Because there is an abundance of individuals, organizations and companies who are hosting raffles and lotteries, the Lotteries Commission had found it necessary to remind the public that they must receive a license or a letter of authorization from the Lotteries Committee. This is a stern message for schools, churches, and those random people you meet on the street who want to sell you raffles. Love News spoke to the Secretary of the Lotteries Commission Lewin Samuels who says that it is nothing new and that they are enforcing regulations that have been on the books from the 1950’s.
Lewin Samuels, Lotteries Commission: “No person shall promote or conduct any lottery or raffle, any scheme for the distribution of prizes or lot of chance unless he obtains a license or a letter of authorization for a raffle in accordance with the Lotteries Control Act Chapter 151 in accordance with the laws of Belize. Now Chapter 151 of the Laws of Belize is an existing law from ever since. You can find that online if you go to the Laws of Belize, there have been a lot of raffles going on, they are not authorized by us we have no knowledge of them and basically the lotteries committee is here to protect the consumer who purchases these raffles.”
Reporter: Looking at schools that do fundraising, churches, NGOs and even people you know sometimes you hear people raffling cars- so would schools who do these regular yearly raffles for example are they obligated to register ?
Lewin Samuels, Lotteries Commission: “Yes they are obligated to register but in the law it speaks about these charitable organizations, schools and churches whenever their bazaars and so forth they do apply but they are granted a free license. NGOs and other people who are doing raffles for whatever reason in terms of the proceeds are for medical purposes, in aid of some charitable organization the committee looks at those organizations and they are granted a free license provided they state what the proceeds are for.”
Reporter: What kind of fees do they actually pay ? Is it dependent on the quantity, or the amount or the value of the goods ?
Lewin Samuels, Lotteries Commission: “Well if they are doing it legally there is a charge for anyone conducting a raffle. It’s based on the value of the prize. So when you are applying for a license to conduct a raffle you must state what is being raffled, what is the value of the prize, when the raffle will be drawn and normally you should notify the committee who is the winner. Now when it comes to charities there is a 5% of the value, there is a fee $25 for anything within $100-$5,000, $50 for anything $5,000-$10,000 and $100 with prizes over $10,000 per event. Local games like BINGO and other small games pay $300 per annum. Other one day events pay $25.”
Any violation to the lotteries control act and its regulations is an offense and the violators can be taken to court and prosecuted. Parents are reminded that enforcing the regulation does not relieve your child from any social pains associated with selling those sponsored raffle prizes.