Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

May 24, 2014

OLG smackdown

Auditor General reveals mistakes in lottery corporation's modernization plan

In April of this year, Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, released her report on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Modernization Plan. The report was prepared and made public in response to motions passed by the legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The report is a sobering read for OLG, for the government, and for anyone interested in gaming in Ontario. The report suggests that OLG’s decision-making and plans were unrealistic, short-sighted, and subject to unstable leadership and oversight. The key question coming out of it isn’t, however, what went wrong. It’s where does OLG go from here?

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Posted by at 8:22 am

February 9, 2013

The Mounties Always Get Their … Website?

CFSEU shuts down Platinum Sports Book

Last Sunday evening, police in York Region, north of Toronto, raided a Super Bowl party in Markham, Ontario. But not just any party: a 2,300 person, invite-only party that authorities allege was a common gaming house hosted and run by a criminal organization.

Six people were arrested and charged with bookmaking, participating in a criminal organization, keeping a common gaming house, and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. Nine other search warrants were executed on Super Bowl Sunday throughout the Greater Toronto Area. At the Markham party, police seized $2.5 million in cash, computers, and motorcycles and Seadoos that were being raffled off. One of the warrants turned up a large safe that was removed on a flatbed truck. In a move familiar to many Americans and US observers, the website through which the sports betting business was apparently run, www.platinumsb.com, was also redirected to a notice from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stating that the site has been restrained by a Canadian court order granted to the Attorney General of Ontario.

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Posted by at 9:29 am

February 2, 2012

Wider World of Poker

Phil's Millions, Regulators make new friends, black-slapping awards, and ultimate melancholy

There’s a muffin waiting for me at the end of this article. Yes, I have stooped so low as to require sugary bribes for motivation. Not an English muffin, either. Those are no good for inducement. Only the sickly American variety has the requisite density of glucose and cocoa.

There we go. Not one paragraph in and I’m already enjoying a new vitality. The chocolate macguffin remains wrapped in its brown paper bag and yet I’ve remembered what it is I love about writing. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement. Well, now that I’ve dealt with that personal crisis, pull yourselves together and lets get on with the news.

The Aussie and the Ivey

Yes, that’s a Christmas pun. So what? I’m recycling. Besides, I’m sure plenty of us media types put a resurgent Phil Ivey in our letters to Santa. After finally emerging from a cash game in Macau hiding, Ivey arrived at the Aussie Millions to play in one of his first major events since Black Friday. As if to make everyone else look like rank amateurs, Ivey waltzed into his most profitable month of tournament poker. After tumbling out of the $100k event, Ivey won his buy-in back by finishing 12th in the Main Event and then grabbed another $2,000,000 for winning the 16-player $250k tournament. Some guy called Oliver Speidel won $1.6m in the Main Event, but his name does not rhyme with ‘cor blimey’ so nobody cared. [Wicked Chops]

The French Channel

The Frenchy bit of Canada and the part of the British Isles closest to France have enshrined a new era of cooperation. The duo have agreed to routinely share information and expertise relating to online gambling regulation. Ontarians don’t have anything to actually regulate yet, but plans are afoot for a province-wide service later this year.

A little to the Southwest of Alderney sits another British Crown Dependency. Back in 2008, Jersey announced that it was providing egaming licenses, just like its little brother Alderney. Their overtures had not attracted any big names until Playtech took the plunge earlier this week. It’s not exactly clear what Playtech will do with their new license, but my guess is that it has something to do with wagering money over the internet. [Gambling Kingz] & [iGaming Business]

Gaming Gongs

“Oh my god! Are you the Galaxy Macau Integrated Resort?! Winner of the 2012 International Gaming Award for Casino/Integrated Resort of the Year? Can I get your autograph?”

That’s the sort of attention the Galaxy Casino is going to have to put up with from now on. Crazy people asking buildings for autographs. Signature hunters will have better luck with Sam Trickett, who was announced as Player of the Year at the European Poker Awards. Other prizes went to Ilari Sahamies, Natalia Nikitina, and Bertrand Grospellier. [European Poker Awards] & [International Gaming Awards]

Poker’s Impending Loss

Finally, something very very sad. Thor Hansen, the doyen of Norwegian poker, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A veteran of Vegas casinos, the 64-year-old has two WSOP bracelets to his name and more than a few friends in the poker community. Hansen will long be remembered as pivotal figure in the growth of the European game and an inspiration to the Norway’s new poker generation. [Card Player]

Nothing funny to say after that. See you next week.

Posted by at 3:06 pm

February 4, 2011

Ontario Lottery and Gaming: Where From Here?

I was fascinated by an article I saw on Tuesday in Wired (Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code by Jonah Lehrer – ‘Easy Money’ in the print edition) addressing the lack of randomness in scratch lottery games, and especially in extended-play games. It’s an old story but a well-written article. The piece centres on a geological statistician named Mohan Srivastava in Toronto. A few years ago, Srivastava started noticing patterns in the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG’s) Tic-Tac-Toe scratch tickets. By focusing only on the non-recurring numbers – the “singles” - from the unscratched cards, Srivastava was able to accurately identify winners approximatley 90% of the time. This wasn’t the only game that he was able to crack, either in Ontario or in other jurisdictions in North America.

At first, OLG wouldn’t even return Srivastava’s calls. They just assumed he was some crazy crank who thought he could beat the lottery. In what I thought was the funniest part of the article, he hit on a way to get their attention:

He bought 20 tic-tac-toe tickets and sorted them, unscratched, into piles of winners and losers. Then, he couriered the package to [Rob] Zufelt [a member of OLG's security team] along with the following note:

In the enclosed envelopes, I have sent you two groups of 10 TicTacToe tickets that I purchased from various outlets around Toronto in the past week… You go ahead and scratch off the cards. Maybe you can give one batch to your lottery ticket specialist. After you’ve scratched them off, you should have a pretty solid sense for whether or not there’s something fishy here.

The package was sent at 10 am. Two hours later, he received a call from Zufelt. Srivastava had correctly predicted 19 out of the 20 tickets. The next day, the tic-tac-toe game was pulled from stores.

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Posted by at 7:52 am