ALCOHOL AND GAMING COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE ALL INSIDER AND SUSPICIOUS WINS

OLG CEO announces next phase of protection for lottery customers

TORONTO - Beginning in January 2008, all insider and suspicious lottery wins will be investigated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) CEO Kelly McDougald announced today.

This new measure is one of several new initiatives designed to continue to strengthen public confidence in Ontario's lottery system.

"We are committed to making sustainable and lasting changes to protect customers who enjoy playing our lottery games," said McDougald. "That's why today, after months of preparation for this important transition, we are announcing that all insider and any suspicious wins will be fully investigated by OPP staff assigned to AGCO for any criminal wrongdoing."

Building on many of the protections already implemented by OLG, new measures being rollout out include:

  • Turning over full review and investigation of insider and suspicious wins of more than $10,000 to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The AGCO takes over as OLG's lottery regulator on January 1, 2008.
  • Beginning in the New Year, a news release will be issued announcing every insider win over $10, 000 once the investigation is complete, with delay of the prize payment for 30 days. This will give anyone with concerns about the win, an opportunity to come forward
  • Making it mandatory for customers to sign all tickets before they are validated at a retail location. This takes effect January 28, 2008
  • Starting earlier this month, retailers are now obligated to return ALL original tickets to the customer after validating them
  • The second phase of a public education advertising campaign reminding customers to sign their tickets at the time of purchase began November 12, 2007.
  • New lottery terminal jingles and voice-over messages clearly advising customers if their ticket is a winner or not a winner will be in place early 2008

"We are determined to pay the right prize to the right customer through all of these important initiatives," added McDougald. "Customers with any questions or concerns are encouraged to call our toll-free hotline at 1-800-387-0098, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

To date, the OLG has completed more than 80 per cent of the 60 recommendations by Ontario's Ombudsman and independent audit firm KPMG, and continues to make significant progress on the other items.

OLG is a provincial agency responsible for province-wide lottery games and gaming facilities. Since 1975, OLG lotteries, Casinos, Slots, and Resort Casinos have generated more than $23 billion for the benefit of the Province of Ontario. Gaming proceeds support Ontario's hospitals, amateur sport, recreational and cultural activities, communities, provincial priority programs such as health care and education, and local and provincial charities and non-profit organizations through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

BACKGROUNDER

November 12, 2007

Protecting Lottery Customers

Over the past 12 months, OLG has taken significant action toward protecting lottery customers from theft and fraud and rebuilding the trust of Ontarians in the lottery system.

To date, the following safeguards have been put in place:

  • Self-serve Ticket Checkers are available at nearly all lottery terminal retailers for customers to check their own on-line tickets.
  • The lottery terminal 'freezes' when a winning ticket worth $10,000 or more is validated, and to date, this has occurred 1,130 with all major prize winning tickets. The freeze allows an OLG representative to immediately call the store to confirm the win with the retailer and the customer by telephone.
  • Enhancements to the lottery terminal Customer-facing Display Screens include,
    • jingles and videos play for a longer time when a winning ticket is validated, and winning/non-winning messages appear in a larger print font
    • all prize amounts up to $1000 appear on the screen
    • a new video, jingle and voice-over message plays for winning tickets worth $10,000 or more
  • All on-line tickets are branded along the left side as winning or non-winning when validated through the terminal.
  • The front of on-line tickets includes a signature box and a message reminding customers to sign their tickets - if a ticket is not signed, retailers are currently required to ask the customers to sign it.
  • A public education campaign was launched to encourage people to sign and check their tickets and to call our hotline if they had any concerns.
  • Our Customer Excellence Centre is now open 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.
  • All calls regarding potential fraud or theft are routed directly to Investigations.
  • Improved training and procedures for OLG investigations of prize claims made by the general public. OLG has been working for several months with the AGCO in preparing for the transition when AGCO will take over as Ontario's lottery regulator in January 2008. Starting January all insider and suspicious wins will be investigated by OPP officers assigned to the AGCO.