Ontario lottery players now have more options than ever.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has announced players can now purchase online lottery products via both its website and app with a new payment method called ‘Direct Pay.’
Through the new option, registered players can pick up single tickets and lottery subscriptions directly with Visa and Mastercard (debit and credit card). Qualified prepaid cards issued by Canadian banks are also accepted.
Previously, players had to first deposit funds into an OLG e-wallet or pay cash advance fees to buy online lottery products.
But no more said Amanda Marshall, OLG’s vice president of digital product integration.
“As the first gaming provider in Canada to offer Direct Pay for online lottery purchases, OLG is ahead of the pack when it comes to providing customers with convenient and flexible payment options.”
Nine lottery products eligible for new Ontario Lottery payment method
In total, nine different lottery products can be purchased via Direct Pay including the Crown corporation’s two most popular games – Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49.
However, when purchasing through the OLG app, only single tickets – and not lottery subscriptions – qualify.
Regardless, here are the eligible Direct Pay lottery products:
- Lotto Max
- Lotto 6/49
- Daily Grand
- Ontario 49
- Daily Keno
Recently, Canada was struck with lottery-fever when the second-largest Lotto Max prize pool ever ($133 million) swept the nation.
OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said, via email, to PlayCanada he is hoping little tweaks such as the Direct Pay option will only add to the frenzy.
“Making online lottery purchases more convenient for customers supports our plan to deliver an unmatched and integrated digital gaming experience to players in Ontario.”
Visa, Mastercard (debit and credit) accepted by Direct Pay
PaySafe – a specialized payment platform – will process OLG’s Direct Pay purchases. According to its website, the company handled over US$98 billion worth of transactions in 2019, making them a seasoned candidate for the job.
The service accepts the following:
- Visa Debit
- Mastercard Debit
- Qualified prepaid cards issued by Canadian banks
Regardless, there are still some limitations.
For starters, Bitonti tells PlayCanada that Direct Pay isn’t accessible for sports betting, online casino games or online instant tickets.
However, if desired, players can still use the balance in their e-wallet to make a purchase.
“At this time, OLG has launched Direct Pay only for lottery products currently sold on OLG.ca as credit card companies issued a code that allows government-run lottery corporations, such as OLG, to enable Direct Pay for lottery tickets.”
Direct Pay opens discussion on responsible gambling
Direct Pay is convenient. But ethically is it the right thing to do?
Today it is common practice for provincial lotteries to purposely have barriers in place to mitigate the risks of problem gambling. Time limits, spending restrictions and self-exclusion programs are just some examples.
To that end, it could be argued OLG’s previously mandated e-wallet acted as a safeguard in some ways. For instance, previously patrons had to (a.) register, (b.) log-in and (c.) have sufficient funds in their e-wallet to make an online lottery ticket purchase.
However, now all that is needed is a valid payment type (Visa, Mastercard) and an online account – opening up the possibility for more spending.
OLG: Lottery products considered low risk from mitigation perspective
Bitonti assured PlayCanada such concerns shouldn’t be an issue moving forward.
“Lottery products are considered low risk from a harm mitigation perspective. OLG prioritizes player health and works to prevent and mitigate harm from problem gambling as we deliver all our products and services.
“Direct Pay aligns with our existing responsible gaming tool, including purchase limits, to help customers keep the fun in the game.”
OLG’s responsible gambling portfolio integrated into Direct Pay
PlaySmart is OLG’s overarching responsible gambling portfolio. The crown corporation states the platform is in place to maintain healthy habits that enable a lifetime of sustainable play.
OLG.ca – where players would potentially make purchases with Direct Pay – uses PlaySmart’s technology.
The Crown corporation boasts PlaySmart has received the highest level of certification from the World Lottery Association.
Recently OLG partnered with the Responsible Gambling Council – a leader in problem gambling prevention. The RGC is helping the OLG with another program named PlayBreak.
The platform serves as a self-exclusion program.
It is unclear how RGC feels about OLG’s Direct Pay option. The non-profit didn’t respond to PlayCanada for comment in time for publication.