Article published on 15 October 2010

OLG May Investigate Lottery Membership Card Option

OLG may introduce lottery membership cards
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With the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. still looking for the winner of a $12.5 million lottery win after it was emerged that the prize was claimed by fraudsters instead, the public is pressuring lottery groups to find a way to safeguard their wins.

Other gambling jurisdictions around the world have adopted membership cards so that winning tickets can be traced back to the original buyer very quickly.

The OLG has now said that it will be investigating membership programs from around the world in a bid to improve its services.

Norway, for example, has been using lottery membership cards for a number of years, allowing the winner to be found almost immediately.

Another huge advantage is that the winner is also paid out even if the ticket is lost.

"If there was a similar system in Ontario, you wouldn't have these problems at all," said a spokesman for Norsk Tipping, Norway's official lottery organization.

Members are called should they have a winning jackpot of over $140,000 in Finland and Norway.

"Although they can check their cards the same evening, we still contact them, just to tell them that it's true, and when the money will be transferred to their bank account," said the spokesman.

In the meantime, while the OLG said that it was looking for ways to improve the security of their players, it would still need to take a look at the systems used around the world before making a decision.

"Before would change anything, we would need to closely examine all the pros and cons, costs, etc. associated with these systems," said Tony Bitonti, a spokesperson for OLG.

"We have 9,000 terminals across the province that would need major updating."

One of the things stopping OLG from adopting a membership system is the desire of some winners to remain absolutely anonymous.

Currently, the only way for OLG to trace a winner is if he or she is a member of Lotto Advance.

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