Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation?
Created on April 1, 2000 under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act, 1999, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is a provincial agency operating and managing province-wide lotteries, casinos, and slots facilities at horse racing tracks.
Our purpose is to make life better for people across Ontario by generating revenue provincially and economic and social benefits locally. Our vision is to be the role model for gaming entertainment worldwide, by creating excitement and possibility for customers and generating economic return while upholding the public’s best interest.
Generating approximately $6 billion in annual revenues and $2 billion in annual profit for the Province of Ontario, OLG businesses directly employ 20,000 people and support nearly 11,000 independent lottery retailers.
2. What is OLG?
OLG is the preferred brand name for Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation which is our full corporate name.
3. How does OLG report to the provincial government?
OLG reports to the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (PIR), and is led by a Board of Directors appointed by the province.
4. How much money does OLG generate and how is that money used?
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act, 1999 directs gaming proceeds to provincial hospitals, sport, recreational and cultural activities, and to charitable organizations and non-profit corporations through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and other government priority programs such as health care and education.
In the 2004/05 business year, OLG generated approximately $2 billion in proceeds that were allocated by the Province of Ontario, including:
- $1.5 billion to hospitals
- $334 million to general government priorities such as health care and education
- $100 million to the Ontario Trillium Foundation
- $36 million to problem gambling
In addition to these public benefits, shares of OLG revenues were also directed to support other sectors, including:
- $300 million to Ontario’s horse racing industry
- $105 million to Ontario First Nations
- $75 million to municipalities hosting OLG gaming sites
5. What is OLG doing about problem gambling?
OLG is strongly committed to upholding the public’s best interest by delivering its products and services in a socially responsible manner. On March 31, 2005, the Corporation launched its Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct, a commitment to reduce the risk of problem gambling in Ontario. Through a series of initiatives, OLG is strengthening its corporate commitment, enhancing customer information and education programs and developing programs and polices that improve the gaming environment.
6. What are the differences between “Resort Casinos,” “OLG Casinos” and “OLG Slots”?
Resort Casinos in Windsor, Niagara Falls and Rama are large facilities that offer more gaming options, higher wagering limits, and a wide range of amenities such as hotels, entertainment venues and meeting/convention areas. OLG Casinos also offer great gaming, food and beverage services and entertainment. OLG Slots at horse racing tracks offer slot machine gaming, food and beverage services and entertainment.
7. How old must a person be to play a lottery game or to visit a gaming site?
Strict age controls are a key component of our commitment to social responsibility. A person must be at least 18 years of age to buy a lottery ticket, and OLG will not pay a prize to anyone less than 18 years of age. A person must be at least 19 years of age to enter a gaming site, the same minimum age as required for the serving of alcohol.
8. Must lottery winners or gaming winners have their names published?
Publishing winners is important to demonstrate the integrity of our lottery games. For every winner there are a number of other players who did not win but have a legitimate desire to know that someone won. OLG reserves the right to publish the name, address and photograph of any lottery winner. The names of winners at gaming sites are released only with the permission of the winner.
9. Does OLG regulate or license charity lotteries? Can charities apply for grants funded with gaming proceeds?
OLG operates commercial gaming on behalf of the province of Ontario. While OLG proceeds support charities through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the regulation and licensing of charity gaming is a responsibility of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
10. Do lottery retailers win a disproportionate number of lottery prizes over $50,000?
There has been much talk across Canada in the recent months about lottery retailers who play lottery games and the proportion to which they win these games. In particular, there has been certain analysis commissioned by the CBC that suggests that lottery retailers in Ontario were winning major prizes at a rate that was almost statistically impossible.
Given our concern about what this report implies and our commitment to transparency with our players we contracted three qualified independent researchers to review the original research and conclusions regarding the rate of win by lottery retailers.
The one common thread that all three experts found is that there is not enough information, with a high degree of certainty, to draw the conclusions that have been made about retailers. In fact, depending on which inputs you use you could reasonably come up with different possible answers and conclusions
“The results are simply too ad hoc and too poorly formulated to be deemed conclusive in any sense about any point they might be trying to make.”
“When the various sources of uncertainty impacting the calculation of the expected number of wins by retailers are taken into account, the difference between that expected number and the actual number of wins by retailers may well lie within the limits of normal chance variation.”
“My overall conclusion is that from the available data, the assertion that the retailers are winning at a higher rate than the general public cannot be justified.”
Retailer Claims by Retail Location
Recent media reports have suggested that retailers are winning a disproportionate number of lottery prizes over $50,000. The following is a breakdown of retailer wins by distribution channel.
The figures in the chart below shows the number of lottery prizes of $50,000 or more won by retailers over the period 1999-2005 broken down by distribution channel.
Without knowing more about the lottery playing patterns of the employees in each channel, it is impossible to determine whether the figures suggest any anomalies in win patterns. Among other things, the chances of winning large prizes in a particular channel are affected by the number of employees in that channel, the number of lottery tickets purchased by each employee in that channel and, since different games offer different odds of winning large prizes than others, the particular lottery games purchased by the employees in that channel. There is no reason to believe that the channels are uniform in each of these variables.Frequently Asked Questions 1. What is Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation? Created on April 1, 2000 under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act, 1999, Ontario Lottery and Gaming
Canadian Gaming Laws
Canadian gambling laws are relatively straightforward when it comes to their impact on the player. This is a nice chance of pace from nations like the United States, where legislative actions such as the UIGEA can make gaming a headache for both participants and operators. This article is intended to give an overview of gambling in Canada, from scratch-off tickets to online casinos.
Is Gambling Legal in Canada?
