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Ontario lottery players advised to be cautious

Ontario Lottery and Gaming CorporationOntario Lottery and Gaming Corporation: Ontario lottery players advised to be cautious

It's not just about whether you win or lose, but how you play the game, especially when that game is the lottery.

People buying tickets for Wednesday night's $36 million Lotto 649 draw — the fourth largest Canadian jackpot in the lottery's history — have been advised to take precautions to avoid being cheated in the wake of reports that retailers may be lying about whether tickets are winners or not.

The scandal arose several weeks ago when it was alleged that too many ticket sellers were winning big bucks - one statistician suggested the chances so many retailers would win in this province were astronomical.

Ontario's ombudsman has launched an inquiry into the lottery corporation.

In the meantime, customers should sign the back of their tickets before getting them checked by retailers.

Prospective lottery players said they'd grown wiser about the process since the potential scandal came to light.

"There's no way that I'd ever just not check the ticket before I took it to a kiosk or to a person to check the number for me," said Dave France.

Max Kussmar adds: "Normally I don't check my ticket. I just take it and grab it at home, look it through. Sign my name on it."

"I used to do it through a retailer but I don't know," said Michelle Martil. "That's one of those things that's up in the air. Maybe sign the back of my ticket and then ask them to check it."

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC) also advised consumers to check their own numbers rather than rely on retailers to do it.

All Time Top Lottery Prizes

This isn't the biggest jackpot in Canadian history, but it's close. The $36 million payout is the fourth largest prize in the nation's history. Which were bigger? Here's a look at a few of them.

Oct. 26, 2005

The one by which all others are measured. A Lotto 6/49 jackpot was worth $54.294 million and was won by a group of energy workers in Alberta.

May 17, 2002

A Super 7 jackpot worth $37.84 million attracted huge line-ups. There were four winning tickets across the country.

What if you actually win?

Here's what Don Pister of The Ontario Lottery And Gaming Corp. says you should do if your numbers come up.

"Take a really deep breath, sign the back of the ticket, make a photocopy of the ticket, keep that in a safe place and call us.

"Use the 1-800 number on the back. We'll start to make arrangements with our prize office for when you might want to come in.

"Until the actual moment that we have the physical ticket in our hands and have verified it, nobody's won anything."

Top 10 lottery jackpots in Canadian history and where they were won

1) October 26, 2005
$54,294,712 (1 winner, Lotto 6/49, Western Canada)

2) May 17, 2002
$37,841,970. (4 winners, Super 7, split Quebec, Western Canada and B.C.)

3) February 6, 2004
$32,500,000 (3 winners, Super 7, Ontario and Quebec)

4) (tie) April 23, 2004
$30,000,000 (1 winner, Super 7, Atlantic Canada)

4) (tie) October 10, 2003
$30,000,000 (3 winners, Super 7, B.C., Western Canada, Ontario)

4) (tie) April 11, 2003
$30,000,000 (1 winner, Super 7, Ontario)

5) August 7, 2004
$29,140,524 (2 winners, Lotto 6/49, Ontario)

6) Nov. 12, 2005
$27,227,325 (1 winner, Lotto 6/49, Western provinces)

7) Sep. 2, 1995
$26,410,706 (4 winners, Lotto 6/49, Quebec, Ontario and Western Canada)

8) Dec. 29, 2004
$25,418,294 (1 winner, Lotto 6/49, Atlantic Canada)

9) Feb. 5, 2005
$25,146,316 (2 winners, Lotto 6/49, B.C., Quebec)

10) June 12, 2004
$25,000,000 (2 winners, Lotto 6/49, Ontario and Quebec)

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