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Does $9 goof point to larger problems with Ontario Lottery?

Jan 11, 2007, 4:33 pm

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Ontario Lottery and Gaming CorporationOntario Lottery and Gaming Corporation: Does $9 goof point to larger problems with Ontario Lottery?

When Ralph Landry finally wins the big one, he wants to know that the jackpot isn't accidentally given to somebody else.

But the 67-year-old retired Air Canada employee has lost faith after he went to claim a small prize and found out that somehow somebody else got paid the money in another town.

"How does this happen?" he asked.

The self-proclaimed lottery addict bought his daily dose of lottery tickets at the Daisy Mart on Dec. 27, won $9 on a scratch-and-win Bingo and then within an hour brought it back to the same store to claim his prize.

"But the vendor told me someone already got the pay-out in Palmerston," Landry said. "I've never even been to Palmerston."

Landry says he doesn't give a hoot about the $9.

"But what I would if it was $10,000 or $50,000? How do I know if I will get the money?"

Don Pister, manager of public relations at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., said it was probably a "simple mistake."

"We process hundreds and millions of pieces of paper each year," he said. "Human beings make errors. Probably a vendor just punched in the wrong code."

Pister said the OLG "has ways" of checking for the mistake and will send Landry his $9 if he mails the ticket in.

"Not good enough," says Landry. "I want to know how this happened."

The OLG came under fire last year amid allegations of ripoffs by store owners stealing the prize money of unknowing winners. Since the investigation by the CBC news program, the Fifth Estate, OLG officials have implemented a seven-point plan to address the security issues raised by the program.

Landry says he buys two or three tickets a day at $3 a piece costing him anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 a year.

"I'm hooked," he admits.

"But if I'm going to spend my money, I want to know I'm not going to get cheated. I want to know how this happened — no ifs, ands or buts about it."

Toronto Sun

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19 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by jim695.
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Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
FEMA Region V Camp #21
United States
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Posted: January 11, 2007, 7:55 pm - IP Logged

This is an unacceptable way to run a lottery.  It's not the $9.  It is the integrity of this particular lottery that should be investigated.  (Canada's version of Indiana?)

Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


    konane's avatar - wallace
    Atlanta, GA
    United States
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    Posted: January 11, 2007, 7:59 pm - IP Logged

    This is an unacceptable way to run a lottery.  It's not the $9.  It is the integrity of this particular lottery that should be investigated.  (Canada's version of Indiana?)

    I Agree!

    Have fun and the best of luck to everyone! Sun Smiley

      wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

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      Posted: January 11, 2007, 8:26 pm - IP Logged

      Vendor punched in a wrong code? Aren't they using scanners?

        Avatar

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        Posted: January 11, 2007, 10:11 pm - IP Logged

        This is a THEORY of what happened. MAYBE in another store they punched in (not scanned) a code that was one digit off but matched this person's ticket, OR it was somehow a stolen ticket or number. Maybe some unscrupulous vendors punch in numbers at random in the machine hoping one turns out lucky.

          Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
          FEMA Region V Camp #21
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          Posted: January 11, 2007, 10:31 pm - IP Logged

          The bar codes on all winning lottery tickets are scanned.  If the ticket wasn't scanned it should not have been processed. 

          There are only a few explanations for this $9 fiasco:

          1)  An inept lottery organization making tickets with the identical bar codes

          2)  The  lottery agent hoped the customer would throw out his $9 winning ticket so the agent could get a foot-long Subway for dinner

          3)  The ticket was counterfeited

          4)  An inept lottery organization that allows an agent to punch in numbers instead of scanning the ticket. 

          Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


            KY Floyd's avatar - lysol avatar.jpg
            NY
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            October 16, 2005
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            Posted: January 12, 2007, 1:47 am - IP Logged

            There needs to be a system to deal with barcodes that can't be read. I know every one here has encountered that while checking out at a store at some point. That could easily explain why a clerk might enter some numbers and not scan a ticket.  That there's much chance that the number entered will match a different ticket if it's entered incorrectly is a problem. There's a reason that  credit card numbers are long enough that every single person on the planet could have 100,000 credit cards without any card numbers being duplicated. It sounds like this was either a very unusual situation or the lottery needs to add some extra digits to the numbers that identify a ticket.

              Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
              FEMA Region V Camp #21
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              Posted: January 12, 2007, 11:27 am - IP Logged

              There needs to be a system to deal with barcodes that can't be read. I know every one here has encountered that while checking out at a store at some point. That could easily explain why a clerk might enter some numbers and not scan a ticket.  That there's much chance that the number entered will match a different ticket if it's entered incorrectly is a problem. There's a reason that  credit card numbers are long enough that every single person on the planet could have 100,000 credit cards without any card numbers being duplicated. It sounds like this was either a very unusual situation or the lottery needs to add some extra digits to the numbers that identify a ticket.

              This is a viable explanation and in fact, may have been the case.  As you said, it should be made foolproof.  For a start, they could direct the holders of winning tickets that can't be scanned to the lottery office for validation.  The agent should not be able to do anything but scan.

              Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


                Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
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                Chief Bottle Washer
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                Posted: January 12, 2007, 11:53 am - IP Logged

                This is a viable explanation and in fact, may have been the case.  As you said, it should be made foolproof.  For a start, they could direct the holders of winning tickets that can't be scanned to the lottery office for validation.  The agent should not be able to do anything but scan.

                I hear ya, but I don't know if that would fly.  Lots and lots of tickets get printed with very light text by retailers who are either clueless or lazy about replacing the ribbon.  The scanners don't read light text very well, so many times retailers end up punching in the numbers.  With the length of most lottery ticket codes,  it would be tremendous coincidence to accidentally punch in a code that is actually a non-redeemed winning ticket.  Almost as large odds as winning the lottery itself.

