You may recall our recent video in which the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) declined to pay out a winning ($1,000+) lottery ticket because the OLG’s “investigators” had doubts that I was the rightful owner of the ticket — even though I filled out pages of prize claim paperwork, filling in every line, checking every box and providing photocopies of government identification.
As well, there is video surveillance footage of me purchasing the ticket at a gas station. So, how is this not ample evidence? How is this even remotely insufficient?
My take: the OLG — perhaps the most scandal-plagued Crown corporation in the history of Crown corporations — has taken a dislike to our OLG coverage, which, alas, is seldom positive.
Having a winning lottery ticket denied has happened to me a couple of times before. Each time I was forced to file a lawsuit in small claims court, and each time, suddenly, the information that I had provided turned out to be quite sufficient after all. Funny, that...
But this time the OLG did a 180 prior to being served, and paid up the day after our scathing report aired. Was the OLG simply humiliated into doing the right thing?
Seeking answers, I reached out to OLG investigator Lee Pineo and spokesman Tony Bitonti.
My email read as follows:
I just took delivery of my cheque. Thank you. Yet, while I'm grateful that I'm finally receiving what is rightfully mine, I am nevertheless curious as to what made you change your mind so that the payout would be authorized?
After all, in our last discussion via telephone last Wednesday, you indicated that the information that I had supplied was lacking and that there were doubts that I was indeed the purchaser of the ticket — even though I filled in every line and checked every box on the OLG Prize Claim form. As well, as requested, I provided the OLG with photocopies of government-issued photo I.D. Your colleague, Dominic, had also said my detailed information was insufficient.
So, did your decision to do the right thing come about due to my suggestion that you check the retailer's surveillance footage which would clearly show that I was in fact the purchaser of the ticket?
Or was your change of heart based on my assertion that I would (again) commence a Small Claims lawsuit? As you know, I've gone this route in previous dealings with the OLG in order to receive my rightful winnings.
Or was your decision to payout based on the Rebel News report that chronicled my plight? At last check, that video had received more than 56,000 views on our YouTube channel, garnering 6,200 thumbs up and 44 thumbs down.
Speaking of the video, I was shocked albeit not surprised to read many comments in which other OLG customers stated they had not been paid out or that it took months of fighting with the OLG until cheques were issued. Why does your corporation continue to act in such an abusive fashion?
As well, can you please tell me the total amount of money that the OLG has denied winners for whatever reason?
The response? Silence. Not to worry: we’ll be filing a freedom of information request to get an answer to that last query.
Moral of the story: how bizarre that the OLG justifies its gambling monopoly on the proviso of “social responsibility.” How is screwing lawful lottery ticket purchasers out of their winnings (while turning a blind eye to insider wins) “socially responsible”? And if that activity is indeed socially responsible, I’d hate to see what social “irresponsibility” looks like...