Class action launched over scratch and win tickets

A Regina-based law firm has launched a class action lawsuit over scratch and win tickets.

A Regina-based law firm has launched a class action lawsuit over scratch and win tickets.

The Merchant Law group, headed by well-known lawyer Tony Merchant, filed a statement of claim against the Western Canada Lottery Corporation on Tuesday.

The suit comes after a CBC News investigation in Winnipeg showed that retailers were selling games such as Texas Hold 'em Poker, Lucky 7s and Set for Life after the top prizes had been won.

The claim was filed with the Court of Queen's Bench in Regina. The firm says it was filed on behalf of everybody who bought scratch and win tickets since Nov. 1, 2001.

The Western Canadian Lottery Corporation has since made changes so that the list of prizes already won is featured more prominently on its website.

But according to Tony Merchant, the practice of selling tickets after the top prize has been won defrauds ticket buyers.

"They think they can win a million dollars, but they can't, and the lottery corporation continues to advertise that they can win, but they can't win," Merchant said. "So it's a systemic fraud on the buyers of these tickets."

Allegations contained in the claim have not been proven in court.

The case is in its early days and the law firm is seeking ticket buyers to join the suit. A major hurdle for the law firm will be to have the courts certify the class action suit.

Merchant said he will be looking for "not less than" $100 million in damages.

The Merchant Law group is currently pursuing more than 40 high-profile class action lawsuits, including cases dealing with toxic pet food, alleged chocolate bar price fixing and cellphone charges. It was also one of the main law firms involved in residential school claims.

WCLC operates the lottery in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the northern territories.