How to Set up Your Hall?

Figuring out how to set up your hall can be tricky but we have some great tips.  Make sure that when you are setting up the tables, they are not all in straight lines like you would see at a bingo hall. Be creative and funky and change it up a bit. Maybe even draw out a layout ahead of time. From experience, we have found that you should have zones for everything: food, games, dance floor, seating area, bar, etc. This makes it easier for your guests to navigate and not miss anything. It also spreads the guests throughout the hall more evenly which will prevent people from feeling closed in and congested.  You want people to mingle and walk around rather than stay in one area the whole night.

You should put games like Blackjack, Poker, Roulette and Craps up against the wall so that your guests cannot go beside or behind the dealer and cheat. It is fun to place games like the Jail & Bail in the middle of the room, since it is free standing and will make people notice it.  Don’t throw this game in a dark corner – be strategic and place it where people will notice it!  A huge dance floor is not needed; you want the attention to be on the games, which is where you make your money. As games start to close at the end of the night around midnight, that is when the dancing may really take off, but probably not before.

How to Run Raffle Draws?

raffle drawsNeed some help with how to run the Raffle Draws?  Plan to shut down the games no later than midnight, as you will need time to run the raffle draws.  When your guests purchased Raffle Tickets throughout the night, they would walk along the long line of prizes on the Prize Table, and choose which prize(s) they wanted the most.  Then they would tear half of their ticket and put it into a Raffle Container that corresponded with that Prize.

One big mistake people make when they have lots of raffle prizes, is that they use a microphone to draw the raffle prizes all at once which stops your party dead. It also drags on and on and on, and it can be annoying.  Especially if you are one of those parties that have 100 prizes.

It is a good idea to draw a couple of prizes publicly and either have the DJ announce the other winners in between songs or rent our Dry Erase Boards to post the winning numbers silently. This is a good way to keep the sale of Raffle Tickets going, as your guests will be constantly reminded about the prizes people keep winning. As the night goes on, the prizes get more expensive and more appealing, thus encouraging people to stay longer and spend more money.

Another idea is to have people write their names on the Raffle Tickets before they put them in a Raffle Container. This way, the announcer does not have to read the numbers eight times before people hear him correctly, they will understand a person’s name much easier and it will go faster.  Also, if they are not there anymore, you can get them the prize another day.  So people don’t have to stick around…. however you kind of want them too!  The longer they are there for, the more they will spend on drinks and games, so you choose what is best.

How to Sell the most Raffle Tickets at my Event?

We hate to say it but if you must know how to sell the most Raffle Tickets at your event… but we are just going to say it.  Specifically choose some good looking men and women to sell these tickets.  Terrible isn’t it?  So shallow!  But it works.  Ev..ery..time.

Make sure they charm, smile, and hustle for best results. It is good to have a few different colours of Raffle Tickets too, because one girl can have the red tickets, and one girl can have the blue tickets. When the red ticket girl sells tickets to a group of people, the blue ticket girl can come around and ask them to buy tickets from her. When your guests say that they already have some, the blue ticket girl can say, “but you do not have my colour,” with a pouty look on her – works every time!

Typical pricing would be three tickets for $5 or an arms length for $10. Another good option is to also offer $15 for a hug, which means that a pretty girl will hold the tickets in her hands and will hug your guest. When her hands meet around their waist, then that is how many tickets they get. Guys are a sucker for this!

So we recognize how awful these tips are when trying to decide how to sell the most raffle tickets, but just trust us when we say it works.

Party Alcohol Liability Insurance (PAL)

PAL Insurance

Nowadays, most halls require you to get Party Liability Insurance, also known as PAL, when having a Wedding, Stag & Doe, etc. which will cover you for liability from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000. Some halls have their own Insurance company that they work with and offer great rates. If fact, the Peach King Centre in Grimsby, offers a great rate so be sure to check them out! Would be nice to save you the hassle of having to apply for this separately – just another step in the planning process that you can avoid! If the hall does not offer its own Insurance, then we recommend using PAL Insurance Canada which is the most well known company that offers PAL for Stag & Doe’s and Fundraisers.

