Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Needs Serious Overhaul

Across Canada, lotteries are run by provincial government ministries. In Ontario – the largest province in Canada – it is the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation – or OLG for short.

Yesterday, the OLG announced what has been all too common from the provincially-run crown corporation – a mistake affecting the outcome of their lotteries.

Your chances of winning the lottery are slim to none at best, but when the government owned and operated company continues to make major mistakes, you might as well give up completely.

The most recent gaffe? The OLG printed bogus tickets. During what the OLG claims as “routine computer maintenance” the computer printed the wrong date on 92 tickets. Though if the maintenance was routine, the question remains, how come these tickets got sent out and sold in the first place?

Though I suppose the OLG is learning from every mistake it makes. Last time this happened – yes it has happened before – it almost cost the OLG thousands.
Last January a steelworker took the OLG to court, saying he had a ticket from a Fruit Smash game which said he had won $135,000 – but the OLG claimed the ticket was one of their misprints. The steelworker received an undisclosed settlement for the error.

Problems at the OLG have gone on long enough to make the province’s whole lottery system questionable.

In December 2007, the OLG had to dish out over $1.4 million each to four people after a retailer allegedly claimed the jackpot himself three-years earlier.

A report in 2006 by the province’s ombudsman slammed the OLG for what the report called a high percentage of prizes being claimed by retailers selling the lottery tickets. This forced the OLG to change the rules to protect consumers, but the goofs from OLG just keep coming.

Last month, the OLG was in the hot seat – again – because they chose to give away 22 German-made Mercedes Benz cars as casino prizes. Not that there is anything wrong with German made cars, but as the domestic automobile sector continues to tank, you’d think governments would try to bolster their local economies, by purchasing domestic vehicles.

We all make mistakes – that is just part of being human. But when the mistakes are more common than anything else, it is time to clean house and start over.

Those within the OLG that have been continuously costing the provincial corporation its image – and tax payer dollars – by making these mistakes, should be let go and replaced with more responsible people. Leaving those in place who just aren’t cutting it is just irresponsible.

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