New Brunswick

Atlantic Lottery insiders claim 5% of jackpots worth $10K or more

Lottery retailers and insiders in Atlantic Canada continue to have better luck as the size of prizes increases.

Retailers' success rate with jackpots of more than $10K higher than rate for smaller prizes last year

Lottery retailers can automatically mark their draw-based lottery ticket, such as Lotto 6/49, as a 'Retailer Play' at the time of purchase.

Lottery retailers and insiders in Atlantic Canada continue to have better luck as the size of prizes increases.

The puzzling trend is again evident in the 2015-16 integrity and compliance report issued by the Atlantic Lottery Corp.

The report shows lottery retailers, their employees or their family members won 133 of 4,100 prizes between $1,000 and $9,999, for a success rate of 3.2 per cent.

But the success rate for lottery insiders grew to 4.9 per cent for prizes of more than $10,000 as insiders claimed 25 of the 511 prizes collected in that category in 2015-16.

The total value of wins by retailers and their employees in Atlantic Canada in 2015-16 was $5.8 million, with retailers collecting 73 prizes and their employees winning 85 prizes of more than $1,000.

Lottery insiders have also had a higher percentage of wins in the large prize category in recent years, although the 2015-16 results show the largest disparity between the success rates in the two categories over the past three years.

Atlantic Lottery Corp.'s reported wins by retailers and their employees for the last three years. (Atlantic Lottery Corp.)
In 2014-15, insiders claimed 3.6 per cent of prizes of more than $10,000 and 2.7 per cent of prizes between $1,000 and $9,999. In 2013-14, the success rate for insiders was 4.8 per cent in the large prize category compared to 3.4 per cent for smaller prizes.

Similar disparities existed in previous years as well. A 2011 review of lottery wins by insiders found they won 8.3 per cent of jackpots of more than $10,000 over the previous four years — worth a combined $58 million — but just 3.9 per cent of prizes below $10,000 during the same time period.

The CBC review prompted Atlantic Lottery to commission two external reports about insider wins, both of which showed the level of insiders wins was acceptable.

$4.5M won in draw-based games

Most of the prize money won by the insiders was through 117 winning tickets in online draw-based games, such as Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max, which amounted to $4.5 million in prize money, with $1.2 million of that amount won by retailers and $3.2 million won by retail employees or their family members.

The insiders group collected $1.2 million in major prizes from 23 winning scratch-and-win tickets, with $995,000 of that amount claimed by retailers.

(Atlantic Lottery Corp.)
About $40,000 was won in sports betting, with related parties submitting 18 winning tickets.

Atlantic Lottery states it carries out an in-depth investigation of all wins of $999 or more by retailers or their employees.

Immediate family members of lottery retailers and their employees also fall under the lottery corporation's "related parties" policy requiring an investigation of winning tickets submitted.

Carla Bourque, Atlantic Lottery spokeswoman, said the corporation does not have an estimate of how many people in Atlantic Canada are considered related parties under the corporation's policy.

"It's difficult to get an estimate for a number of reasons, including the number of retailers fluctuates, the number of employees fluctuates, and we have no real way of knowing the size of any retailer or employee's family," said Bourque.

In 2011, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation estimated about 100,000 Atlantic Canadians were covered by the related parties policy, which amounted to 5.6 per cent of the region's adult population.

Retailer play button

The lottery corporation instituted a retailer play button in 2012 that can be used when retailers purchase draw-based tickets such as Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max.

Use of the button prints "Retailer Play" at the top of tickets purchased by retailers or their employees.

Insiders who submit a winning draw-based ticket for $1,000 or more that is not marked as a retailer play are subject to a mandatory 30-day investigation of the claimed win.

Of the 117 wins by insiders on draw-based games, 71 of the tickets were marked as a "retailer play."

Of the 18 winning sports tickets, 15 were marked as a "retailer play."

Bourque said the lottery corporation does not track how much retailers are playing lottery games versus what they win in prizes.

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation manages lotteries for the governments of the four Atlantic provinces. Its annual report for 2015-16 has yet to be released, but the previous year it recorded a net profit of $376.8 million.

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