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New data system to help fight lotto fraud

In Canada on November 25, 2010 at 09:46

New data system to help fight lotto fraud

  November 24, 2010 – 11:02 pm

Tim Fraser for National Post

The OLG will know “everything there is to know about the history of a ticket,” says vice-president Fariba Anderson about the new technology.

Defrauded out of $250,000 in Encore winnings by a retailer, Bob Edmonds waited years for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to complete its investigation and declare him the rightful winner.

Mr. Edmonds died of cancer at age 83 with his letter of apology still in the mail.

To help ensure his experience is never repeated, the OLG unveiled new technology on Wednesday designed to reduce investigations that once took several months or even years down to a matter of minutes.

“This new system allows us to have information at our fingertips that we didn’t have before,” said Rula Sharkawi, director of communications for the OLG.

Named DART — for Data Analysis and Retrieval Technology — the $1.7-million system is capable of storing all lottery transactions conducted in Ontario since March 1999 — all 11.8-billion of them.

“With our data models we are now able to access all those transactions in a real-time environment and basically know everything there is to know about the history of a ticket,” said Fariba Anderson, the OLG’s vice-president for lottery information technology.

DART allows the OLG to build what it calls a “ticket profile,” which tracks the history of any given ticket, from the precise time and location where it was purchased to when and where it was validated and eventually redeemed. The system also keeps track of any other lottery tickets purchased along with the winning one. It can recognize the patterns of players who regularly play the same numbers, all while protecting the identity of consumers.

DART also monitors the transactions of retailers that occur five minutes before and after redeeming a winning ticket. So it is possible that if a retailer tries to keep a winning ticket for his/herself, as Phyllis LaPlante did in the case of Mr. Edmonds, OLG will know.

Ms. Anderson acknowledged that DART is by no means a comprehensive solution to fraud. It is designed to work in tandem with several new security measures implemented by the OLG in recent years, with human control still at the core of player protection.

“This is a technological capability, the power is with the investigators who get this data — DART is just a tool, and like any other tool it can be as good as the users’ ability,” she said.

National Post

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