Industry Responds to Lottery Debacle

Association exec startled and saddened by claims

Published in CSP Daily News

TORONTO -- A day after the Ontario government called police to investigate claims of unscrupulous lottery-ticket retailers collecting tens of millions of dollars in "dishonest" winnings, the president of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association tried to get out in front of the issue, confronting it head on with an open letter to all c-store customers.

Here is the letter sent Tuesday in its entirety:

Like most Ontarians, we were startled and saddened by the revelations made in the Ontario ombudsman's report into the [image-nocss] lottery business in Ontario. The behavior that's been uncovered is intolerable. Even one customer being cheated out of their ticket is one too many, and we pledge to work with the government to root out dishonest retailers.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association has always believed that all retailers should be subject to a rigorous review when presenting a winning ticket and any retailer found of wrongdoing should be held accountable and denied the privilege of selling lottery products. The trust of our customers and the public is too important to allow anything but the highest of standards.

The convenience-store industry is a steward for the lottery business in Ontario. The hard working men and women in Ontario's 10,000 convenience stores sell over 700 million lottery tickets worth over $1.4 billion every year. The vast majority of these are honest small business people who support their families by serving communities all across the province.

We had the opportunity to meet with the Ombudsman's staff and provide input into his report and we thank them for that opportunity. During our meeting, we shared information on the convenience-store industry's ongoing work to create a testing process and standards of conduct for retailers under our Responsible Community Retailing initiative.

With the report now released, we look forward to working with government as it implements changes to the way the lottery business operates. And to our customers, we pledge to earn back the trust that's been shaken by an unscrupulous few who have chosen to take advantage of the very people who their livelihood depends on.

Dave Bryans,

President

Ontario Convenience Stores Association

To read about the claims made by the Ontario ombudsman, click here.