- Again, I Warn You ... Clerks Steal Winning Tickets -
Watch "Luck of the Draw" Documentary - A Story About Two Winners
See first hand how lotteries "really" operate

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 25, 2006 - 4:10 PM
Revised: Nov 9, 2006 - 11:15 PM - Update Link Added

- Update -
Nov 9, 2006 - Read Canada's Press Release - Responds To Clerks Stealing Prizes
Nov 9, 2006 - Texas Lottery Winners Denied Prizes - A Houston Investigation
Click here to read


It's a gamble that most of us have taken at one point or another:
bought a ticket at a corner store and hoped that when those little
white balls stop spinning we will be the newest lottery winner.
Most of us remain disappointed in the results. But what if you did
win the lottery? And what if you never found out?

A Fifth Estate investigation has uncovered new statistics about how
often clerks or retailers are winning. A prominent statistician talks
about the chances of this happening as often as it does.
The results may astonish you.

Watch ... "Luck of the Draw"
on the internet. A MUST see for all players.
Click here
to watch (Aired Oct 25, 2006)
(Click on "Runs 40.19" on the right side of the screen.)
You will see first hand how lotteries operate while
"claiming" they have integrity.

Defrauded lottery winner finally gets apology

Globe and Mail Update (10/27/06)

More than five years after Bob Edmonds called the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to complain that he may have been defrauded out of a winning Super 7 ticket, he has an apology and the right to speak freely.

But he still doesn't have the full $250,000 he originally won in the August 2001 draw.

The 82-year-old cancer survivor and resident of Coboconk, Ont., only ended up with a total of $202,000, after a lengthy legal proceeding against the lottery corporation.

The details of the settlement with the lottery corporation could be made public Friday, after the lottery corporation formally released Mr. Edmonds from a confidentiality agreement signed in March 2005.

The agreement was signed just as a jury was to begin deliberating in an Ontario Superior Court trial in the dispute between Mr. Edmonds and the lottery corporation.

The lottery corporation paid Mr. Edmonds $100,000 to settle his claim. Another $25,000 was paid in interest and $75,000 toward his legal costs, Mr. Edmonds' lawyer Alan Rachlin confirmed Friday.

Mr. Edmonds had previously received $150,000 in an out-of-court settlement with Scott and Phyllis LaPlante, the variety store owners who allegedly defrauded him out of the $250,000 winning ticket in 2001.

The legal bill for Mr. Edmonds' more than three-year-legal battle against the Ontario government agency was more than $140,000, leaving him with just over $200,000.

The lottery corporation retained an outside law firm and its total legal bill was over $420,000, according to information released last year following a freedom-of-information request.

Mr. Edmonds was threatened with a lawsuit earlier this year said Mr. Rachlin, if he violated the confidentiality agreement, once the lottery corporation learned the CBC program the fifth estate was planning to report on the dispute.

Mr. Edmonds was scheduled to be in court on Monday, at a hearing to determine what he could say publicly.

The day after the fifth estate program aired, the chief executive of the lottery corporation, Duncan Brown, called up Mr. Edmonds and personally apologized, said Mr. Rachlin.

The Ontario lottery corporation also issued a news release on Thursday evening that said it was releasing Mr. Edmonds from the confidentiality agreement.

Mr. Edmonds was travelling with his family from Toronto to Coboconk and was unavailable for comment Friday.

Mr. Rachlin said his client is happy with the apology and the fact he is not facing a potential lawsuit if he talks about the case.

But the Toronto lawyer said there remain a number of unanswered questions about the conduct of the lottery corporation.

An internal lottery corporation e-mail in January 2002 suggested that Mr. Edmonds may be the rightful owner of the Super 7 ticket, yet it fought a legal battle for more than three years before agreeing to a settlement.

“They still have not given a plausible explanation for why they did what they did, or who made the decision to put Bob Edmonds through the ordeal of a trial,” said Mr. Rachlin. “The public is entitled to know.”

