Ontario - The Ontario government in Canada is establishing new regulations designed to strengthen the integrity of the provincial lottery system and protect consumers, Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips said today. These new regulations respond to the first three of 23 recommendations made by the Ombudsman in his March 2007 report. The remaining 20 recommendations from the report were directed to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. "We are taking strong and decisive steps to increase public confidence in our lottery system," Phillips said. "Our new regulations will ensure the integrity of our lottery system, protect the public and ensure the reputation of honest retailers. Consumers can be assured that we have set high standards to build a strong lottery system."The new regulations will include:
A lottery retailer registration program, including background checks
Enforced rules of conduct for lottery retailers
Inspectors who will test the integrity of the lottery system
A process to deal with disputed prize claims between individuals. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) - an arm's-length regulatory agency that reports to the Ministry of Government Services - has been assigned responsibility to regulate the lottery system and adjudicate hearings. The AGCO has a proven track record of regulating casinos, charitable gaming and liquor licences in Ontario. Retailers will begin to register with the AGCO starting in July 2007. Retailers will be required to register with the AGCO by January 1, 2008 and follow specific terms and conditions in order to sell lottery products in Ontario. The AGCO has developed educational material to assist retailers with the new process and will work with them moving forward. Ontario is one of the first jurisdictions to develop comprehensive, independent third-party- oversight of the lottery system and the regulation of retailers. British Columbia, Atlantic Canada and California are also investigating the integrity of their lottery systems.