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Lottery Corporations Help to Heal Pandemic Pain
Canadian lottery corporations regularly donate portions of their profits to community organizations. It is a part of the reason for the existence of lotteries.
During the time of the coronavirus pandemic, some lotteries have stepped up to help in even more ways. Loto-Quebec is working to distribute aid to those most in need of help during this time of mass unemployment and economic and societal pain. OLG made its host communities payment. And the OCGA has granted more flexibility with regard to the distribution of funds so they may go where most needed.
Loto-Quebec: Solidarity with Quebecers
On April 23, Loto-Quebec announced initiatives that it has taken and will take to contribute to people in Quebec affected most by the COVID-19 crisis.
Obviously, the first moves by Loto-Quebec to protect Quebecers included closing all gaming establishments and suspending lottery sales at retail outlets. It moved anything possible to its online gaming platform and expanded the claim period for winning lottery ticket holders. The latter was announced on April 7 and added six months to the expiry dates of winning lottery tickets between March 17 and September 17, 2020.
Loto-Quebec also made a $1 million donation to Quebec’s Moisson food banks and donated masks and disinfectant products to the Ministere de la Sante et des Services Sociaux (Ministry of Health and Social Services).
The lotto organization also froze the salaries of personnel in the company’s upper management and managerial positions for the 2020/2021 fiscal year. And it is also deferring payment of variable compensation per Loto-Quebec’s 2019/2020 performance until the second quarter of 2020/2021.
Partnering with Casino Montreal
Loto-Quebec also partnered with Casino Montreal to form an alliance with La Tablee des Chefs through the Les Cuisines Solidaires project. The organization works in crisis situations to provide meals for people in need.
After coordinating efforts to make the most of the possibilities, they arranged for Casino de Montreal to open its kitchens for teams of volunteers. Last week, they set up operations to begin preparing meals. The goal is to deliver more than 35,000 meals to the most vulnerable members of society each week.
This endeavor adds on to the Le Tablee des Chefs mobilization already in action to produce more than 800,000 meals during the COVID-19 crisis. The opening of Casino Montreal will offer a greater ability to feed more people.
La Tablee des Chefs founder Jean-Francois Archambault noted, “Their infrastructure and expertise will enable them to contribute significantly to the project’s overall output. Thanks to their support and that of the project’s other partners, we’ll soon reach the mark of one million meals.”
OLG: Host Community Payments
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation didn’t exactly do anything out of the ordinary for its host communities during the coronavirus pandemic thus far – at least nothing made public – but it did make its obligatory fourth-quarter payments to gaming site host communities.
This is notable, mostly because OLG saw a dip in its revenue due to casinos closing on Ontario on March 16 and remaining closed into May. Even so, the fourth-quarter payment of more than $22 million was substantial. That money went to 26 communities that host gaming establishments.
The payment is notably smaller than normal.
- January 1 – March 31, 2020 (Q4) = $22,088,992 to 26 communities
- January 1 – March 31, 2019 (Q4 last year) = $25,479,041 to 25 communities
- October 1 – December 31, 2019 (Q3 of current year) = $31,254,134 to 25 communities
The decrease is obvious, and the first quarter of the new fiscal year (April through July) will reflect the most notable decrease when it comes through in three months.
Nevertheless, OLG noted the impact of this $22 million payment at this time. Minister of Finance Rod Phillips said, “These fourth-quarter payments come at a vital time as our partners at all levels of government work together to support people and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
OCGA: Considering Options
Notably a partner of OLG, the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association (OCGA) took steps in March to begin assessing how to make the most of its services.
The OCGA recently sent a note to its members regarding its concern for charities and nonprofit organizations that may not be able to survive these months in order to provide services and programs when Canada begins to reopen.
The OCGA has been working with OLG to obtain greater flexibility during these months to help organizations most impacted. Not only may municipalities find some flexibility with fund disbursements, the OCGA requested that any organization with a surplus of funds donate them to others in their communities. Suggestions included food banks, shelters, and senior support operations.