The last time we checked (Feb 2019), their rates (including tax) were:

  • $150 if you have between 1 – 100 people
  • $188 if you have between 101 and 500 people
  • $220 if you have between 501 and 1000 people

Here is what PAL Insurance Canada’s website says about what they cover:

This program provides protection when lawsuits are brought against individuals, organizations or companies who host single/multi-day functions with alcohol service. Designed for event hosts who are holding reception-type events in a rented facility. A valid liquor permit or license must be in place for service of alcohol.
Events with live entertainment OR sports DO NOT qualify for this policy.
Note: DJ’s are not considered as live entertainment

So just click here to fill out their simple online application, or feel free to shop around. You can ask your personal home and auto insurance company if they offer it, but not all will. Definitely ask your hall if they offer it though, as this could save you some time and money.

Do I Need a Gambling License?

To help answer this common question about whether or not you need to get a Gambling License, we went to directly to the source and have copied and pasted excerpts right from representatives of the AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario).  That way we know we are giving you the right info!  Keep in mind, that that you should definitely check with their website, as this information you are about to read, was the most current that we knew about at the time of writing the article (March 2019).  This is just advice that we are giving you here, but it would be wise to cross reference things to ensure you are doing everything by the book.

To be quite frank here, if everyone followed the AGCO’s rules perfectly, most halls would be out of business, and we would also be out of business!!  We believe you just have to be creative with how you do things.  Basically they do not like to see actual cash out at each game as they do not want people winning money.  We have been told that one idea is to instead sell raffle tickets at the front door as your guests enter, and they can use these raffle tickets to “gamble” with at the games.

They can give a raffle ticket to the person running the Golf Putt Challenge game for example vs. actual money and get a shot at it.  Just like they do when you go to a town fair – you give them money, they give you game tickets, and that is how you play their games.  The other way around things from what we have heard, is to not give away money as a prize, but instead an actual tangible prize.  If it is donated then even better!

One other important thing to note, is that they say Games of Skill are good but Games of Chance are bad.  So games like Hockey Shootout, Hole in One, Bra Pong, Bean Bag Toss – these all requires skill.  Other games like the Wheels and Plinko are all won by chance.  With that said, the Crown & Anchor and Plinko, are our most popular rentals, so figure that one out!

A spokesperson from the AGCO was quoted in this article saying that Games of Skill are acceptable as well as a few other ideas:

As for games of chance and 50-50 tickets, she said people holding a stag and doe can try different ones (games of skill are allowed) or an auction, or simply charge more for tickets.

So that is why it is important to ask the hall if they have a gambling license because then you are permitted to run raffles.  In this article, they are quoted saying that there are 5 ways to make money at your fundraiser:

– Ticket Sales
– Donations
– Silent Auctions – get prizes donated, but no liquor bottles.  You can get LCBO or Beer Store gift certificates and have people write their bids down on a piece of paper. Try to get the Bride’s side bidding against the Groom’s side to increase the bid amounts
– Live Auction (same as above except with a lively auctioneer!)
– Games of Skill – not chance (putting contests, scoring contests, nailing the log, guessing how many jelly beans in a jar etc.) and then all of the funds raised through these methods go directly to the Bride and Groom

So are things clear as mud now… right?!

How Many Cases of Drinks to Buy?

How Many Cases of Drinks to Buy

Trying to figure out how many cases of Drinks to buy for your Fundraiser is certainly a huge task to take on – You don’t want too little, and don’t want too much! On average, each guest may drink 2 to 4 drinks, so you can use this number to judge how many drinks to buy.  All of our rolls of Drink Tickets come in rolls of 1000.  We will estimate that 40% of them are beer drinkers, 40% of them are mixed drink drinkers, and 20% of them are non-alcoholic drinkers (pop/water) – so let’s say 10% will just drink pop, and 10% will just drink water.

Knowing this will also help you decide how many cups to purchase. Does that help? Of course, this is just a guide and you will know your crowd the best. We strongly advise you to buy MORE than you need, as things are fairly easy to return. Just advise your bartenders NOT to open up everything in the bar, and only open the case when its ready to use.

The Formula

So we have a formula for you! Just follow this formula, and it will help guide you to decide how many drinks to purchase ahead of time. Some people will have 6 drinks, others will have 1. We are using an estimate of 3 per person to simplify things, and encourage you to do the same.


Take the number of people expected to come x 0.4 (40% of guests drink beer) x 3 (3 drinks per person) / 24 (number of beers per case) = number of cases of 24 beers to buy. If you are using 3 kinds of beer, take that number and divide it buy 3 so you know how many of each brand of beer to buy (assuming you think people will drink all equally). Change this to 28 if you buy cases of 28.

