Canada’s Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has officially launched an electronic 50/50 raffle system, in a bid to help Ontario charities raise more money for social causes and offer bigger prizes to players.

The new system has been launched through a partnership between Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) Foundation, the charitable arm of the owners of ice hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs and basketball team the Toronto Raptors, and the Ottawa Senators Foundation, the charity of the Maple Leafs’ rival team the Ottawa Senators.

It sees charity volunteers use electronic hand-held devices to sell and record each 50/50 transaction at all Maple Leaf, Raptor and Senators home games, replacing the previous manual system. The system features real-time displays of total prize money on offer in the raffle, and allows sellers to reach more patrons and generate larger income through ticket sales.

OLG says the electronic system will also enhance the integrity and accuracy of 50/50 raffles by tracking every dollar.

The official launch follows two pilot programmes earlier this year, and sees Ontario join the likes of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in deploying an electronic system. According to OLG, these provinces have significantly increased the money raised through raffles under the electronic system.

Further expansion of electronic 50/50 draws will also be considered through partnerships with other charitable organisations across Ontario.

Under Canada’s Criminal Code, only OLG can operate electronic games of chance in Ontario, with electronic 50/50 raffles coming under this definition.