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Ontario Lottery Fraud

Published:

Last Edited: October 26, 2006, 8:05 pm

Recently, the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming) has come under fire from the media nd the public they serve after lottery retailers across Ontario may have been pocketing winning tickets for jackpots.  I have attached the stories that have appeared on CBC.ca

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 ONTARIO LOTTERY FRAUD

The CBC's The Fifth Estate has learned that in the past seven years Ontario clerks and retailers have claimed lottery victories nearly 200 times, a statistical anomaly according to one expert.

In a disputed ticket case involving a Coboconk, Ont., senior, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC) said there were about 60,000 people selling lottery tickets in the province.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, the CBC has learned that retailers won close to 200 times, winning on average $500,000.

Dr. Jeffrey Rosenthal, a statistician with the University of Toronto and author of Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, said statistically retailers should have been expected to win around 57 times.

"So we can say the chance, to be precise, is about one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, so it's just inconceivable they'd be winning that many more times than we'd expect them to," said Rosenthal.

Last week, the OLGC revised its total, claiming there are actually about 140,000 retailers and clerks in Ontario.

 

 ONTARIO OBUDSMAN LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION

 

Ontario's watchdog is launching an independent investigation into how the province's lottery corporation protects the public from theft and fraud.

The move by the ombudsman's office comes a day after CBC's The Fifth Estate aired a report questioning the suspicious number of retailers and clerks who have won lotteries.

Ombudsman André Marin said the public and provincial politicians were shocked by the allegations in the report.

"They were gobsmacked," he said. "They are very surprised to see that an organization which trumpets its system, its principles of integrity and its monitoring be subject to these kinds of allegations."

The Fifth Estate reported that of roughly 60,000 lottery ticket sellers in Ontario, retailers won large prizes nearly 200 times.

A University of Toronto statistician, who crunched the numbers for the television show, said the chance of retailers winning that often is "about one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion," and estimated the number of wins should be closer to 57.

It focused on the story of 82-year-old Bob Edmonds, whose $250,000 winning Encore ticket was stolen by clerks in the small town of Coboconk, Ont., in 2001 when they pretended the ticket belonged to them.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. refused to admit the ticket rightly belonged to Edmonds, prompting the man to start a lawsuit.

'A lot of questions'

"I have the same reaction as the rest of the public — I'm left with a lot of questions and that's why I'm going to be seeking out answers," said Marin.

He announced Thursday afternoon that his office will launch a systemic investigation into how the OLG responds to complaints from customers and what mechanisms are in place to protect them.

The ombudsman is inviting members of the public to come forward with their stories of how the OLG dealt with them.

What the investigation won't do, Marin noted, is examine whether or not individual ticket holders won a lottery.

Marin said the allegations against the OLG are of concern because of the large amount of money the government agency rakes in and the importance of trust in its relations with customers.

"People say lotteries are a game of chance," he said. "I think that they're not a game of chance. They're a game of trust.

"Members of the public fork out on a very frequent basis a lot of money, not with the trust that they're going to win, but with that the one with the right numbers will win, not an insider," he added.

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Comments

1.
justxploringComment by justxploring - January 13, 2007, 11:29 am
I often read a press release announcing that a convenience store owner or employee won a game, but I have no idea what the percentage is here in Florida.

"retailers won close to 200 times, winning on average $500,000"

I agree this is very suspicious, but it's still possible. I'd hate to think I've spent so much money on a game for over a decade and was being duped.

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