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Lottery harder to win in Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Lottery CorporationAtlantic Lottery Corporation: Lottery harder to win in Atlantic Canada

Lottery players are twice as likely to die in a car crash on the way to the store to get their tickets than to win the big jackpot, says the Toronto statistician who has crunched the numbers of the Ontario lottery.

Jeffrey Rosenthal said the odds in Atlantic Canada seem to be stacked even higher against ticket holders, in light of news that retailers have won 10 times more than statistically probable over a six-year period.

"If you buy it and you are not careful, even if you do defy the odds and win a big jackpot, you might not manage to collect it," Mr. Rosenthal, the author of Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, said in an interview Saturday.

Mr. Rosenthal was part of the CBC fifth estate's look at the Ontario lottery. He determined retailers in that province should have won about 57 times in the period examined by the CBC, rather than the nearly 200 who actually did.

He said the odds of Ontario retailers winning the lottery so many times was "about one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion."

On Friday, the Atlantic Lottery Corp. announced a forensic team had found unethical and suspicious dealings between some retailers and ticket buyers in the region.

The study by KPMG Forensic Inc. found retailers claimed 85 winning tickets, each worth at least $25,000. The total amount collected was $14 million, with the largest prize of $4.5 million picked up by a retailer in Nova Scotia. The corporation has turned all the files over to police for an investigation.

Larry Doherty, a corporation vice-president, told reporters Friday the agency has asked police to look at two cases in which customers claim they are owed $100,000 apiece in winnings claimed by retailers.

Mr. Rosenthal said he sees similarities between the lottery questions in Ontario and those in this region.

"Retailers (in Atlantic Canada) are winning significantly more than they could be expected to win by chance alone," he said. "Of course it's always possible to get a little bit lucky and win a little bit more often than you should, but not this much more. It does indicate to me that the retailers are winning much more than they should be and that something is up."

Mr. Rosenthal said that during his examination of the Ontario lottery he was surprised to learn just how many people didn't check their numbers before they handed them to the retailers.

He said players should always sign the back of the ticket and check their own numbers.

"It could be worth millions and rather than just plunking it down on the counter at a convenience store and hoping you get your due, it's much better to check it yourself," the University of Toronto professor said.

Ontario's Bob Edmonds contested a ticket he bought in 2001 at a Coboconk store. The 81-year-old was given a free ticket by the store owner, but said he heard the machine ring twice, indicating a payout. He later read a newspaper report that said the store owner had won.

The store owners subsequently paid Mr. Edmonds $150,000 but did not admit any wrongdoing. Mr. Edmonds also reached a confidential settlement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. in 2005.

The Atlantic Lottery Corp. has made several proposals to make the lottery more secure, such as requiring ticket winners to sign their tickets, banning retailers from throwing away winning tickets after payments are made and investigating all wins by retailers.

Halifax Herald

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3 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by LckyLary.
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justxploring's avatar - villiarna
Wandering Aimlessly
United States
Member #25360
November 5, 2005
4461 Posts
Offline
Posted: May 15, 2007, 12:44 am - IP Logged

Out of respect for the good, hard-working people who stand on their feet all day at retail stores, I want to first say that most clerks and cashiers we deal with at the markets are honest, in my very humble opinion.

However, when I see players checking tickets at the counter, I am always amazed that they are so trusting with slips of paper that could be worth millions.  Mistakes can also be made.  Once I handed a bank teller two $1,000 American Express traveler cheques and got $200 back. That was in 1996, but I'll never forget it.  I asked her to just put the money in one of those small envelopes and never looked at it until later that afternoon...talk about going a little berserk!  (Yes, I eventually got my $1,800 from the bank.)

I have to say that, after reading this story, I can't help but have my suspicions about all the employees who have won at a local supermarket, but maybe that's just a coincidence.  Maybe the stories are exaggerated too.

In any case, the terminals should always be set up so the customer can see the result of the scan.

    jeffrey's avatar - moon
    Hamilton, OH
    United States
    Member #4162
    March 27, 2004
    277 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: May 15, 2007, 12:56 am - IP Logged

    Out of respect for the good, hard-working people who stand on their feet all day at retail stores, I want to first say that most clerks and cashiers we deal with at the markets are honest, in my very humble opinion.

    However, when I see players checking tickets at the counter, I am always amazed that they are so trusting with slips of paper that could be worth millions.  Mistakes can also be made.  Once I handed a bank teller two $1,000 American Express traveler cheques and got $200 back. That was in 1996, but I'll never forget it.  I asked her to just put the money in one of those small envelopes and never looked at it until later that afternoon...talk about going a little berserk!  (Yes, I eventually got my $1,800 from the bank.)

    I have to say that, after reading this story, I can't help but have my suspicions about all the employees who have won at a local supermarket, but maybe that's just a coincidence.  Maybe the stories are exaggerated too.

    In any case, the terminals should always be set up so the customer can see the result of the scan.

    Exactly, people need to be able to scan their own tickets.

      Avatar

      United States
      Member #10720
      January 23, 2005
      933 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: May 15, 2007, 8:49 pm - IP Logged

      How about a machine like an ATM that you can scan the ticket (it could require that the machine keep the ticket it scans) and then dispenses cash if the amount won is small, or if it cannot then print out a claim form! Already at the racetrack and the casino you can usually scan and cash in tickets at kiosks. Or they'll come out with a "Lottery Card" that is used to buy and redeem tickets and you'd put it in an ATM to transfer funds in or out. Better yet make everything online! The only people in the ELE7VEN would be buying cigs or potato chips, etc., and they'd have no lines.