THUNDER BAY – Police are urging the public to avoid unlicensed lotteries and raffles that have been popping up on social media.
Det. Const. Darren Kondreska, an investigator with the Thunder Bay Police Service's economic crimes unit, said police have received complants from Alcohol and Gaming Commission of lotteries and raffles being done on Facebook.
"Looking at a few sites we've identified, there are a lot of members on these groups. Some have as many as 2,000 who are participating," Kondreska said. "They're raffling various prizes – hot tubs, barbecues – some pretty big ticket items, all the way down to gift certificates for local eateries and businesses."
The lotteries and raffles have seemed to have started locally since the start of the year, Kondreska added.
Legislation governing lotteries requires a license. Operating without a license is an offence and could lead to criminal charges.
"The big concern is that these lotteries are unlicensed," Kondreska said on Wednesday. "We're looking at the complaints on a case by case basis right now to determine if they are licensed or not and providing some educational component to people running these sites on how to obtain licensing if they should choose. There are always concerns of fraud if the sites are unlicensed."
There have not been any specific reports of people being defrauded locally, he said, but it's always a risk when dealing with unregulated and unlicensed activity.