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Loto-Québec Withdraws Controversial Scratch Cards

After some serious public backlash, Loto-Québec has decided to withdraw its ‘Heat Record’ or ‘Record de Chaleur’ scratch-off cards from the markets. The tickets have been pulled off the market on the same day they were launched as their heat theme has unfortunately corresponded with a temperature spike that has caused over 300 wildfires and multiple deaths in British Columbia.

Last week British Columbia reported over 300 wildfires burning in the province, and local authorities have reported over 700 death cases during the heat spike. This week the province also warns about more upcoming and potentially dangerous heat waves. The ticket reads “The hotter it gets, the bigger the prize”, and this has caused a major backlash in the country.

Unfortunate Coincidence

Spokesperson for Loto-Québec, Renaud Dugas, provided clarification regarding the controversial tickets on behalf of the Crown corporation. Mr. Dugas explained that the Heat Record concept was created back in the fall of 2020, and the idea behind it was to produce a summer-themed ticket as many Quebecers prefer a nice and warm summer season.

The recently introduced CA$2 tickets payout winning based out on the outside temperature. As the slogan states the hotter the day, the bigger the prizes. There are seven sun symbols on the ticket for players to scratch off and some of them pay out CA$1,000 per degree depending on the temperature. For example, if it’s 30 degrees Celsius, the prize would then be CA$30,000.

Mr. Dugas continued by saying that the ‘Heat Record’ tickets are a part of the Crown agency’s 50 one-off ticket launches per year. However, he stated that the Crown understands the sensitivity behind the topic, even if it is not the initial notion of the tickets. That is why the Crown corporation has decided to withdraw the scratch-off product from the market.

Security Breach

Most recently Loto-Québec has reported that a while ago the Crown’s official online platform has suffered a security breach. Martin Raymond, a computer analyst from Terrebonne, was involved in a fraudulent scheme, where when working for the Crown corporation he gained access to the company’s user accounts and database. He has taken advantage of 30 user accounts transferring money to his own, thankfully the agency was quick to detect him.

Last Wednesday, the 37-year-old Mr. Raymond has been formally charged with several criminal offenses at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse for his misconduct. He is accused of breach of trust by a public officer, fraud over CA$5,000 against the player and the Crown corporation, possession of personal information, and unauthorized use of a computer.

Online Casino Ads

The Crown Corporation is also planning on dealing with another issue in the province. The agency has sought legal help in its battle against illegal online casinos on TV channels. The ads are a cause of confusion among locals as they tend to believe that the promoted illegal websites are a part of the Crown’s regulated gaming offerings. However, this is far from the truth.

Source: Rowe, Daniel “Loto-Quebec pulls ‘Heat Record’ scratch cards off the market due to backlash”, CTV News, July 13, 2021