Lottery 'insiders' win big bucks

Odds of Ontario results are astronomical, investigation by CBC program reports

Globe and Mail

More than two hundred lottery “insiders” have won prizes of $50,000 or more in Ontario since 1999, and more than two-thirds of these wins may have involved the deception of a customer who bought the ticket.

The allegation is made by the CBC program the fifth estate, after an investigation into the number of “insider wins” in the province in the past seven years.

A statistical analysis of the number of insider wins concluded that fewer than 60 insiders, such as ticket retailers or clerks, should have won major prizes during the period that was investigated.

The odds that the 214 insiders who claimed major prizes — $50,000 or more — since 1999 won as a result of pure luck, is one in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, said University of Toronto professor Jeffrey Rosenthal, who conducted the analysis.

The program airing Wednesday night suggests this may be a problem across Canada and the United States.

Lax security measures and difficulties in tracking store owners and clerks who sell the lottery tickets could be responsible, the program says.

It shows how some customers, especially elderly ones, may be fooled by a retailer into thinking they have won only a very minor prize when they ask the store to check their tickets at a lottery terminal.

“Retailers and clerks are allowed to play the lottery all over North America,” said fifth estate producer Harvey Cashore. “I think we were a little naïve and thought they would have been banned from playing.”

Not only are ticket sellers allowed to play the lottery, there are very different policies for scrutinizing insider wins.

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation questions everyone who wins a prize of more than $3,000, whether or not the person is an insider.

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation, which regulates lotteries in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, considers ticket sellers to be independent agents and has no formal insider-win policy. Retailers are subject to the same investigation as anyone who wins a prize in excess of $10,000.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation conducts a mandatory investigation of insiders, including retailers and clerks, who win at least $50,000. (Until 1999, the inquiry was required for prizes of $10,000 or more.)

The Ontario Lottery Corporation is disputing the conclusions of the fifth estate and suggests they are misleading. “Ontario is a leader in lottery security,” spokeswoman Teresa Roncon said.

She pointed to recent measures that include screens on lottery terminals that display the amount won and an automatic freeze of a terminal when a major prize is redeemed. The corporation is introducing kiosks where customers can check their own tickets electronically.

In addition to the broader issue of insider wins, the f ifth estate has uncovered new information about a case involving a now 82-year-old cancer survivor who said he was defrauded out of a $250,000 prize by a variety-store owner in Coboconk, Ont., and told he had only won a free ticket.

The lottery corporation settled a lawsuit with Robert Edmonds in March of 2005, just as the civil trial was about to be decided by the jury.

The lengthy legal dispute cost the lottery corporation more than $400,000 in legal fees, according to information disclosed in a freedom-of-information request.

An internal-occurrence report by a lottery corporation investigator in August of 2001 noted that it had concerns about the couple who owned the variety store and was claiming the $250,000 prize. After a follow-up interview, the prize was paid out that month.

In January of 2002, shortly after the Ontario Provincial Police began to investigate, an internal lottery corporation e-mail suggested the claims of Mr. Edmonds were accurate and he may have been the ticket owner.

It was not until Mr. Edmonds testified at the trial that the lottery corporation was able to conclude it was his ticket, which is why it entered into a settlement, Ms. Roncon said. She described the Edmonds case as “isolated” and “unacceptable.”

The terms of the agreement remain confidential, and Mr. Edmonds is scheduled to be in court on Monday because his lawyer is challenging the right of a government agency to impose a publication ban in settling a civil lawsuit.

“Confidentiality is a common practice,” Ms. Roncon said, adding that it was in the public interest and provides “closure” for the lottery corporation and Mr. Edmonds.

The lengthy legal fight over Mr. Edmonds's claim remains a mystery, the fifth estate's Mr. Cashore said. “We wondered if the lottery corporation dug in its heels because it knew this story wasn't just about Bob Edmonds. If they admitted their investigators made mistakes, that the security system was flawed, logic would dictate they would have to go back and examine every major win in Ontario in the past seven years.”

