The August 2007 newsletter included a brief overview of the requirements in the Criminal Code that charities must follow when raising money through gaming. In addition to obtaining a gaming licence to comply with the Criminal Code, charities running independent gambling operations must also comply with provisions within the Competition Act.
The Competition Act requires a charity to provide players with adequate and fair disclosure made in a reasonably conspicuous manner prior to the person enrolling in the event. The disclosure should be made at the point of sale and should include:
- The approximate value of the prizes;
- Whether any of the prizes are to be allocated on a regional basis;
- Whenever the total number of prizes are known, the chances of winning should be disclosed;
- If the event involves a series of prizes awarded at different times, care must be taken to ensure that any promotional material does not imply that prizes remain to be won when they have already been awarded;
- Where ‘early bird’ prizes are to be awarded, the advertiser should disclose the dates of the draws.
Furthermore, the Competition Act requires that the distribution of prizes cannot be unduly delayed. The selection of participants and prizes to be distributed must be allocated on a random or skill-testing basis.
If a charity contravenes these provisions, the Commissioner of Competition may initiate an inquiry into whether the conduct is reviewable. If following a review, a court determines that a person has engaged in conduct contrary to that outlined above, the charity could be fined up to $100,000 for a first offence and $200,000 thereafter.