Thursday, March 15, 2007

A few bad apples in the retail barrel

This morning, on the CBC Radio Morning Show, Dave D’Entremont of Long’s Hill Convenience said it was offensive to suggest that shopkeepers were pulling a fast one, and were anything other than honest, upstanding citizens.

Yesterday, in an interview on CBC Radio On the Go, Mike Randell of Atlantic Lottery Corporation said there was no proof that retail operators were somehow cheating prize winners out of their loot.

I beg to differ! And I am not suggesting that retail stores or their staff are all crooks. However, these are the facts: those who sell lottery tickets have won 10 times more often than the rest of us. Either these winners are exceptionally lucky, or they are cheating.

And I don’t believe they are lucky.

This is fresh on the heels of a CBC investigation into the Ontario lottery system, which found that storeowners repeatedly cheated ticket holders by advising them that winning tickets were worth a nominal amount when they were actually worth tens or even hundreds of thousands. So we have very good reason to be skeptical.

One point that Dave D’Entremont failed to make in his interview – and a point in his favour – is that the number of retail winners in this province is actually quite small (just 15). So D’Entremont is right: the vast majority of storekeepers are honest, even if there are a few bad apples.

That said, there is potential for shopkeepers and staff to win unfairly with the break-open tickets as well, and I am not certain if such cases would even be noticed by the corporation. In this scam, the shopkeeper keeps careful tabs on how many winning tickets are being sold in any particular set. Sometimes, there may be a small number of tickets left with a good booty of prizes still unclaimed, and I have heard of instances where shopkeepers bought all remaining tickets, knowing that they would hit the jackpot.

It is possible, then, that the cheating is more prevalent than we think. There is potential for a good investigative piece to be done on this subject…

1 comment:

three cherries said...

The pull-tickets scam is the worst of all. They ought to make it illegal to purchase and redeem them in the same store, that way the shopkeeps will never know where they came form and can't keep tabs.

I believe it's now illegal for them to post the "odds" of winning on those tickets anymore, as they cosntitute false adervtising if the vendor is already aware of the prior distribution of prizes.