At least three struggling Catholic parishes in eastern Quebec could be in hot water for holding illegal lottery fundraisers.
The churches say they could shut down without the money.
The deficit-laden Saint-Mathias church in Cabano, Que., has been
selling $2 lottery tickets at the entrance to Sunday service since
The winner is announced before the end of mass.
"We have no money," parish president Paul Bouchard told QMI Agency.
"When we're at the point of doing half and half draws, we're not hiding
it. Things definitely aren't going well."
Janick Simard, a spokeswoman for Quebec gambling commission, says
unlicensed draws violate the Criminal Code. Organizers could face a
maximum two-year prison term.
"It would be the responsibility of the police, not the (commission)," she said.
Bouchard insists the churches are in a "grey zone" and that the gambling commission "tolerates" the draws.
He adds that all of the proceeds go to the church.
Even the priest, Benoit Caron, bought a $2 ticket and has hit the $100 jackpot.
"When my name was called out, I left it entirely to the parish," he said.