Jackpot? OLG prize winners face tall order collecting cash due to 'safety'

Why is it that consumers can purchase lottery tickets 24/7 – but claiming a jackpot at the OLG Prize Centre is strictly limited? (Spoiler: it’s for our safety!)

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Once upon a time – well, pre-COVID-19 actually – those lucky winners who scored a jackpot of more than $1,000 could simply waltz into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Prize Centre in downtown Toronto. One would fill out the necessary paperwork, and assuming everything checked out, within a few minutes a cheque would be issued.

But when COVID emerged, the OLG Prize Centre was closed. Ticket redemption would take place via mail instead… we suppose postal workers have far greater immunity to the coronavirus as compared to bureaucrats operating the province’s gambling monopoly...

In recent months, as things returned to normal (i.e., mandatory vaccine passports and face diapers being abandoned), the OLG Prize Centre reopened. But get this: walk-ins are no longer permitted. Instead, winners must make appointments – typically several days or even weeks down the road.

As well, the hours for the Prize Centre have been drastically reduced: closing time is now 4 p.m.; it used to be 7 p.m., which would allow people to, you know, visit the Prize Centre after work.

However, the reduced hours and the appointment-only policy are still currently in place due to COVID-19... even though we’re heading into 2023. Which is to say, it’s not 2020 or 2021 anymore when the pandemic was at its zenith.

Alas, according to the OLG, this is all being done in the name of safety. AND get this: the reduced hours and appointments-only is now a permanent policy. Again, in the name of safety!

And yet, the safety rule doesn’t apply to those BUYING lottery tickets; just those claiming jackpots. Wow, the OLG loves the money-in part of gambling, they’re just not so giddy when it comes to the money-out part...

Speaking of which, we were lucky to win a $2,500 jackpot recently. We made the mandatory appointment, arrived on time, signed the ticket, filled out all the paperwork with all the necessary information (including the name of the store where the ticket was purchased and the municipality)… and guess what? We were denied our winnings. You see, apparently the OLG has a file on Rebel News and they loathe our criticism so this scandal-plagued crown corporation always states that they have “insufficient” information in order to process our claim. (We think these shenanigans falls under the bailiwick of “abuse of regulatory authority.”)

All of which means, we shall have to file a lawsuit – again! – in Small Claims Court in order to receive what is rightfully ours. Wish us luck, because the OLG, is kinda like Vegas – you know, the house always wins, baby…

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