Catherine’s love of charity lotteries started early.

“I used to sell raffle tickets for a pet rescue organization my mom belonged to when I was young,” Catherine says. “I’ve been buying charity lottery tickets for probably about 30 years now.” 

Catherine believes in supporting all types of charity lotteries, but the ones she cares most about involve children, animals, seniors and “anyone needing a hand up.” That means participating in hospital lotteries as well as animal rescue lotteries, auctions, raffles and 50/50 draws. 

Catherine says hospital lottery advertising tugs at the heart strings. 

CHEO lottery campaign image

“Sometimes they use the picture of the baby with the tube coming out of her nose. That usually seals the deal on the order. One look at that kid and I am literally in tears.”

But her choice to buy hospital lottery tickets is also based on a sense of community.

“If I had a child that needed critical care from a hospital, I would hope people would be very generous in helping to provide for what might save my child.”

Catherine’s desire to care for abandoned or abused animals is equally motivating. 

“My husband and I attend the SAINTS Sanctuary Gala each September, and every two or three years we attend the Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS) event,” she explains. “We also go to Doggy Day each August and buy raffle and 50/50 tickets, and we often win.”

Yes, winning is a big part of the appeal of participating in charity gambling. 

“I have won more than I can remember, probably because I buy so many,” Catherine muses. “We have won sets of luggage twice, and several $50 and $100 gift cards. I have won more baskets than I have known what to do with. It doesn’t matter if I can’t use what is in them. I give most things away to the RAPS thrift store. So, it really is a win for everyone—the charity wins, I win, and RAPS wins.”

Ultimately, though, it’s not about winning but helping.

“I just bought tickets for a cat rescue through Facebook for a raffle in May. So, we could win $500 or lose $50. The latter will be most likely, but that’s not the point for me. The point for me is to support them. I don’t have the time to do the volunteer work right now, so the least I should do is help monetarily. I think people that are able to help have an obligation to do so.”

Catherine says giving feels good—it’s what life is really all about.

“I think I take the easy way of giving. People who volunteer their time and energy for causes are the really wonderful human beings. I told my husband that when we retire we will be volunteering. We can’t just sit around looking at each other. We’ll need to do something to give back in a small way. To make a difference somehow.”

For the time being, though, Catherine is content with the type of charity work that may or may not involve a winning ticket.

“I haven’t won a house yet, but winning anything is just fun,” says Catherine. “And you can’t win if you don’t play. I think BC 649 had that slogan for a while. It’s very true.”

To think about – or discuss with a friend

  • Do you think of charity lotteries as a form of gambling? Why or why not?
  • How do feel about the strategies used by charity lotteries to encourage the public to buy tickets?
  • Could participating in charity lotteries ever be problematic? If so, how?
  • Would winning a charity lottery feel different than winning a government lottery? Why or why not?