21 April 2009

Ontario Lottery And Gaming Could Be In Deep Doo Doo

$3.5 Billion Lawsuit Looks Good From The Plaintiffs Side
A $3.5-billion lawsuit against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. on behalf of more than 10,000 problem gamblers - with ramifications for many thousands more across Canada - reveals a devastating glimpse into a lucrative government business that leaves some of its best customers in financial ruin.......
Aubrey Dennis 49, a Markham man, lost a big whack of dough playing slots mainly at Woodbine and Casino Rama. He is the one who launched this lawsuit on behalf of gamblers on the self exclusion list.
After losing an estimated half a million he eventually signed the self exclusion contract, and was photographed and told that if he was seen at an OLG casino he would be charged with trespassing.
He was only turned away once (a bus to Casino Rama), but even on that day he wound up going to Woodbine instead.
He proceeded to lose a couple of homes and his job.

The fact that the OLG was stupid enough to have a self exclusion form that they obviously couldn't/wouldn't enforce properly puts them in a very bad situation in my opinion.

Personally, I'm not sympathetic to Mr. Dennis either. He knew he had a problem, but still went to the casinos obviously hoping they wouldn't turn him away. He may gain here because the system stinks. The fact that our society thinks they need to have these types of lists is ludicrous. I mean, how can you stop someone from losing their rent money and food money on lotteries? Until we utilize fingerprint technology, it is completely unrealistic for society to stop a problem gambler from gambling. And the OLG should have known this before OKing the self exclusion program.

The OLG profited over $2 billion last year, so $3.5 billion is still a lot. A similar but smaller lawsuit was filed previously by Joseph Keyes, who signed the self exclusion document. He settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. I have no idea what the OLG will use as a defense for this one.

For those who don't know, 20% of slot profits in Ontario are split between the racetrack and the horsemen.

In related news, a gambling postie in Calgary gets to spend time in jail for stealing mail and forging checks.

Friends Of Fort Erie Thoroughbred Racing
The EDTC of Fort Erie, in an attempt to put a plan together that will look good enough to the government, that they will guarantee a $35 million purchase plan of Fort Erie race track by the EDTC, has put together a web page asking for suggestions on how to improve the bottom line at "The Fort."
I sent a couple of suggestions regarding post times. I have more. They have my number. Here is the suggestion box page.

Speaking of Fort Erie, opening day is just around the corner. The first Saturday of May (same as the Kentucky Derby).

Some of the Fort Erie jockeys are seen in this Youtube video working on their fitness and timing:

OK, that was just a mild attempt at humour. It does look like fun. Maybe this could count as another idea for Fort Erie. This would be a great attraction for kids, though I'm not sure how insurance companies would handle the danger aspect of it. These inflatable horses are unpredictable, and a child still risks serious danger, though it is highly improbable, it could still happen, helmets or no helmets.

Good news for bettors; bad news for business that don't want to compete like Woodbine: Canada May Get On-Line Gambling.

Wagering drops in New York OTBs. Didn't they just raise takeouts "thinking" it would mean more money for the OTBs and the state? Morons. Sure the economy has something to do with it. So does competition as New York residents can actually get rebates or rewards by sitting at home and playing with ADWs like Twinspires, Youbet and Premier Turf Club amongst others. The OTB's cry that they can't compete with them is complete hogwash.

Semi success story: Heather Takashi used up her savings to buy a broodmare, patiently sat on the broodmare until breeding her and producing a pretty nice foal who has gone on to win considerable dough. Skill, luck, and patience is the key to making money as an owner (Luck is the number one factor by a country mile).
H/T Jen's ThoroughBlog

Winning Ponies (an internet radio program) hosted by Ed Meyer recently interviewed Chantal Sutherland: Click here and listen to it.

Don't forget to check out the free Past Performance available by clicking here thanks to Brisnet.

The Daily Racing Form has a free page that shows profiles of the contenders, including their last couple of Beyer numbers and video links as well.

