Alberta hockey foundations pleased with introduction of online 50/50 ticket sales ahead of NHL playoffs

The Edmonton Oilers 50/50 set records Wednesday. Now some other local organizations with the same online fundraisers say the frenzy has been helpful.
The Edmonton Oilers 50/50 set records Wednesday. Now some other local organizations with the same online fundraisers say the frenzy has been helpful. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis has introduced new electronic options for charity raffles across the province.

In a news release Friday, AGLC announced that online sales of 50/50 tickets will be made available to all adult Albertans.

AGLC’s president and CEO noted this change will help charities expand their reach and increase proceeds for programs and services that Albertans rely on every day.

“The opportunity for organizations to offer online 50/50 ticket sales is a terrific step forward for Alberta’s charities,” Alain Maisonneuve said.

“Adults in all corners of the province will now get a chance to support causes that are important to them from the ease of their smartphones and laptops.”

Read more: Edmonton Eskimos would welcome online 50/50 sales

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Online ticket sales are something the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has been vying for since 2019, when the Toronto Raptors pulled in $450,000 during game one of the NBA finals thanks to the expansion to online sales.

“We’ve seen how big the pot can get… $337,000 is the record at an Oilers game and we expect it to go higher now under this new format,” executive director of the foundation Natalie Minkler said.

“We’ve always had a wonderful response from our Oilers fans on our 50/50 program in-game.”

Minkler added that online ticket sales will help further charities reach during a time of uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a welcome step at this time, especially during the COVID[-19] pandemic,” she said. “We’re thrilled at the prospect of a great opportunity for charitable organizations who we distribute the dollars to, but also for the Albertans who live in oil country and their ability to participate.”

As the league gets back up and running and jumps into playoffs, Minkler said the foundation will have a solid plan on 50/50 raffles soon.

“Further details will be announced in the coming weeks, but this is new for us,” she said.

“We want to get it up and running for our games first and foremost, and then expand where we can.”

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The move to an online format is also a welcome change for the Calgary Flames Foundation.

“This policy change will allow our organization to host raffles online during games so our fans watching from home can participate,” executive director Candice Goudie said.

“Last year, the Calgary Flames Foundation distributed over $3.8 million to southern Alberta charities, and now more than ever, charities in Alberta need this support.”

In its announcement Friday, AGLC stated it was also reducing the limit for the allowable use of random number generators. Previously, charities were able to use a random number generator when the total ticket value of their sales reached $1 million or more, however, now that limit has been reduced to $100,000.