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Lawsuit filed against Western Canada Lottery

Western Canada Lottery CorporationWestern Canada Lottery Corporation: Lawsuit filed against Western Canada Lottery

Alleges 'systemic misrepresentation' of scratch games, seeks $100M

Regina lawyer Tony Merchant has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Western Canadian Lottery Corporation (WCLC) and the corresponding provincial agencies over scratch-and-win tickets.

The case is being brought forth "on behalf of all persons who, since Nov. 1, 2001, purchased or acquired scratch-and-win tickets from a game order for which all tickets containing top prizes had already been sold," reads the statement of claim filed in the Court of Queen's Bench in Regina on Tuesday.

"There's a systemic misrepresentation with scratch-and-win lotteries," Merchant said Wednesday.

"People are led to believe that they can win $1 million or whatever the prizes are, at a time frequently when the top prize has already been won and the corporation knows the top prize has been won. All the while they misrepresent that it's available."

On average a top prize is won after 50 percent of lottery tickets are sold. That means that 50 percent of people buying tickets are purchasing at a time when they can't win the top prize. The claim that has been filed is seeking damages of no less than $100 million, explained Merchant.

A representative for the WCLC said the corporation had not received any legal information pertaining to the lawsuit and could not comment.

Merchant said a "couple of dozen" people had already contacted Merchant Law Group LLP about taking part in the lawsuit.

The statement of claim also notes that "the plaintiffs and class members were unable to examine the back of their respective scratch-and-win tickets prior to purchase, as the tickets were in glass display cases and could only be inspected after purchase.

"On the back of each ticket in minuscule print were the words 'Some of the prizes offered by this game may have already been claimed.' The WCLC continues this practice."

Later on in the claim it mentions "the WCLC has the means and the legal obligation to immediately stop selling the remaining tickets from the game that the WCLC knows do not carry a chance to win the top prize."

Merchant believes Canada needs to adopt similar practices as the United States.

"Here is an abuse of Saskatchewan people and Western Canadian people and it should be changed," said Merchant. "In similar circumstances in some parts of the United States when the top prizes have been won, they pull the lottery. That means they have to charge more for the tickets to make up for it, but at least it's fair to people."

There are two goals that Merchant is hoping to accomplish with this lawsuit.

"The first aim is to stop this wrongdoing that's being visited upon people. The second aim is they ought not to profit from their wrongdoing so we want the damages and it's easy to calculate the damages," said Merchant.

"The lottery corporation has the records, two years ago, six years ago, and they know when the top prizes on any lottery were won. So tickets purchased after that time were purchased under this misrepresentation. So the damages would be, return the money that people ought not to have lost.

"It's easy to determine how much the lottery corporation ought to be repaying. The difficulty is how do you determine to whom the lottery corporation should pay the money?"


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7 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by time*treat.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #58528
February 18, 2008
710 Posts
Posted: November 20, 2008, 10:54 am - IP Logged

I think that once the top prizes have been claimed,the lottery should inform the players that the top prizes have been claimed but there are still some big prizes that are unclaimed.This way the players can decide for themselves if they will continue to buy the tickets.If the remaining prizes are big enough,some will continue buying tickets,others won't.

I don't see how sueing for a hundred million dollars is going to solve anything,especially if you can't prove who is a victim and who is not.The only person who clearly gains anything is the ambulance chasing lawyer!

    RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
    United States
    Member #9
    March 24, 2001
    20147 Posts
    Posted: November 20, 2008, 12:03 pm - IP Logged

    In most cases, to be able to pay the top prize and make a profit, lotteries must sell most of the tickets regardless of when the top prize is paid out and players know this.  Besides, only players  who buy tickets in the store that has the role of tickets with the top prize have any chance of winning the top prize regardless of when it's sold when a game is structured this way.  The only way around it is to have a drawing for the top prize once all the tickets are sold.

    It looks likes this lawyer and a few merchants think they see a chance to make some money and is taking it.  I doubt if their customers can prove they played those games back in 2001 and later.

     * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning one * 
                  Evil Looking       

      Dead_Aim's avatar - canstock2002989

      United States
      Member #6363
      August 20, 2004
      4603 Posts
      Posted: November 20, 2008, 4:04 pm - IP Logged

      On average a top prize is won after 50 percent of lottery tickets are sold. That means that 50 percent of people buying tickets are purchasing at a time when they can't win the top prize. The claim that has been filed is seeking damages of no less than $100 million, explained Merchant.

      They will just start printing or releasing the top prize later in the game. If they don't print or release it until half the tickets are sold now they are already manipulating the game. Just make it later and the lottery wins by getting all or most of the money it wants first. And as it has always been, they have full control of everything but who gets it and that is the randomness for the scratcher games.

      Don't Chase... Compare and Narrow

      The Cheaper the Cost the Higher the Profit

      Many Winners to You.


        duckman's avatar - ducklogodrake64x64
        Jacksonville Florida
        United States
        Member #23018
        October 6, 2005
        966 Posts
        Posted: November 20, 2008, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

        Take this one step further and there is another problem for games with more than one top prize:

        (The numbers are for example only)

        Scratch Game ABC has 1,000,000 tickets printed with 5 top prizes
        The distribution of the 5 top prize tickets is usually done in equal sets like this:

        For the single Scratch Game ABC:

        Ticket Group 1 (tickets# 000,001 - 199,000) has 1 top prize
        Ticket Group 2 (tickets# 200,000 - 399,000) has 1 top prize
        Ticket Group 3 (tickets# 400,000 - 599,000) has 1 top prize
        Ticket Group 4 (tickets# 600,000 - 799,000) has 1 top prize
        Ticket Group 5 (tickets# 800,000 - 999,000) has 1 top prize

        Once the top prize ticket is sold in Ticket Group 1, should they immediately pull all remaining tickets in Ticket Group 1 and put out Ticket Group 2?

        If not, then those buying the remaining tickets in Ticket Group 1 have no chance at a top prize, the same complaint being voiced here. If the argument is not to continue to sell tickets with no winners, then as each top prize in each subset of tickets is won, they should pull all remaining tickets in that group and put out the next set of the same game.

        This could result in, on average, 50% of all scratch tickets being pulled and destroyed.

          New Member

          United States
          Member #67179
          November 19, 2008
          12 Posts
          Posted: November 21, 2008, 11:17 am - IP Logged

          What will happen is exactly the structure you've indicated above, but it will all be done behind the scenes.  That way one top prize will always be "in play", even though the fifth group hasn't been released to retailers yet.  Then they can state that one of the top prizes has not been claimed and can continue to sell tickets.  I'm sure Scientific Games (or whomever prints the tickets) will gladly work with the lotteries to get around this.  It may mean that any scratch off with a really big top prize will always have the jackpot late in the print run.

            dx123's avatar - white face.jpg
            Member #39919
            May 24, 2006
            150 Posts
            Posted: November 21, 2008, 2:45 pm - IP Logged

            Here is the OLGC website that indicates all their 'instant' scratch-offs. Read the bottom line of this page starting with," This list shows...". I imagine Western Canada Lotteries has the same...or not??? They are being sued so they don't.

            I don't play these 'games' at all because I don't trust the OLGC...'Dead_Aim' above has one good reason why!!!


            OLGC calls these 'unclaimed' prizes as if meaning that someone had already won and have not collected yet...double meaning to fool you. They should state in the present form as, 'Remaining prizes to win', with a date showing when each instant is revised or the last win in any category of prize for ALL instants they sell to the public. They present a graph with numbers for you to take a chance on!



              time*treat's avatar - radar

              United States
              Member #13130
              March 30, 2005
              2171 Posts
              Posted: November 21, 2008, 8:05 pm - IP Logged

              A few lawyers will try and make some money off of this. The players will get their "settlement" in the form of a new series of games.

              In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
              Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.