Jeff Mullins gets 7 day hand slap for dissing the rules. NYRA may impose further sanctions.

Stalking bid dropped for Magna Entertainment. Stronach appears to be a goner now, as he lost leverage to play more games. Good.


Scott said...

Like you, I don't have a great deal of sympathy for problem gamblers who know they have an addiction, but are now trying to claim it all back from the companies who offered them the service. Adults must be responsible for their own actions. Anything that weakens that stance sets a pathetic example for the rest of society.

But I also don't have any sympathy for the firms which implemented a self-exclusion policy and then did very little to uphold it. You can't treat these matters with lip service. the industry attitude towards problem gamblers has a big input into whether further gambling is legalised - sports betting, bookmakers, Betfair etc. Staff need to be trained in how to deal with problem gamblers, how to carefully suggest to someone they seek help and how to enforce exclusion bans. Online firms are much better at this because of the audit trail - identity verification, players can't use cash, there are records of all customer actions, the player can set limits on losses and deposits (increasing limits takes 7 days to "cool off", decreasing them is instant). Proper regulation and enforcement creates a successful industry, see the UK model for a blueprint.

So I hope the plaintiffs do win, but the money (at least the vast majority of it) goes to charity....

bullring said...

Can you believe the ORC overturned Patrick Husband's suspension?

bullring said...

I mean Simon Husbands.

Cangamble said...

Scott, the fact that the OLG had the program to begin with makes them the guilty party here. Though very difficult to enforce, I'm sure at least some security guards get familiar with regulars. They were obviously not doing the correct job. But still, without having to ID everyone who comes and goes, it was a stupid stance for the OLG to take in the first place.

Bullring, I will write my opinion on the Husbands ruling in a couple of days. I think the year suspension was severe, but he should have got 15 days just for the sake of how it looks to the betting public.

bullring said...

"Public participation in an Internet Racing blog site where gratuitous opinions abound. This blog evidence was sparingly introduced, it being recognized that the evidentiary use was limited. The relevance was to demonstrate the existence of controversy, pro and con. That evidence was not introduced for the truth or reliability of its content. In passing, it is noted that irresponsible blog participation dealing in misinformation, innuendo and lack of informed opinion has an immense capacity to inflict irreparable harm on individuals and upon racing itself. An uninformed opinion is probably expressed more for the benefit of the declarer than for the reader, if there be one."

Which blog do you think they were talking about? :)

Cangamble said...

According to my sources they brought up Jen's blog quite a few times in the trial. Not a mention of mine.
But isn't it funny that the "uninformed" opinion of most of the readers at Jen's Blog and my blog came to the same conclusion that the "informed" stewards (all ex jockeys) came up with?
The ORC basically just humiliated the Woodbine stewards by completely reversing the decision.

jengersnap said...

I like the bouncy horses. Will there be wagering on them? :)

jengersnap said...

Also, would love to see the post times moved later. I hate taking days off to watch my horses run.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the statement "SELF exclusion" put the burden on the individual and not on OLG? Does anyone even know what the form states before they conclude it is OLG's fault?

Cangamble said...

The 2007 self exclusion plan definitely puts the burden on the individual. In fact it say the OLG is not responsible at all if the person goes into a casino and bets.
I'm wondering what it looked like in 2005 though.

Scott said...

in which case (emphasis on the individual), it's a completely pointless action which pays lip service to the problem. These instances tarnish the entire gambling industry - to licence more gambling for those ouf us who enjoy it responsibly, there must be rigid enforcement and protection for those who have no self-control. Otherwise every time gambling is mentioned in the media we are classed as degenerates and the companies are thieves who prey on the meek. These are multi-millon dollar companies paying huge taxes to the govt - they don't want to see them fail as they want the tax revenue. But they need to force them to do it properly.

Bars kick people out when they've had too much. In some countries they break the law if they don't. Gambling firms need to work the same way. They cannot get bigger without changing the sentiment of the general public.