Hard Liquor

Take the number of people expected to come x 0.4 (40% of guests drink beer) x 3 (3 drinks per person) = number of people who will have mixed drinks. Give this number to the LCBO and they will advise you how many bottles of each to get – they are the experts in this area!

Mixers for Hard Liquor

Take number above and divide by the number of mixers you want (usually gingerale, coke, cranberry juice, orange juice) assuming you think it will be equal amounts. So in this case you would divide that number by 4, and this will tell you how many people will be drinking each type of mixer. We will call this “X”. Then look at how many millilitres of mixer would be added to each cup, and multiply that by X, then divide that by how many millilitres are in each bottle/carton. This will tell you how many bottles or cartons to buy of EACH mixer.


Take the number of people expected to come x 0.1 (10% of guests will drink pop only) x 3(3 drinks per person) = number of cans to buy for people just drinking pop. If you have 3 types of pop, then take that number and divide by 3 and this will tell you how many people will be drinking each kind of pop. Remember to add this number to whatever you got from the previous calculation.


Take the number of people expected to come x 0.1 (10% of guests will drink water bottles only) x 3(3 drinks per person) = number of bottles to buy for people just drinking pop. Take this number and divide it by how many bottles are in a case, and that is how many cases of water you should buy. We think Costco sells them in cases of 30 which is the best bang for your buck!

Buy Extra!

Isn’t math fun?! Confused? Don’t be! It is fairly straight forward, just get your calculator out and take good notes. Now whatever you just learned in this above example, add a few on of each!! If you buy too much, just keep your receipts and return the extra pop cases you bought, or juice cartons you bought. Just ensure that they are still sealed. The LCBO and Beer Store will allow returns under some conditions. The AGCO Website says:

When returning unopened alcohol purchased from a government store, you must produce the permit and a copy of your payment records (e.g. receipts and/or invoices). Check with the retailer at which you purchased the alcohol for further details.

Typically, The Beer Store will allow up to 20% of the beer you purchased to be returned, as long as it is a perforated case (not glued), you have your Special Occasions Permit with you, the seals of the case are not broken, and it is a full case that is unopened. The LCBO will allow returns as long as you have your receipt and it can be a saleable item again (not used).

Also one quick note, is we recommend to have a table near the bar off to the side, which has plastic cups and a jug of water.  That way the bartender won’t be overwhelmed with orders like this, when people can just do this themselves!  Shortens the line a bit and gives them a break.  All you have to do is put someone on water duty to ensure it is always full!

Advertising Fundraisers – Can I share my Event?

Advertising FundraisersWe understand that many people, despite the regulations, still share their event with anybody who will listen – so with the general public.  Something like – “Please invite your family and friends to attend my event” is a big no-no.   Advertising Fundraisers through social media is technically not allowed unless you do so following their guidelines.  Advertising with a Facebook group is allowed though as long as it is NOT open for the public to see.  Taken directly from the AGCO website, they said this:

Acceptable forms of notification may include social media (not available for viewing by the general public, must be a personal guest list), private invitation, etc.

They recommend to keep a list of ALL people who bought a ticket, and ALL people who said they will buy their ticket at the door.  It cannot be advertised to the public and instead seen as an invite only event.  So just ensure your settings are accurate when setting up a Facebook Event, and you are good to go! Most newspapers now know not to allow advertisements related to Fundraisers because of some legislation that went through in 2013.

How to Run a Casino Night Fundraiser?

It can be overwhelming to understand how to run a Casino Night Fundraiser, especially if you have not done this before, or if you don’t gamble!  If you are using actual money on the tables to bet with, then this section does not apply to you! If you were thinking of providing people with chips as they enter the hall, then you are in the right place.

Many people think that giving people a bunch of poker chips is an excellent idea.  And in theory, it makes sense.  But logistically it is a nightmare.  Carrying around a bunch of chips is not easy – you can put them in your pockets, or put them in a cup and carry them around, but it is not so easy.  Plus have you considered how many chips you would need to rent from us?

