Loto-Québec passes muster

by , Nov 11, 2013 | 9:49 am

In an interesting decision out of Montreal, the Quebec Superior Court very recently found in favour of Loto-Québec in a claim against it by two Quebec residents. A copy of the judgment is here.

The plaintiffs alleged that certain limited outputs of the algorithm used to generate lottery selections in Quebec’s ‘Extra’ lottery add-on product showed that Loto-Québec violated its own governing by-law, the Criminal Code, and provincial consumer protection legislation. Basically, the plaintiffs claimed that the tickets were not generated at random, which meant that the winners were not selected at random. They sought substantial money damages, including $10M in punitive damages.

The Superior Court roundly rejected every one of the plaintiffs’ claims. Most important, the court found that Loto-Québec generally has the discretion to conduct and administer lotteries within the parameters that it chooses. While tickets as part of the draw may or may not be produced completely at random, the winners are selected at random, and that latter quality is sufficient to meet Loto-Québec’s legal obligations.

There are plenty of good reasons to criticize the provincial lottery monopolies in Canada (poor planning, lack of innovation, the occasional scandal), but exaggerated and baseless claims about a lottery product not being sufficiently random aren’t a useful avenue of attack.

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