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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 Corporation

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."

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