Let’s take an example: You have 100 people coming, and you want to give each person 30 chips to bet with.  That is 3,000 chips!  We rent cases of 300 chips out for $10 each, so this would cost you an extra $100 in rental fees which doesn’t seen very cost efficient.  Plus what are the chances that all 3,000 chips will make its way back into the cases before being returned to us?  VERY SLIM!

Our recommendation:

Instead give everyone Raffle Tickets to bet with.  So when they enter, they will be given a couple arms length of tickets lets say.  These are easy to carry and easy to put in your pockets.  They take these tickets to the Dealers, and hand them some tickets.  The dealers in turn exchange these tickets in for poker chips for them to bet with.  When they are finished playing, they can either walk away (if they lost all of their poker chips), or you can exchange them back for raffle tickets.

You can even have a draw this way at the end of the night where anybody who has tickets left can put them into a Raffle Drum, and you can draw a ticket to see who the winner is.

Makes sense?  We think so.  So this is how we run things when you use our Dealers, and if you don’t use our Dealers, we recommend you still adopt this method.

When Do I get my Security Deposit back?

When Do I get my Security Deposit back

When we take the Security Deposit on your credit card, your bank holds back that amount from your credit limit for a few days.  People are always wanting to know exactly when they might receive their Security Deposit back.  Each bank is different however usually after 3-5 days it will release it back to your credit limit automatically. So we do not actually touch it or have anything to do with releasing it!

If the bank does not hear from us about any charges, then they take care of this on their own. If you return damaged items or you lose something, then your account will be charged that amount and the bank will release the remainder back to you when they are ready.

Should I run my Own Bar? Or get the Hall to run the Bar?

When you choose a hall, they may have a bartender who manages their own sale of drinks, or they may allow you to bring in your own drinks and serve it.   We would say that for a Fundraiser, people do tend to run their own bars.  If your event is more of a Birthday party for example where you have staff waiting on you, entertainment paid for, etc., then have the hall also take care of this.  But at Fundraisers, it is common to see the volunteers running around like a chicken with their heads cut off, because the whole point is to make money, and therefore do things yourself!  You gotta put in the man hours to see the payoff.  Below we will break it down for you, so that you can decide which option suits you best.

Hall Runs Bar

Let us assume that the hall is running the bar, and they charge $4 per drink.  You can charge $5 per drink, so that you still make $1 off each beer sold. In most cases the hall runs the bar, so make sure they have a good variety of alcohol in stock. Generally, the hall rental will be much cheaper if they supply the alcohol since this will create more income for the hall.  This can save you a ton of headaches as you do not have to worry about purchasing the alcohol in advance, transporting it there, finding people to run the bar with you, ensure they have their Smart Serve, etc.

You Run your Own Bar

If you run your bar instead and charged $5 per drink, the profit is much higher as the beer probably only cost you $2 from the case – however like we mentioned, there is a lot more to it!  You have to take into account the cost of straws, beer cups, ice, bartenders, Permit to sell alcohol, etc. Running your own bar will include more work and more initial investment, not to mention liabilities. Make sure that you aware of your city by-laws as well. Have someone you trust serve the drinks who is Smart Served, or you can have a buddy obtain their Smart Serve Certification online for $34.95+tax.

So What does Jack of all Spades Recommend?

Should I run my own bar or get the hall to run the bar?  Such a common question we get!  If you are expecting a drinking crowd, then you will want to run the bar yourself as the profits are enticing.  But if you don’t want the hassle and money might not be your driving force, then have the bar run it on your behalf.  Your choice!

Here is a a quote from a spokesperson representing the AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario) from this article:

“If someone wants to have a party, the private event [Special Occasions Permit] allows them to serve alcohol at a location where there is no permit.  …Alcohol can be sold, but not to make a profit, or it can be served at no charge. Because the event is private, it cannot be advertised. …If the facility does have a permit …the event may be advertised, and alcohol may be sold at a profit since it’s being served by trained staff.”

In this article, she was also quoted saying:

A public event with a special occasion permit, often run by a charity, not for profit organization or religious group, can advertise and profit from the sale of alcohol, with the intent of putting the proceeds back into the community for projects or programs. However, a buck and doe falls under the category of private event, where no advertising is allowed and alcohol isn’t meant to be a money maker.

We have heard some say that the AGCO recommends that when it comes to alcohol sales, permit holders can’t make a profit.  Instead, permit holders will have to come up with an expense sheet outlining how their alcohol revenue will ONLY cover their expenses.