Information Bulletin: AGCO Announces a New Social Gaming Licence for Casual Game Play

Information Bulletin
Lottery and Gaming

December 4, 2020

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is announcing a new licence to accommodate options for casual social gaming activities. Providing community and seniors’ groups, social and service clubs, and others with greater flexibility for small-stakes social gaming events, the licence applies to a variety of commonly played games such as cribbage, bridge, or bingo. 

For your information: On December 4, 2020, the AGCO also introduced a new opportunity for charitable gaming. For information, please see: Info Bulletin – AGCO Announces Progressive Jackpot Raffle Opportunity for Legions and other Service Clubs.

Note: Given current COVID-19 restrictions, this new Social Gaming Licence will only be made available once public health officials deem it safe to do so. At that time, a simple online application process will be available through the iAGCO portal. AGCO will provide an update on the status of this licence by the end of January 2021.

Once permitted, all licensees and participants will be expected to comply with physical distancing measures and any other public health orders, restrictions and guidelines for social gatherings that have been issued by the Ontario Government and other applicable levels of government.

Who is this new Social Gaming Licence for?

This new Social Gaming Licence is intended for social and service clubs, community and seniors’ groups, organizations, individual applicants or charities that host casual social gaming events in public places. The licence, which was developed in response to requests from community groups, municipalities, and others for AGCO to permit small-stakes gaming on a range of social games (such as cribbage, bridge or bingo), is intended to enhance or provide social interaction opportunities for community members such as seniors.

All proceeds from these games are paid out in prizes, minus a nominal fee for the organizer to cover expenses to run the event. Charitable organizations may obtain a licence, but fundraising is not the purpose of the licence. The licence is not for use to conduct games as a revenue source for applicants. This licence is not intended for private homes.

Note: Social gaming events cannot take place in liquor licensed premises. However, Service Clubs and service organizations will be permitted to obtain a Social Gaming Licence whether or not they also hold a liquor licence.

Financial Obligations Under the Social Gaming Licence

This new Social Gaming Licence is intended for casual social games where the wagers are awarded to the winners, less permitted expenses. No fees, entrance or admission may be charged. Under the new licence, bet limits on social games may not exceed $2 per person and total cash prizes awarded for all gaming activities must not exceed $500 per calendar day. These limits are prescribed by the Criminal Code of Canada s.207(1)(d), Public Places of Amusement.

Obtaining a Licence using iAGCO online services

The Social Gaming Licence will only be issued by the AGCO. Once available, those interested will be able to apply for the licence through the iAGCO online portal. As part of the straightforward application process, the licence will be issued immediately provided that the application is complete and meets all requirements. Applicants can re-apply every year, and at such time can update their name or contact information if needed.

Social Gaming Licence and Game Highlights

Licence Details:

  • There is no licence fee.
  • The licence is valid for a period of 12 months and can be used for multiple events over the course of a year.
  • Organizations are limited to one licence for social gaming at any time and may not hold multiple licences on any calendar day or at any location. 
  • The licensee is responsible and accountable for the overall conduct and management of the Social Gaming Event.  
  • The licence cannot be advertised or marketed to target underage persons.

Game Details:

  • Bet limits on social games may not exceed $2 per person. 
  • Total cash prizes awarded for all gaming activities must not exceed $500 per calendar day.
  • The licence does not impose limits on the number or frequency of games, as long as no more than $500 per day is awarded in prizes, including all activity over the course of the day. The licensee named on the licence is responsible for managing this limit on prize money per day.
  • The Social Gaming Licence is intended for casual social games where the total wagers are awarded to the winner, less permitted expenses. The licensee is permitted to recover up to $50 per day to cover expenses for event costs only (i.e., providing goods and services at cost).
  • The licence can be used for a variety of games that are commonly played, such as cribbage, bridge, and other small stakes games.
  • Rules of Play must be made readily available to all players. These could include commonly accepted rules for the game being played.
  • Casino games are not permitted.
  • Games are not permitted to be played on or through an electronic device.
  • People under the age of 18 must not be allowed to participate.

Helpful Resources

Information about services to support problem gambling in Ontario are available at the Connex Ontario or by phone at 1-866-531-2600.

For more information

  • Call AGCO Customer Service Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at 416-326-8700 or toll free 1-800-522-2876
  • Email customer service at
  • Submit an inquiry online via the iAGCO portal (an iAGCO account is not required).