To Fight Back - The Ontario Lottery Issues The Following Press Release

Ontario is a Leader in Lottery Security

TORONTO, Oct. 25 /CNW/ - OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) conducts approximately 700 million transactions with lottery players through our network of retailers, and pays more than $1.2 billion in prizes every year. Integrity is a core value at OLG and we offer one of the safest, most secure and most highly regulated products in the world.

It is critical to note that when a retailer/clerk wins a major prize, OLG conducts an investigation 100 per cent of the time. Each case is thoroughly investigated by our internal staff. If OLG believes there is a serious concern with a lottery prize claim, the police are contacted.

Only in four occasions in the past five years did OLG call the Ontario Provincial Police, and in two of those instances, it was merely for information purposes.

We continue to stand by the hard-working men and women who rely on convenience stores for their livelihood, and who like the majority of the population are by and large honest, dedicated people.

OLG is a Leader in Lottery Security


NOTE - Comments in blue italics were made by The Lotto Report - Dawn Nettles

The security measures we have in place meet or exceed measures in place in every other province and almost every state in the USA. They include:

- Customer-facing information screens on all lottery terminals, which display a message when a winning ticket is validated, and play music to tell the customer they've won. A major-prize win also triggers a different winning tune and a special screen message. (Texans have no music and few retailers have their screens where the players can see it. Is it true that the volume can be turned off or way down?)

- Lottery terminal freezes that shut down a terminal completely when a major-prize winning ticket ($50,000 or more) is validated. OLG staff then calls the retailer and speaks directly to the winner while they are in the store to provide specific instructions. The terminal can only be turned back on by our corporate head office. (Great, but what stops the clerk from telling the customer that the ticket was a loser then continue to have a conversation with the Lottery after the real winner leaves the store. Also, the Texas Lottery is closed on week-ends and holidays. Ask Homeland Security - they actually called me because they couldn't reach the Texas Lottery. Fortunately, I was able to help them which literally saved a lottery winner!)

- In-store self-serve ticket checkers where customers can check their own tickets electronically to know if they have won. (Scanners in these terminals can err in reading the bar codes. Just like scanners in grocery stores. This adds to the Unclaimed Prize Fund - monies that Texas keep!)

- All instant ticket games are audited by Deloitte & Touche, and Ernst and Young annually reviews the operations of OLG's lottery gaming system.

- A new Vice President of Security and Surveillance who is an Ontario Provincial Police Chief has further strengthened our security and investigations procedures.

The SOLUTION would be to have a law that forbids clerks from checking
players tickets. Clerks should check tickets ONLY when a players says, "I'd like to
cash in my ticket please. It's worth $50 or whatever the amount is." I just recently
(Oct 18, 2006 Commission Meeting) asked the Texas Lottery to do this. Though
this was not the first time to make this request and it probably won't be the last!

Consumer Protection


While there are a number of security measures in place there are also steps we recommend consumers take. These include:

- Always sign the back of your ticket.

- Check your numbers yourself either on our website at olg.ca, the winning numbers lists at retail, either on our customer screens or by asking for a hard copy, on television, or in the newspapers.

- Make sure you get your ticket back, with the validation slip.


Other Stories

As it Appears in the San Antonio Express News
"Willy-Nilly" Lotto Prizes Spur Audit (July 2006)

About those Cheated Winners ... Click here.

Sad but True Winners Stories, Click here

There's still a chance for Lottery to lose even more credibility
by Ken Rodriguez - San Antonio Express-News
Click here to read these two stories

Integrity/Ethics Reaches New Low For Texas,
Georgia and Wisconsin Lotteries
By refusing to accept IRS Form 5754 from pool players, these states
are not only creating hardships for winners but are also failing in
their fiduciary duties in assisting with the collection of past due
child support, student loans and state owed taxes. A MUST read
if you play in group/pools. Posted 10/9/06. Click here.

Lotto Critic Efforts Pay Off
Dallas Morning News (June 11, 2005)

The Lotto Report
Dawn Nettles
P. O. Box 495033
Garland, Texas 75049-5033
(972) 686-0660
(972) 681-1048 Fax

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