Gambling is legal in all of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, although the quantity of available options may differ from one region to another. However, the Criminal Code of Canada only designates gambling as legal if it’s conducted by either the province or a body that’s been authorized to act on its behalf.
The average resident is estimated to spend over $500 per year on such pastimes as slots, table games, bingo, lottery tickets, and horse racing. The minimum age to purchase a lottery ticket in Canada is 18, which is also the requirement for playing at casinos in Manitoba, Alberta, and Quebec. In other parts of the nation, a person must be at least 19 in order to step onto the floor of a casino.
Online gambling is in a grey area, as it’s not discussed in the current laws. Citizens are certainly able to access the gaming sites of their choice, although any private organization trying to run an online operation on Canadian soil might find themselves in violation of the previously mentioned law.
Governing Bodies for Canadian Gambling
Canada is the second-largest country in the world by area, and it’s comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Each has their own regulatory body set up to operate and maintain gaming within their sphere of influence, some of which also deal with the distribution and sale of alcohol. I’ve included a few basic details about each, as well as links to the most relevant departmental websites.
Alberta – In 1996, a number of regulatory bodies were combined to create the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. As the name would imply, they are responsible for regulating all gaming and alcohol-related activities in the province. Their website lists all the casinos and bingo halls found throughout Alberta, as well as winning lottery numbers and the nearest liquor stores.
British Columbia – The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch regulates all gaming in British Columbia, from lotteries and horse racing to 50/50 draws and casino table games. Applications for gaming grants and licenses are available on their site, and their problem gambling program offers assistance for the 4.6% of player who become addicted to the hobby. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, $2.7 billion in gaming revenue was generated, with 55% of that amount going to operator commissions, prize payouts, and employment costs.
Manitoba – Gambling activities in the province are regulated by the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission. They provide responsible gaming education, inspections for all gaming equipment, investigations of disputes, licenses for charitable activities, and registration for all casino employees and suppliers.
New Brunswick – In accordance with paragraph 207 of the Canadian criminal code, the management and conduct of all provincial gaming is the responsibility of the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation. These duties extend to harness racing, lotteries, video lottery machines, casino slots and table games, and charitable gaming. The province contains a single gaming establishment, Casino New Brunswick, which is located off the Trans-Canada Highway in Moncton.
Newfoundland and Labrador – Lotteries are the primary form of gambling in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it’s monitored and regulated by a governmental body known as Service NL. According to their guidelines, a lottery is defined as any game in which a person pays something to enter and then possibly receives a prize based on a random drawing. The two main types of gaming are: (a) those held by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, and (b) those conducted by not-for-profit or charitable organizations. The former includes scratch tickets, breakopen tickets, Super 7, and 6/49, while the latter ranges from bingo to various card games.
Nova Scotia – The Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation is tasked with making gaming socially responsible and economically feasible throughout the region. Their responsibilities extend to video lotteries, ticket lotteries, and Casino Nova Scotia (with locations in Halifax and Sydney). Ticket and video lottery products are managed by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which is standard throughout the nation.
Ontario – Created by the provincial government, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation employs more than 18,000 individuals and is responsible for 24 gaming locations (including Casino Rama and Fallsview Casino Resort), as well as over 10,000 locations that sell lottery products. Gambling has brought in over $28 billion in revenue for the province since 1975, and this is distributed throughout various governmental programs for the benefit of the citizenry.
Prince Edward Island – Consisting of one major and 231 minor land masses, Prince Edward Island has one of the lowest gambling rates throughout Canada despite an average individual yearly income of over $60,000. The three-person entity known as the Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission oversees non-casino gaming machines, while the two island casinos are controlled by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Bars and lounges on the islands feature video lottery terminals, although a 2008 initiative significantly reduced their number. Locals and tourists can also try their luck at horse racing, ticket lotteries, and various charitable games.
Quebec – Games of chance in this French-speaking province are controlled by the Quebec Alcohol, Racing, and Gaming Commission. Their oversight extends to amusement machines, video lottery terminals, bingo, and state-run casinos. More information for French speaking Quebec players at casinoargentreel.ca.
Saskatchewan – In this Canadian province, both alcoholic beverages and gambling are regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. In addition to owning and operating all video lottery terminals in the region, the SLGA also regulates horse racing, breakopen tickets, raffles, bingo, and casino. All the slots at the six Saskatchewan Indian gaming establishments are also owned by this regulatory body, and they operate casinos in Moose Jaw and Regina.
Northwest Territories – Since the capital of this federal territory, Yellowknife, has a population of only 19,234, the Northwest Territories aren’t exactly a mecca for gambling in Canada. No casinos exist, but the lottery is available and regulated by the office of Northwest Territories Municipal and Community Affairs. This control also extends to raffles, charity bingo, and Nevada tickets.
Nunavut – In existence since 1999, Nunavut comprises a large portion of Northern Canada and was once part of the Northwest Territories. The least-populated area in the nation, the total number of residents is estimated to be 31,906 (mostly indigenous peoples). It’s unclear which governmental body regulates gambling in the area, as no specific organization is listed. Types of gambling in Nunavut include bingo, lottery tickets, card games, and Nevada pull tickets.
Yukon – The smallest of the three Canadian territories, Yukon contains Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall (open from May until September), which happens to be the oldest legal casino in the nation. Other gambling options include lottery tickets, bingo, raffles, and online play. There doesn’t appear to be a commission set up to regulate gambling in the territory, although permits for charity games can be obtained from the Department of Community Services.
Canadian gambling laws allow for a wide variety of games to be sampled, just as long as the government has a hand in their operation or oversight. This shouldn’t be a problem for players, however, as it has little effect on whether they win or lose.
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