Lottery screw-up - Update

The story of the Canadian steelworker who thought he had won $135 000 on four $3 scratchcards, but lost out due to misprints (see previous InfoPowa report) had a happier ending later in the week as Ontario lottery officials relented and paid him an undisclosed settlement.

The National Post reported that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation had reached a financial settlement with Thomas Noftall, following a media storm over the misprinted scratchcards, which the OLG only realised were faulty when "winners" started claiming their prizes.

After meeting with OLG representatives at their North York headquarters this afternoon, Noftall expressed satisfaction with the result.

"I feel a lot better than when I came in," he told a large crowd of reporters and cameras. "I can already feel my blood pressure is going down."

Under the terms of the agreement, the amount involved will not be disclosed - and Noftall had to acknowledge that his ticket was not a winner.

Misprints on the latex film that players scratch off led Noftall to believe he had won a total of $135 000 from four "Fruit Smash" tickets. A printing error meant the image on the latex did not match the cardboard below. The barcode on the card, which OLG rules state is definitive, indicated it had not won.

However, when he called the OLG after buying the ticket, to ask if they would honour his ticket despite the error, an employee told Noftall he would be paid.

An embarrassed Kelly McDoughald, the OLG's CEO, explained that miscommunication prompted the payout. "We have a record of misinforming him," she said. "In recognition of the grief that that caused him over the last few days, we have now reached a settlement."

The National Post reports that since Noftall's case came to light this week in media reports, 15 more people have contacted the OLG with similar stories. Ms. McDoughald urged anybody with concerns to come forward, but suggested they will not receive similar settlements.

"This is a unique situation ... a review of all the other calls that have come in have suggested there has been no other miscommunication," she said. "It's always very difficult to tell somebody who believes they are a winner that they haven't got a winning ticket, but I don't think the public wants us to pay for non-winning tickets."

The printing error, which affected between 50 and 150 tickets, has prompted the OLG to recall all unsold tickets.

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