Opinion | Time to Review Alcohol and Gaming Commission 50-50 Policy

Ican understand the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario wanting to ensure that lotteries it licences in a community are run as efficiently and as honestly as possible.

But I think maybe it is time it lightened up a little on the rules covering 50-50 draws.
I am thinking specifically about how they affect the 50-50 draws the Sault Major Hockey Association has run for years at Soo Greyhound games at the Essar Centre and previously the Memorial Gardens.
As detailed recently by Elaine Della-Mattia in The Sault Star, a problem can arise when winning tickets are not claimed.
Sec. 5.2.1(F) of the Lottery Licensing Policy Manual covering 50-50 draws states that winners must be present to claim their prize. If the holder of the winning ticket number is not present when the number is drawn, the licensee must draw another ticket.
But Sec. 5.6.2, covering unclaimed raffle prizes, says organizations that have conducted raffle lotteries and are unable to find the holder of the winning ticket(s) are obligated to make every reasonable effort to contact the winner.
And Sec. 6.3 under Raffle Licence Terms and Conditions says any prizes which are not claimed must be secured or placed in safekeeping for a period of one (1) year from the date of the
draw. If at that time the prize has still not been claimed, the prize or monies equivalent to the fair market value of the prize must be donated to a beneficiary approved by the licensing authority.
So, if I am reading these rules correctly, you have to be present to win but on the other hand you really don’t.
The issue Della-Mattia addressed arose when no winner came forward to claim the Oct. 10 prize of $1,542 and then was followed up with no one claiming the $1,982 prize on Oct. 21.
Sault Major, following the rules, is still attempting to find the winners.
I doubt it will happen. It hasn’t before, which is understandable since these 50-50 tickets are not of the type on which you place your name and phone number. They are classed as roll tickets, numbers only, so are usually chucked after the night of the game.
Winners have 10 minutes to claim their winnings before another ticket is to be drawn, although Steve Lawrence, first vice-president of Sault Major, told Della-Mattia they weren’t saying they’d close off the first draw 10 seconds after the 10 minutes is up.
The time limit, not mentioned in the Lottery Licensing Policy Manual, is required by the Sault Major 50-50 people in order to get the time to draw a second ticket if the first is not claimed.
It obviously doesn’t always work as I asked Nancy Novello, tax and licence co-ordinator with the city, why second tickets were not drawn in the two instances at issue.
“There wasn’t time,” she said, explaining that there was no opportunity to get a second number announced to the crowd because the announcers, possibly because of penalties, were busy with aspects of the game.
The unclaimed ticket numbers are posted on SMHA’s website, on the office door in the lower level of the Essar Centre and have been published in local media.
I think there is an easy way out of this mess but it is not in the hands of Sault Major or the city’s tax and licensing co-ordinator.
The solution is in the hands of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission.
It should simply drop the provision from the policy manual that a winner has to be present and that a second ticket be drawn if a winner for the first ticket drawn does not appear.
Actually, it might not even require a change in the rules but an addition which would allow for an exemption when the draws are held at major sports events. I doubt that when the rules were laid down that any thought was given to a 50-50 draw being conducted at a large venue and in such a manner as the operation run by Sault Major, but rather of groupings within a room where the winner could shout out.
I get this thought because the rules directly say “The purchaser must be present at the draw (if roll-type tickets are used) in order to collect his or her prize.” Being present at the draw is not what takes place here.
An exemption allowing organizations like Sault Major to conduct 50-50 draws in line with tickets such as 6/49 and Loto Max, which also don’t have buyers write their names on ticket stubs and allow them a year to check on whether they have won a prize, is a route favoured by John Carlson, the man who has handled the 50-50 draw for Sault Major for about 35 years.
“People buy a 6/49 ticket and then it is their responsibility to check their numbers,” he told me. “And they have a year to do so.”
He would like to see Sault Major have this opportunity with its 50-50 draw, with people being allowed to leave a game knowing they can check their ticket numbers later and collect if they win.
Seems reasonable to me.
Actually, it seems to me to be a bit dicey the way it is now, with the 10-minute limit a person has to present a winning ticket.
What if the holder of the original winning ticket arrives just after the second ticket has been drawn but not yet announced? Would the original ticket be honoured or would it be the new ticket?
If the second ticket had been announced, the winner under the rules as they stand naturally would have to be holder of the second ticket.
Yet to me this seems patently unfair. The holder of the second winning ticket, the number maybe even announced after he or she had left the building, would be able to collect the winnings later, something that would be denied the holder of the original ticket drawn.
Another scenario which could get a little messy would be if the holder of the original ticket, who might have arrived only a few minutes late, happened to hang around til the holder of the new winning ticket arrived to claim his prize.
I think it is easy to see where the holder of the original ticket might be a trifle upset and feel cheated at seeing someone walk off with a prize he or she thought was theirs.
So, as I said above, work should begin to get the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to eliminate the rule that a second ticket must be drawn if the holder of the original number drawn is not present to claim the prize.
If the number remains unclaimed after the year, the prize would go elsewhere, as decreed by the Raffle Licence Terms and Conditions.
I don’t think anything could be simpler than that.
But then, will the Alcohol and Gaming Commission see it that way?
We will never know if it isn’t asked..


Many summer jobs available to students enrolled in a co-operative education in post-secondary schools have age restrictions as low as 24 to as high as 30, Stephanie Donison wrote in Sault This Week.

She said this can create a difficult obstacle to overcome for older graduate students whose programs require a co-op position graduate and used Josh Brooks, who is 30, as an example.

I can’t see any reason for such age restrictions and moves should be made to eliminate them. A student is a student is a student, no matter the age.


Doug Millroy can be reached at dmillroy@gmail.com.


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