Canadian store owners are collecting major lottery wins ten times as often as they should, according to the Atlantic Lottery Corporation.
Information sent out to media Wednesday showed retailers in the Atlantic Provinces had collected 37 wins worth $25,000 or more in the period from Jan. 1, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2006. Analysis from Universite de Moncton statistician Jacques Allard said the 2688 retail owners, who do play lottery at 1.76 times the rate of the average person, should have been expected to land just 3.5 wins of such magnitude. Allard's firm, Maritime Statistical Analysis, was contracted by the lottery company.
In all the owners pocketed $7.5 million in wins over five years, around 0.5 per cent of the toal prizes awarded in the region
Mike Randall, the ALC's vice president of social responsibility and communications, said the analysis shows a troubling pattern but there has been no evidence that would lead to a suggestion of wrongdoing by a particular individual.
"If we uncovered something pointing to an act by a particular person we'd turn the information over to police," he said.
"We didn't find a pattern that pointed to a particular game or to a pattern of wins around one location."
Randall said the retailers with large wins were evenly spread around the ALC service area. One Island operator gathered a win, while there were five in New Brunswick, 16 in Nova Scotia and 15 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Islanders spent $33 million on lottery tickets in 2006, collecting just under $19 million in prizes from ticket.
The statistical analysis came after investigations in Ontario last fall found signs retailers there were winning more than their share. In one case, an Ontario senior with a winning ticket was given a payout far below the ticket value.