N.B. lottery retailers most likely in region to sell to underage buyers

Compliance rates for keeping lottery tickets out of the hands of people aged under the age of 19 have improved on P.E.I., but have been falling in New Brunswick.

ALC recently changed system for sanctioning retailers

The compliance rate for not selling to underage buyers is more than 80 per cent in most provinces.

Compliance rates for keeping lottery tickets out of the hands of people aged under the age of 19 have improved on P.E.I., but have been falling in New Brunswick.

Compliance rates since 2012 averaged in the mid 70s in New Brunswick, and above 80 per cent in the rest of Atlantic Canada.

  • New Brunswick: 74%
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 81%
  • Nova Scotia: 85%
  • Prince Edward Island: 85%

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation said the rates in New Brunswick are a concern, but Jay Merritt, manager of risk management and investigations, said it is just something the corporation is keeping an eye on for now. 

"We'll continue to do testing and monitor the rates for the rest of 2017/18," said Merritt in an email to CBC News.

"However, our focus right now is on continued training and awareness. Our education efforts are what will improve awareness and ultimately our compliance rates. Extra testing is certainly something we are considering, but no final decisions have been made."

Education and awareness includes retraining in every case of an infraction. The corporation also had a major retraining initiative across the region in the spring.

Turning around P.E.I.

In 2014, ALC expressed some concern about a low level of compliance on Prince Edward Island.

At the end of January, the compliance rate was just 65 per cent, about 20 points below normal.

ALC tested 202 retailers on the Island in that fiscal year, more than twice the norm for recent years. Many of those extra tests, says ALC, were retests of retailers who had failed earlier in the year. The corporation also took advantage of the opportunity of having a tester in the field for retests to conduct more investigations.

By the end of March the compliance rate was up to 74 per cent for the year.

The compliance rate has been above 80 per cent every year since.

Changes to system

ALC recently changed the way it sanctions retailers.

Prior to April 2015, retailers caught selling to minors were issued warning letters followed by suspensions.

ALC still issues warning letters for a first offence, but a second offence results in a $500 fine, and a third in a $1,000 fine. Retraining sessions are required following every offence.

The corporation issued nine $500 fines for New Brunswick last year, and four so far this year. That is the most for any province over the last two years.

About the Author

Kevin Yarr

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.