Coronavirus Closures Include Some Lottery Prize Centres

As the coronavirus seems to spread across North America, the news about responses to it is traveling just as fast. Canada is wasting no time in trying to get a handle on the virus, asking people to be aware of World Health Organization guidance and avoid public gatherings.

Amidst the flurry of news and precautionary measures, casinos and gambling halls shut their doors. There may be a few remaining open, but most gambling regulators have asked that the establishments comply with government requests to cease operations. And casinos around the country are doing so.

Meanwhile, there are some lottery changes as well.

OLG Prize Centre Closed

This week, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced that the OLG Prize Centre at Yonge and Dundas Street in Toronto is now closed. It shut its doors at 6pm on March 17.

There are now several ways to redeem winning lottery tickets.

For prizes up to $999.90, customers can visit any of the 10,000 lottery retail outlets throughout Ontario. Of course, the outlet must have the amount of cash available, so it may be best to call ahead to find an outlet that will have the money and will be open.

For prizes up to $9.999.90, customers can call the OLG Support Centre at 1-800-387.0098 or visit for the address to which the ticket can be mailed. It will take anywhere from four to six weeks to receive that prize, but there may be an extra delay due to the coronavirus shutdowns.

Any lottery prize in the amount of $10,000 or more must be redeemed at the Prize Centre when it reopens. OLG hopes it will only be a matter of weeks before the office reopens. And depending on how long the office is closed, OLG may extend the period of time for lottery ticket redemption beyond the usual 12-month period.

For players who win on the lottery website, winnings up to $999.90 will automatically be credited to the player’s account. Amounts between $1,000 and $99,999.90 require the customer to submit a lottery prize claim declaration form. When the form is accepted, OLG will credit the PlayOLG account or contact the person for more information.

Lottery prizes of $100,000 or more also require the declaration form, but they will not be processed until the Prize Centre reopens. OLG will then contact the customer.

Loto-Quebec Prize Claim Centres Closed

Today, Loto-Quebec announced that it was taking steps to protect the health of employees and customers. The result was the closure of prize claim centres on Rue Sherbrooke Ouest in Montreal and Boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel in Quebec City.

Meanwhile, customers with winning tickets for prizes worth $600 or less can redeem them at the retailer, if that retailer has enough cash to pay the winnings.

Prizes up to $25,000 can claim their prizes by mail, as usual. Winners should complete a claim form and other information to mail to the main Montreal office. All information is on the Loto-Quebec website.

Any customer with a winning ticket worth $25,000 or more should contact the customer service department at 1-866-611-6586 for further directions. Customer service representatives will be answering calls.

Those who win prizes on the Loto-Quebec online purchasing site can redeem their winnings as has always been done. There will be no changes to the online lottery offerings.

ALC VLTs Closed in All Provinces

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation also announced a change this week. The regulator shut off all video lottery terminals throughout all four Atlantic provinces. This happened at midnight on March 15, and they will remain out of service for at least two weeks.

ALC closed the Red Shores Racetrack and Casino locations entirely on March 15 as well.

The announcement noted that ALC “recognizes the economic implications this may have on our retail partners, and we look forward to working together again in the future.”

It is likely that many of those retail locations are also shut down due to gathering limitations, or that time may come soon to close temporarily.

Canadian Economic Response

On March 18, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new economic measures to help workers and businesses in Canada through the COVID-19 hardships.

The government approved up to $27 billion in direct support, which is going to be distributed as follows:

  • Temporary income support for workers and parents
  • Long-term income support for workers
  • Income support for low-income and modest-income individuals and families
  • Flexibility for taxpayers
  • Flexibility from financial institutions for customers
  • Mortgage default management tools
  • Support for Canadian businesses through the Canada Account
  • Helping businesses keep their workers
  • Flexibility for business tax filings
  • Ensuring businesses can access credit
  • Support for financial market liquidity

The Canadian website dedicated to information about the coronavirus offers much more detailed information about all of the above resources and assistance.



Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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