Iqaluit residents are up in arms this month over what appears to be an unlicensed raffle.
The draw was advertised as a fundraiser for “BEAT Basketball, in support of an annual trip and tournament to Ottawa.” Tickets were $30 each.
Numerous people who bought tickets commented on a thread started by Naomi Tatty, who on Aug. 16 wondered if there had ever been a draw.
“Anyone ever hear or see of the draw? Back in February, I know it was postponed due to tickets not selling out and was supposed to do a video of the draws for two TV’s and a bunch of gift certificates … tried to ask about it and it got personal and ended up being blocked!” wrote Tatty.
“I bought a ticket for this once back in… March/April,” replied one commenter. “And never heard a word of it. Asked someone a while back, got a side-stepped answer about delays.”
Some said they’d heard the draw continued to be delayed; others reported the draw had taken place with the two top prizes won by someone who bought lots of tickets.
BEAT Basketball, which stands for Basketball Excellence Achieved through Teamwork, is an Iqaluit youth program begun in 2009 that runs many of its own popular fundraisers. The group quickly distanced itself from the raffle.
“BEAT had nothing to do with organizing or carrying out this event,” wrote coach Joey Rhodes on the Facebook thread. “We did not think it up, nor sell any tickets. This was all handled by a parent/business owner whose child played basketball with our group.
“We were told that he would run this as a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to BEAT. In the end, we asked questions – like many of the public have – and we received very little or no answers. And at the end of it all, we received zero money.”
Rhodes goes on to say the youth organization shares in the public’s frustration, and hopes there will be no negative impacts to the youth organization.
“BEAT truly appreciates the support that the public has shown us in our fundraisers and hope that this unfortunate event will not ruin our working relationship with our community.”
Organizer Stuff 2 Do Toys and Games owner Jerry Winford objected to the allegations.
“It’s an in-store promotion. It wasn’t a raffle. That’s why they didn’t want to help us. And BEATS never helped us at all. Everything was posted and everything was listed.
Winford explained he was trying to get his kids on the BEAT Basketball trip.
“They didn’t bother to try and contact us to let us know our kids were supposed to be on a trip. And they still didn’t try to take our kids even though we’ve tried to do all this. And we’ve done this for two years in a row. So I don’t know what the issue is.”
He also said, “One guy bought a bunch of tickets and he won both TVs.”
Community and Government Services’ communications officer Kris Mullaly told Nunavut News/North via e-mail that the department’s Consumer Affairs division was made aware of this issue.
“This was an unlicensed lottery,” Mullaly said. “Since this was an unlicensed lottery, it is beyond the scope of the Consumer Affairs division.”
He explained that those with concerns need to report the activity to RCMP if they feel they were defrauded.
“There are very clear rules and procedures on attaining a lottery license and it is very important that people understand that it is unlawful to hold an unlicensed raffle in Nunavut. As for the consequences, this is an unfortunate situation of buyer beware – people concerned that a fraud has taken place should contact the RCMP as that is a criminal matter.”
A licensed lottery, or raffle, will have the license number printed on tickets.
RCMP did not reply by press time to a question regarding whether or not it had received complaints about the draw.