February 12 can’t come soon enough for Bart Rason.
The Mississauga native won $1 million in the Lotto 6/49 Gold Ball draw on Oct.8, 2022.
The only catch?
Rason is married to an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation employee, subjecting him to enhanced review and validation. Per OLG regulations, Rason classifies as an “Insider Win.”
OLG employees can’t participate in its company’s lotteries. But immediate family members, such as Rason, can. To that end, the only stipulations are – alongside the review process – winners related to OLG staffers must wait 30 days from the date of the winning’s publication to claim the prize.
Assuming everything checks out, Rason will become a millionaire on Feb.12 (he claimed the prize on Jan.13).
OLG: Policy speaks to company transparency
It may be a painful wait, OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti told PlayCanada.
But such precautions are necessary for transparency purposes.
“Once the more extensive review of the prize claim is complete, the final step before payment, is to publicize it to ensure complete transparency and maintain the integrity of the process OLG has in place. If someone reads the Insider release and perhaps has a question about it, they can call OLG.
If, after the 30 days, there are no concerns as a result of the Insider release, then the prize is paid.”
30-day wait period ensures there are no additional claims on the ticket
OLG states $10,000+ prizes – such as Rason’s – can take several weeks to review.
That’s because the crown says, among other things, an investigation will look into the possible involvement of a third party. Further, the government agency states the 30-day wait period ensures no additional claims on the winning ticket.
Essentially, the time frame allows for a grace period in which the public can claim – or dispute – the ticket in the case of inside collusion.
Related Parties not eligible to participate in OLG lotteries
OLG’s Insider Wins policy defines two groups – Insiders and Related Parties. The designation is critical because it lays down the framework for who can – and can’t – win OLG lotteries.
For instance, Related Parties are not eligible to participate alone or as a group in an Ontario lottery. Meanwhile, Insiders are eligible, but they are subject to enhanced scrutiny.
Here are some examples of Related Parties:
- Employees of OLG
- Members of OLG’s board of directors
- Individual consultants or public sector employees retained by OLG through contracts of retainer periods of 30+ days
- Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario employees or members
- OPP officers assigned to AGCO
- Directors, officers, partners and sole proprietors of OLG’s authorized retailers
Insiders eligible to participate in OLG lotteries
OLG, however, defines Rason as an Insider – not a Related Party. Thus, he is eligible to participate and receive his prize money.
Other Insider examples include:
- Authorized retailers and sellers of OLG lottery products and services at retail locations (not affiliated)
- Employees of Interprovincial Lottery Corporation
- Employees of other Canadian regional or provincial lottery agencies (other than OLG)
- Ontario Ministry of Finance employees or Ontario Ministry of Attorney General workers who have lottery-specific oversight
- Family members or any other relatives who reside with the Insider or Related Party
Frequency of Insider wins
Insider wins may happen more frequently than you’d think.
For instance, Ontario had multiple cases in 2022.
Yvonne Sauve (Barrie, Ont.) – winner of $36,449,852.60 – was likely the most memorable. Sauve’s sister was an employee at an authorized OLG retailer – making the lottery-winner subject to an enhanced review.
Two men – Carrie Noel and Karl Nelson – from New Liskeard dealt with a similar situation. In late December, they won $500,000 from Instant High Roller (Game #2324). But, because Noel works for an authorized OLG retailer, the pair also faced a wait.
Some other examples include:
- Ashton Roach (mother works at OLG authorized retailer): $250,000 payout
- Paul Vanblaricum (OLG lottery supplier employee): $100,000 payout
- Harry Jeffrey (daughter works at authorized OLG retailer): $50,000 payout
Opinions on Insider Wins vary on social media
Of course, the frequency of Insider Wins — in and of themselves — is not an indication of anything untoward.
There could be multiple explanations for why Insider Wins happen more often than you’d think. One reason could be that family members related to provincial lottery workers are more invested in playing the lottery.
Naturally, more exposure can lead to more curiosity. Coincidence is another consideration.
Regardless, scrolling through social media shows a vehemently split response to the entire concept of Insider Wins.
Some – such as “Andrew” – applauded OLG in the Toronto Star’s comment boards, saying:
“Glad to know they have a policy in place to double-check.”
However, others echoed another user’s (Davie E.J) thoughts:
“I am curious as to how many times the ‘Insider Win’ situation has happened.”
Loto-Quebec and BCLC allow employees and relatives to play
Outside of Ontario, policies differ.
For instance, Loto-Quebec told PlayCanada, about its policy via email:
“Like all adults who reside in Quebec, the majority of Loto-Quebec employees and their family members aged 18 or over have a right to play the lottery.
We have strict protocols and controls in place to ensure that prizes are paid out to the right holders of winning tickets. This starts at the retail location as soon as the ticket is validated. That said, there are times when investigations need to be carried out to ensure the integrity of prize payments.”
BCLC: Insider Win approval process starts at $2,000
Meanwhile, in BC, the BCLC allows employees and family members (19+) to participate in most lottery games. However, there are “some exceptions for specific employees and sports-betting products, given odds-setting processes, and/or tickets purchased on PlayNow.com.”
A BCLC spokesperson explained its reasoning:
“It’s important to highlight why: draws for national games – such as Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max and Daily Grind – occur in Toronto by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation and are audited by an independent firm to support the integrity of every aspect of the draw.
Similarly, draws for BCLC regional games are conducted using RNG software which has been tested and certified for randomness by third-party experts – and is subject to regular external audits to check the physical security of the solution, which also runs self-tests to ensure integrity.”
Unlike in Ontario, however, Insider Win approval processes begin at $2,000 in BC.