                 

                Check the State Lottery Report Card
                What grade did your lottery earn?

                 

                Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  50
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
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                  Posted: January 12, 2007, 11:53 am - IP Logged

                  I forgot to mention, that assumes that GTECH or whoever is running the system is not using sequential ticket codes, which would be a really stupid idea.

                   

                  Check the State Lottery Report Card
                  What grade did your lottery earn?

                   

                  Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                  Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                    Avatar
                    Kingston, Ontario
                    Canada
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                    Posted: January 12, 2007, 1:49 pm - IP Logged

                    This is a THEORY of what happened. MAYBE in another store they punched in (not scanned) a code that was one digit off but matched this person's ticket, OR it was somehow a stolen ticket or number. Maybe some unscrupulous vendors punch in numbers at random in the machine hoping one turns out lucky.

                    I agree...I live in Ontario and know the OLG very well.  I know that very rarely...once in a rare instance that it could happen on the retail level.  The retailer must have or redeem another ticket from that Palmerston batch at her store and entered the wrong code to that same batch. Thus redeeming the wrong ticket that belonged to this other guy.  It's extremely rare when it does happen.   But that is clearly what happened, end of story. 

                      Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
                      FEMA Region V Camp #21
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                      Posted: January 12, 2007, 2:17 pm - IP Logged

                      I agree...I live in Ontario and know the OLG very well.  I know that very rarely...once in a rare instance that it could happen on the retail level.  The retailer must have or redeem another ticket from that Palmerston batch at her store and entered the wrong code to that same batch. Thus redeeming the wrong ticket that belonged to this other guy.  It's extremely rare when it does happen.   But that is clearly what happened, end of story. 

                      Maybe I missed something...how did you know it was her store?  The generic would have been his store.

                      From this post, previous posts and your member name you know a lot more about the Ontario Lottery than the players do.

                      But we're glad to have you aboard, Ontario Lottery official...maybe you can do something about your lottery.  You're making headlines here and they've all been negative. 

                      Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


                        cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                        The Carolinas - Charlotte
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                        Posted: January 12, 2007, 10:32 pm - IP Logged

                        Maybe I missed something...how did you know it was her store?  The generic would have been his store.

                        From this post, previous posts and your member name you know a lot more about the Ontario Lottery than the players do.

                        But we're glad to have you aboard, Ontario Lottery official...maybe you can do something about your lottery.  You're making headlines here and they've all been negative. 

                        LOL ... I was thinking the same thing...just glad you said it, Rick!

                        The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

                        Stooges

                          Avatar
                          Kingston, Ontario
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                          Posted: January 14, 2007, 6:56 am - IP Logged

                          Maybe I missed something...how did you know it was her store?  The generic would have been his store.

                          From this post, previous posts and your member name you know a lot more about the Ontario Lottery than the players do.

                          But we're glad to have you aboard, Ontario Lottery official...maybe you can do something about your lottery.  You're making headlines here and they've all been negative. 

                          Wow...Her store..His store....does it matter whos store it was.   

                          I have followed Ontario's lotteries since I was a kid and grew up attending lottery draws.  I still attend the draws and keep in contact with officials on a daily basis.  Unfortuantely, I come across information that the public doesn't know from time to time.  For example, did you know that non-winning codes and big winners on instant scratch tickets are the same.  Back in 1990, Ontario lottery changed its codes so players would play the game from start to finish.  People today still throw away their tickets without even checking them because they see the losing symbols.  Those losing symbols are exactly the same on any prize over $250.   

                          I am NOT a lottery official.  I followed the traveling Wintario lottery show passioantely when I was younger.  I have incredible faith in our Provinically run games.    My passion for what OLG does for Ontario on both a lottery grant level and in how they conduct their games is deep.  So for you say that I am making negatives contributions on here is false.  Information I provide from lottery ball weighing, how the central computer system operates, to what happens behinds the scenes is from my experiences at the draw.  It's sad when I come on here and see people doubting the lottery and squabbling over stuff.  Dunno if its over losses or the feeling their being taken to the cleaners...dunno, don't care really. 

                          But straight up...Lotteries are pure games of chance, lotteries are random events, no matter how strong and how often you instill the values of integrity; no system is 100 percent perfect--although they strive to be.  Otherwise the government would not let them run and the gaming public wouldn't buy tickets. 

                          As far as making headlines, I think its been a slow newsday. ...  to say the least.       

                            LottoGroups's avatar - peace

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                            Posted: January 14, 2007, 11:11 am - IP Logged

                            I wish to make two points.

                            First in reference to the question why does the retailer not simply scan the ticket to determine it is a winner. The procedure for redeeming a scratch ticket in Ontario is a two step process. First the retailer scans the tickets then is prompted by the terminal to enter the 4 digit code that appears under the latex. The 4 digit code must correspond to the scanned code (long code). For this code to be entered in error and also match the scanned code and come up a winner in Palmerston in error is next to impossible. The OLG officials know this and are probably investigating the retailer. They do not release this information to the press because they do not want the public to know how many dishonest retailers there are.

                            Second. The retailer has abosolutely know way of knowing where a winning ticket was redeemed. Unlike other jurisdictions, this information is kept confidential and only a limited number of OLG officials know that information. The fact that the retailer told the customer that the ticket was already redeemed in another city tells me without a doubt that the retailer was lying. OLG officials know this and as stated above are probably investigating the retailer. But again do not tell the public.

                            In summary, OLG should tell tell the public just how much fraud does occur at the retail level so that customers are informed and are more careful with who they trust.

                            My recommended solution to OLG officials is to allow online purchases. It is much safer and efficient process and greatly reduces the possibility of fraud.

                            Lotto Groups - the best way to win