Gaming and Casino Nights (Fun Night Casinos)

Section 197(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides definitions relating to betting, common gaming house, game, keeper etc. and Section 201(1) indicates that keeping a gaming or betting house is illegal.

However, in situations where games of poker, blackjack or roulette were combined with a social evening, the organizer would NOT be keeping a gaming or betting house if:

  • the games were only played on one night
  • no real money was used
  • no fee was charged for playing the games
  • no person or organization made any money from actual playing of the games
  • no lottery schemes were conducted
  • prizes were auctioned off using the phoney money as currency
  • no phoney money is sold throughout the night
  • a private function, not advertised

Further, liquor permitted – appropriate liquor licence must be obtained and there is no age limit – if family oriented, minors can attend and play.

Additionally, section 5.10.4 of the AGLC Liquor Licensee Handbook stipulates:

A "casino night" with 'play' money, where no real money or items of value are exchanged, may be held in a Class C licensed premises, a banquet room of a Class A licensed premises for a private function or a private event with a Special Event License (SEL), including private resale, private non-sale, competition licence and annual private resale licence.

Need information about special event licences?

Fundraising through a Poker Tournament

  • Poker Tournaments for charity fundraising may only be conducted within a licensed casino facility.
  • Casino facilities may be approached to discuss hosting a fundraising event.
  • The casino facility obtains all required approvals from AGLC.
  • The charity holding the casino event licence would be entitled to receive 10% or 2.5% of all entry fees depending on the event buy-in.
  • The casino facility may request an administration fee to be added to cover operational expenses (staffing, use of equipment, etc.) this will be part of their application to AGLC.
  • The casino facility operates the tournament (rules of play, tournament structure, etc.).
  • The casino facility is under no obligation to conduct any event.

Additional Information

Usually, guests of the private function pay to attend, which includes a meal. Everyone is given/provided an envelope with fun money and this money can be used for the auction of prizes. It is not normally designed to make money for the organizer or someone else.

This information should not be taken as legal advice as the AGLC is not in a position to provide same. AGLC has more information on gaming legislation and policies and gaming licences.