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LETTER: Running the numbers game

Atlantic Lottery
Atlantic Lottery - Contributed

In The Telegram of Dec. 27, Russell Wangersky’s Eastern Passages column was titled “Atlantic Lottery Corp. won’t show us the money.” The column centers on a freedom of information request about video lottery terminals in this province run by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation.

The piece is about the difficulty in getting blood from a turnip or tears and sympathy from a stone-cold, dead-eyed statue.

The ALC also runs a lottery called Lotto Max. A feature of the game is that when the main prize reaches $50 million or more, supplemental draws of $1 million, exact match only, win or share, become available to the player at no extra charge.

For example, the main prize for Jan. 3 was $70 million and there were 26 Maxmillions prizes made possible to be won.

In the list of winning numbers available from lottery ticket retailers, there is a wealth of information to be had.

A glance at the list tells you immediately how many free $5 tickets were paid out (1,895,600 on Jan. 3). Or how many players came so, so close to the giant jackpot (five winners with six out of seven plus the bonus number). Even you can clearly see the number of winners of a toonie on Tag (49,745).

The Maxmillions draws show no pay out at all. Whether there were no winners, one, two, three or more winners of each prize, players checking their stubs are left in the dark.

I wrote a letter to the editor of this newspaper a few years ago regarding this same matter. Now, I still consider the omission to be sharp practice on the part of the Lottery Corp. My position is simple really. All payouts should be shown. Anything else is less than honest in our, not your, casino.

The missing information is easily available and then can be included. Just move the Maxmillions numbers a few places to the left on the winning numbers readout and there will be ample room to let valued customers (if you wish, insert W.C. Fields’ and P.T. Barnum’s universally known epithet here instead) know if there were zero, one, two, three or more winners of a particular Maxmillions prize.

Perhaps Wangersky and others should cease in their efforts to find out how much revenue VLTs were or are bringing in for bar owners in Newfoundland and Labrador.

An uncomfortable truth staring this place in the face is that VLT revenues are keeping numerous bars, service clubs (Stars of the Sea, Legions, Lions Clubs and more), hotel and motel lounges and taprooms running for now and but postponing the inevitable day the sheriffs padlock the place.

If the above businesses had to rely on beer and liquor sales to keep the lights on, they’d have been shuttered long before Muskrat Falls was a gleam in Danny Williams’ eye

Tom Careen,


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