Ontario government strengthens the province's lottery system



    Alcohol and Gaming Commission to set new rules

    TORONTO, June 28 /CNW/ - The Ontario government is establishing new
regulations designed to strengthen the integrity of the provincial lottery
system and protect consumers, Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips said
today.
    These new regulations respond to the first three of 23 recommendations
made by the Ombudsman in his March 2007 report. The remaining 20
recommendations from the report were directed to the Ontario Lottery and
Gaming Corporation.
    "We are taking strong and decisive steps to increase public confidence in
our lottery system," Phillips said. "Our new regulations will ensure the
integrity of our lottery system, protect the public and ensure the reputation
of honest retailers. Consumers can be assured that we have set high standards
to build a strong lottery system."

    
    The new regulations will include:

    -  A lottery retailer registration program, including background checks
    -  Enforced rules of conduct for lottery retailers
    -  Inspectors who will test the integrity of the lottery system
    -  A process to deal with disputed prize claims between individuals.
    

    The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) - an arm's-length
regulatory agency that reports to the Ministry of Government Services - has
been assigned responsibility to regulate the lottery system and adjudicate
hearings. The AGCO has a proven track record of regulating casinos, charitable
gaming and liquor licences in Ontario. Retailers will begin to register with
the AGCO starting in July 2007. Retailers will be required to register with
the AGCO by January 1, 2008 and follow specific terms and conditions in order
to sell lottery products in Ontario. The AGCO has developed educational
material to assist retailers with the new process and will work with them
moving forward.
    Ontario is one of the first jurisdictions to develop comprehensive,
independent third-party- oversight of the lottery system and the regulation of
retailers. British Columbia, Atlantic Canada and California are also
investigating the integrity of their lottery systems.
    Further information will also be available on the AGCO's website at
www.agco.on.ca in July.

    
    Disponible en français       www.mgs.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   STRENGTHENING ONTARIO'S LOTTERY SYSTEM
    

    On March 26, 2007, the Ombudsman released his report, entitled
"Investigation into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's Protection of
the Public from Fraud and Theft: A Game of Trust."

    Ombudsman Report Summary

    In his report, the Ombudsman recommended to the government the following
regulatory components for the lottery system:

    
    1.  A Code of Conduct for retailers, the breach of which would lead to
        sanctions, including termination of registration
    2.  Retailer registration involving background criminal record checks
    3.  Revocation of registration for breaches of the legislation, as well
        as relevant criminal or provincial offences
    4.  An adjudicative system to address issues such as retailer
        registration denials
    5.  Broad investigative and remedial powers, including powers to freeze
        assets
    6.  A system of integrity testing, employing "secret shoppers"
    7.  Waiting periods and advertising requirements to apply in the case of
        retailer wins
    8.  A process for investigating complaints against retailers.
    

    The Ombudsman also recommended the creation of a process to deal with
disputed prize claims, including disputes between individuals concerning the
ownership of a winning ticket.

    Government Action

    Following the findings of the March 26, 2007 report from the Ombudsman,
the government assigned the AGCO the responsibility to regulate the provincial
lottery system. The AGCO will, among other things:

    
    -  Register lottery retailers, including background checks
    -  Enforce rules of conduct for lottery retailers to follow
    -  Use inspectors to test the integrity of the lottery system at retail
       locations
    -  Conduct arbitration hearings for disputed prize claims between
       individuals.
    

    To help ensure the integrity of the lottery system, the scope of the new
regulations goes beyond the Ombudsman's recommendations such as:

    
    -  Establishing regulatory requirements for primary lottery suppliers,
       products, equipment and retailers
    -  Independently investigating suspicious winnings and retailer wins
       above $10,000.
    

    The AGCO is the appropriate body to undertake these responsibilities as
it already has responsibility for regulating the casino and charitable gaming
industries, which includes a registration component and a dispute resolution
system.
    The government's response will help protect the public through risk-based
regulation, enforcement, compliance and stronger business practices in the
retailer community. This approach is consistent with AGCO's enforcement of the
liquor and casinos sectors.
    Using a risk-based approach allows the AGCO to match its enforcement
response to the severity and risk posed by infractions, and most effectively
utilize resources.
    Further information will be available on the AGCO website at www.agco.ca
in July 2007.

    
    Disponible en français
                              www.mgs.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Paul de Zara, Minister's Office, Office: (416)
327-3072, Cell: (647) 388-9671; Ciaran Ganley, Communications Branch, (416)
325-8659

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