Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fiberal spinners: lottery retailers were beating the odds by playing more

Ontario government funds addiction awareness campaign that says that’s not possible

Well, this should make for another interesting Question Period at Queen’s Park today:

Top Liberal political advisers plotted damage control in the wake of a startling TV broadcast exposing an insider win scandal at the Ontario Lottery Corp., according to documents obtained by Sun Media.

Warren Kinsella, Jim Warren and others met four days after the Oct. 25, 2006, Fifth Estate program which revealed the story of Bob Edmonds, a 78-year-old lottery customer and cancer survivor who was ripped off of his $250,000 prize by a lottery ticket retailer, the documents show.

The meeting of Liberal strategists days after the Edmonds’ story focused on hiring experts to counter the view of a CBC mathematician that a disproportionate number of insiders were claiming major prizes, due to the fact that this group spends almost three times as much as the ordinary consumer.

The lottery corporation spent $5,000 for a survey of retailer spending and $44,250 for the views of stats experts.

The PR brain trust wanted to convince people that insiders won more frequently only because they played more often.
--”How the Grits tried to spin a scandal,” Toronto Sun, today

Unfortunately, taking such a message to the public would have run counter to one of the central messages of the gambling addition community: that placing more bets or gambling for longer has no effect on the odds of winning.

This message is currently being seen in the “friends 4 friends” campaign of the Responsible Gambling Council. According to this release, the campaign is supported by the Ontario ministries of health and health promotion.

From the campaign’s “Myths about gambling”:

Myth: My strategy will help me win. For example, picking certain numbers for a lottery or pressing the button of a slot machine at exactly the right time.

Truth: The outcome of all games is random - you cannot influence the outcome. The winning number selection is random and independent from previous draws, so betting the same weekly numbers won’t help you win. In fact the odds of winning the Lotto 6/49 are 1 in 14 million each and every time. Slot machines are computers and outcomes are the result of randomly drawn numbers that determine where the reels will stop before they’re even set in motion. It doesn’t matter when you pull or press.

I have also heard radio ads that emphasize that the odds are the same every time you play. I am trying to track down who is running those ads.


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Nice catch on the hypocrisy, Joan.

Ardvark said...

Hypocrisy, it is the Liberal way. Nice catch.


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