The odds would seemingly make even the most reckless gambler cringe. But a unique offshoot of cancel culture has now apparently taken lease at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Namely, it seems that if this scandal-plagued lotto monopoly does not like how it is being portrayed in the media or social media, it will decline to pay-out on winning lottery tickets.
I know that sounds crazy, but I speak from bitter experience.
You may recall a previous Rebel News story a few years back when yours truly was lucky enough to win an OLG lottery prize of just over $1,000.
Cause for celebration, correct? Not quite.
You see, because that ticket exceeded $999.99, that meant that it could not be paid out easy-peasy by a retailer, but rather, it had to be “investigated” by the OLG.
Apparently the OLG thinks of itself as CSI.
So it was that I submitted the winning ticket and filled out pages of paperwork and provided the lottery monopoly with government-issued identification. But — shocker! — it was not enough. The claim was denied and the funds withheld.
Well, I believe the OLG does not care for my coverage of this entity. Alas, while the OLG likes to sell games, it likes to play games, too — especially with those people who it deems to be hostile.
So it was that I received a letter from Corey Malcovich, a senior manager in the OLG’s corporate investigations unit.
It was blunt: The OLG, stated Mr. Malcovich, “will not take any further action in regards to processing your claim and we consider the matter closed.”
Closed? Who gets the winnings then? The OLG? Mr. Malcovich? Whoever the latest OLG CEO happens to be? Incredible.
But while the OLG can bully citizens around, it cannot bully a courtroom.
I filed a lawsuit in small claims court, and lo and behold, when the OLG was served with the papers, it turns out they no longer had doubts as to who the “rightful owner” of the lottery ticket was, and they paid up. Funny that…
But recently, I won another jackpot of over $1,000. Alas, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Despite filling out all the necessary paperwork and providing I.D., no fewer than two investigators (a Dominic and Lee Pineo) were uncertain that I was the rightful owner of the lottery ticket!
There is a way, of course, to bring instant closure to this sordid saga. Because the camera does not lie, these investigators would simply have to refer to the surveillance footage from the gas station where I purchased the ticket.
Yet, they can’t be bothered to do so. How lazy can you get — or is there something more nefarious at play here?
Nevertheless, several days ago, I reached out to OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti with some specific questions. Namely:
Why do OLG “investigators” have a practice of asking for information of prize claimants that is not even required in the OLG prize claim paperwork?
Correct me if I am wrong, but retailers that sell OLG products would have video surveillance images of those buying lottery tickets. Why isn't such video referred to in order to get definitive answers as to who purchased the tickets given that the camera does not lie? Wouldn't this end the nonsense in a heartbeat?
What exactly happens to the money that the OLG withholds if it is “not satisfied” with the answers with the prize claimants?
What is the amount of prize winnings the OLG has withhold, either total or based on a fiscal year?
The OLG justifies its gambling monopoly on the proviso of “social responsibility”. How is it socially responsible to cheat winners out of their winnings?
Mr. Bitonti declined to respond.
So it was that we recently visited the OLG’s Toronto headquarters to seek answers. Paladin security guards told us to scram.
While I remain confident that I will get my winnings, it will take time and money.
Yet again, I’ll have to file a small claims suit because the OLG only seems to respond only when a judge might get involved.
While the OLG obviously sees itself as an unelected, unaccountable arm of the government, thankfully, it is not above the law. At least not yet…