidate his merchandis­e if he doesn’t land a deal.

 ?? BRENT DAVIS WATERLOO REGION RECORD FILE PHOTO ?? Kevin Ivory has cancelled a raffle to sell off the contents of this store.
BRENT DAVIS WATERLOO REGION RECORD FILE PHOTO Kevin Ivory has cancelled a raffle to sell off the contents of this store.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada