Odds & Ends: PlayCanada’s Canadian Gambling News Roundup

Written By Robyn McNeil on February 3, 2023 - Last Updated on February 6, 2023
playcanada's semi-regular round up of Canadian Gambling News

Welcome to Odds & Ends, the semi-regular feature that covers the snippets of news that sometimes get missed, aka Canadian gambling news, delivered in bite-sized bits.

Cascades Casino Delta workers join Unifor

Workers at the Cascades Casino in Delta, BC, became Unifor’s newest union members on Jan. 24 after the BC Labour Board certified the unit.

More than 200 workers (dealers, slot attendants, guest services workers, food and beverage servers, cashiers, and security guards) are now part of Unifor Local 114. Now the group begins the process of hammering out their first collective agreement.

Meanwhile, Local 3000 members are currently negotiating to adjust wages to reflect the high cost of living in Metro Vancouver.

PointsBet Invitational headed to Southern Ontario this fall

PointsBet’s one-of-a-kind, high-tension annual curling event is on the way to Oakville’s Sixteen Mile Sports Complex. Last year, New Brunswick hosted the inaugural event.

The sudden-death, single-knockout event will see 32 teams go head-to-head for a chance at a prize purse of more than $350,000. It’s also the first major event of Curling Canada’s 2023-24 campaign, which gives fans a chance to see the impact of off-season lineup changes ahead of qualifiers for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

Like last year, fans also have a chance to win the Sweep 16 Bracket Challenge. To win the $1-million prize from PointsBet Canada, a fan must correctly predict the men’s and women’s tournament brackets.

“The inaugural PointsBet Invitational last fall in Fredericton exceeded our expectations in terms of the drama and intensity on the ice, and we have every expectation that the excitement will go to another level in Oakville,” said Katherine Henderson, Curling Canada’s CEO.

“It’s a unique event, like none other in curling, and with the exceptional support from our Official Sports Betting Partner PointsBet, fans will be in for a great show on and off the ice.”

OLG named a top Canadian employer for the second year in a row

Ontario Lottery and Gaming once again made Forbes’ list of Canada’s Best Employers. This year, Ontario’s lottery corp. moved up the ranks, placing in the top 15% of companies recognized in 2023.

More specifically, OLG ranked 41 out of 300 companies on Canada’s Best Employers list, moving up 12 spots since 2022 — and placing second in its industry.

“It is an honour to again be recognized on Forbes’ list of top employers in Canada and to know that so many of our employees would recommend OLG as a great place to work,” said Duncan Hannay, OLG’s president and CEO.

“OLG is an employer of choice, and I am proud to work alongside all OLGers as we transform gaming entertainment in Ontario and make a difference for people throughout the province.

Video poker player at Montreal Casino takes home $3 million jackpot 

He wasn’t there to play poker, but Claude Martin had time to kill, so he risked a few dollars. 

The Lanaudière resident had tickets to see Roch Voisine at the Cabaret du Casino with his wife and some friends. 

Before the show, the group dined at Le Montréal. When dinner ended, they still had some time before the show started. To pass the time, Martin decided to play some 3-card poker. A few hands later, a flopped royal flush in spades won the jackpot.

Martin’s $3,056,175 win is Montreal Casino’s largest-ever progressive jackpot prize.

According to Loto-Québec, its inter-casino progressive jackpot is available to 3 Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em players at all provincial casinos. To be eligible to win, players must make a $5 side bet. The jackpot increases with every bet until it goes.

After resetting the clock, Martin, who loves his job, said he isn’t ready to retire but plans to slow down. He’s also looking to purchase his dream car and a lakeside cottage. 

And, since the win kept him the night’s show, tickets to a future Roch Voisine performance are a sure thing.

Ontario woman pockets $60 million Lotto Max prize.

Breaking tradition worked out pretty well for Richmond Hill’s Camellia Talachi.

After exclusively playing her own numbers for the past few years, the sales professional switched to OLG’s QuickPicks. 

Just a few months later, the change paid off when those picks took the top prize in the Nov.29 draw. Talachi picked up the lucky ticket at Bayview Kitchen Food Fair on Bayview Ave in her home community.

Now she’s $60 million richer and Ontario’s newest multimillionaire.

Talachi said she wants to use some of her windfall to start a business to create employment. But to ensure what she builds is sustainable, she plans to take her time.

Otherwise, the art lover plans to travel extensively with her family, visiting the masterpieces of the world.

“A win this big needs to be shared,” said Talachi. Who better to share it with than the people I love the most?”

Mark Goldberg appointed to lead information and technology at BCLC

British Columbia Lottery Corporation has a new chief information officer and vice resident of business technology.

Mark Goldberg, who took the reigns last week, will lead technology strategies for the lottery, casino, sports betting and corporate operations. 

Before moving to BCLC, Goldberg spent four years as an executive at the Vancouver-based social media management platform Hootsuite. Beyond that, he has more than 20 years of experience in IT and transformation leadership.

“We are so pleased to welcome Mark to BCLC, where his demonstrated success in leveraging information technology to grow and scale business objectives for global companies will strengthen our work to deliver truly exceptional player experiences,” said BCLC president and CEO Pat Davis.

“This is a key role, as technology truly underpins every facet of our business – from the systems that enable the purchase and validation of lottery tickets, to the complex network of slot machines at our casinos and community gaming centres and the infrastructure that supports the province’s only, legal regulated gambling website – PlayNow.com.”

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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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