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Happy Valley-Goose Bay RCMP remind the public lotteries require licences

The bingo hall is more of a community than gaming den.
Any lottery held anywhere in the province without a lottery licence is illegal, RCMP say. - 123RF Stock Photo

Rules apply in every community in the province

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay RCMP have started contacting people running lotteries in the area to inform them of the rules required to engage in such activities.

Cpl. Rick Mills of the Happy Valley-Goose Bay RCMP said they were notified by Service NL, the government branch responsible for lottery licences, about illegal lotteries running throughout Labrador and on the island. He said right now they’re simply informing people of the rules.

“We’ve been notified of it so we’re notifying the individual groups that we’re aware of about the requirements and to contact Service NL so there won’t be any further problems down the road,” Mills told The Labradorian.

Administrators of some local Facebook buy and sell groups have recently posted about the issue, stating that a post about a lottery requires the lottery licence number or it will not be posted. The lotteries posted in these groups can range from very small to very large, with some being just to raise money for things such as medical travel to lotteries with prizes in excess of $20,000. Regardless of the reason for the lottery a licence is still required, Mills said.

“I think a lot of it is people just don’t realize, whether they have good intentions or not, a licence is required as well,” he said.

When contacted by The Labradorian, Service NL said those wishing to conduct a lottery must obtain a licence in accordance with the Terms and Conditions and the Rules for Lotteries, which are available on the Service NL website (www.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/lotteries).

According to those rules a lottery is ‘any game in which you are required to pay a fee or give something to enter, this is called consideration, there is a draw or some way that randomly picks a winner, this is called chance, and you win a prize.’

In N.L. there are only two types of lotteries permitted, those run by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation or games that are conducted by charitable and not-for-profit organizations.

The types of groups that can get a lottery licence are incorporated not-for-profit groups such as museums; music groups; health associations; churches; sports and recreation groups that have a valid Lotteries Amateur Sports Certification, recreation groups that have a valid lotteries recreation certification; volunteer fire departments registered with the Office of the Fire Commissioner; seniors groups that are an incorporated not-for-profit or a member in good standing of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pensioners, Senior Citizens/50+ Federation; K-12 Schools and college and university groups; service clubs who are incorporated not-for-profit or are affiliated with grand lodges or chapters; and scouting, guiding and cadet groups.

Subsequently, any lottery that isn’t run by the ALC or one of these organizations are illegal.

According to an Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (ATIPP) request made by The Labradorian, there are currently 21 active lottery licences in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, one in North West River, and none in Sheshatshiu.

When asked if Sheshatshiu would be exempt from provincial lottery laws, as has been suggested by posts on some of those Facebook buy and sell groups, both Service NL and the RCMP said they are not.

“Not at all,” Mills said. “Sheshatshiu is no different than any community, they still require a lottery licence to carry on different types of lottery schemes. These rules apply everywhere within the province.”

He said before people engage in any type of gambling or any type of event they should give Service NL a call and go through the proper channels.

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