An Edmonton woman who was raising money for her post-secondary education has been told to remove her Hatchimal GoFundMe campaign or she could face criminal charges.
Nicole Upshall bought a Hatchimal off Kijiji for $140 on Nov. 10. She created a GoFundMe campaign that gave people a chance to win the treasured toy if they contributed $10 toward her education.
“I was going to buy it and just resell it… but then I just got the idea that I would give more people a chance to win it,” Upshall said.
Upshall was planning on writing the names of all her donors on a piece of paper and pulling one out of a jar to select the winner.
However, after the story was posted to Global News’ website, she received an email from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) saying her fundraiser is considered a lottery scheme as per the Criminal Code of Canada.
“I was a little panicked when I received the email because I didn’t want to be breaking the law,” Upshall said.
“As soon as it mentioned criminal I thought, ‘No, I’m not a criminal.’”
In an email to Upshall, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission explained:
“As per the Criminal Code of Canada this would be considered a lottery scheme whereby there is chance, consideration and a prize being awarded. In Alberta it is only lawful for the government to conduct and manage lotteries. Charitable and religious organizations are eligible to apply for different types of licensing.
“There are no provisions for individuals to run any type of lottery schemes,” the AGLC said. “I would ask that you please cease and remove your ad from social media.”
In an email to Global News, the AGLC said it tries to take a consistent approach to lotteries in the province “because this type of fundraising is available for the benefit of charitable organizations.”
Upshall raised $135 and said she will now refund her donors their money. She said she hasn’t decided what she’s going to do with her Hatchimal.
The lusted-after interactive egg has sold out online and in stores. On Thursday afternoon, a Hatchimal was posted for more than $80,000 on eBay Canada.
The toys were priced at priced at $59.99 each when they first hit the market on Oct. 7.
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With files from Sarah Offin, Global News