Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation continues the sale of lottery tickets of all kinds across the province despite the growing concerns about the novel coronavirus outbreak. Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt made it clear that he would demand the halt of this gaming operation, as lottery enthusiasts risk their health by going to the nearest retail location offering the popular tickets.
Ontario is one of the provinces reporting the highest number of individuals contracting the highly contagious COVID-19. As of March 31, the province reported 260 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. They managed to bring the overall number of Ontario residents with COVID-19 to 1,966. About 4,280 are still waiting to hear their results, as the process takes some time. The death toll reached 33.
Haldimand Mayor Speaks Up
The tension is palpable across the province and non-essential businesses ceased their operation earlier this month. Brick-and-mortar casino venues overseen by the Crown corporation also saw an indefinite closure, as casino patrons’ health is of utmost importance. Casino staff is also being protected through the restrictive measures, as those individuals are in close contact with chips and cards touched by all players.
Online gambling on the platform Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation powers is available and individuals could enjoy the diverse gaming offerings available there. However, there are still the lottery tickets loved by thousands of Canadians. Their purchase is available both in-person and online, but it is no secret to anyone that most of the people end up purchasing them at the retail locations sprinkled across Ontario.
Players go to the shops and purchase draw-based or scratch tickets as a weekly or daily ritual of sorts and many times it is the instant gratification that attracts them to it. However, these gatherings of people often including seniors place their health at risk. For the time being, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has not issued a statement making it clear it would cease in-person sale of lottery tickets.
OLG Continues Sales
Earlier this month, Loto-Québec mandated that all retail locations temporarily close amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Quebec players have expressed their discontent with the restrictions, as many of them do not have a compute or find navigating the online platform of the Crown corporation hard. Mayor Hewitt wants to see similar measures implemented in Ontario. He said the tempting offerings and Main prizes negate the social distancing recommendations.
He addressed the issue to Premier Doug Ford; Finance Minister Rod Phillips; local MPP Toby Barrett, and Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp, chair of the Haldimand and Norfolk Board of Health. Mayor Hewitt claimed that the lottery offerings might offer a significant revenue share to the province while they also fuel diverse local projects, but players’ health is essential right now. He made it clear that allowing retailers to sell tickets is counterproductive.
OLG media manager Dita Kuhtey pointed out that many of the Crown corporations overseeing lottery and gaming offerings continue their daily ticket sales despite the social distancing practice recommendations. Retailers continue their regular work with the precautionary measures necessary, to protect both players and themselves. MPP Barrett pointed out that taking away people’s guilty pleasures is not the right thing to do right now.