An open letter to our customers:



    TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - Like most Ontarians, we were startled and
saddened by the revelations made in the Ontario Ombudsman's report into the
lottery business in Ontario. The behaviour that's been uncovered is
intolerable. Even one customer being cheated out of their ticket is one too
many and we pledge to work with the government to root out dishonest
retailers.
    The Ontario Convenience Stores Association has always believed that all
retailers should be subject to a rigorous review when presenting a winning
ticket and any retailer found of wrongdoing should be held accountable and
denied the privilege of selling lottery products. The trust of our customers
and the public is too important to allow anything but the highest of
standards.
    The convenience store industry is a steward for the lottery business in
Ontario. The hard working men and women in Ontario's 10,000 convenience stores
sell over 700 million lottery tickets worth over $1.4 billion every year. The
vast majority of these are honest small business people who support their
families by serving communities all across the province.
    We had the opportunity to meet with the Ombudsman's staff and provide
input into his report and we thank them for that opportunity. During our
meeting we shared information on the convenience store industry's ongoing work
to create a testing process and standards of conduct for retailers under our
'Responsible Community Retailing' initiative.
    With the report now released, we look forward to working with government
as it implements changes to the way the lottery business operates. And to our
customers, we pledge to earn back the trust that's been shaken by an
unscrupulous few who have chosen to take advantage of the very people who
their livelihood depends on.

    Dave Bryans,
    President
    Ontario Convenience Stores Association




For further information:

For further information: John Perenack, Room 40 Communications, Toronto:
(416) 238-2576, Hamilton: (905) 667-4467, fax: (905) 248-3651, e-mail:
perenack@room-40.com, web: www.room-40.com


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