The Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) modernization initiatives have brought customers the convenience of purchasing lottery tickets online and placing deposits in an online gaming account. However, as many OLG customers found out too late, the use of credit card when paying for online gambling transactions including the purchase of lottery tickets, comes with an extra charge.
Many were disheartened by the additional CA$5 to CA$10 charges billed by the credit card company for their PlayOLG online transactions. PlayOLG though assets that they are not remiss in furnishing customers with advice about cash advance fees applied by banks in behalf of credit card companies. Still, players are not happy in learning that the convenience of gambling online if transacted by way of credit card could be more costly.
CTV News reports of a dismayed OLG customer who learned about the charges, only after going over his credit card billing statement. Although gratified by the ease by which he could purchase lottery tickets online and in placing an CA$18 deposit in his PlayOLG account, he was disheartened by the additional CA$5 fee added to his CA$18 deposit at PlayOLG.
In response to the CTV News report, OLG explained that some banks treat as cash advance, payments made to online gambling facilities. The fee collected varies according to the credit card company concerned, which is why they gave notification to customers to check beforehand with their credit card issuers. OLG said that some credit card companies even add interest charges as part of cash advance terms and conditions, and counting from the date the online gambling credit card payment was made. According to the OLG, some card issuers do this because they want to limit the use of credit cards for online gambling spends.
Actually, another Canadian provincial lottery corporation had previously raised the issue. Last year, Andrea Marantz of the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC) in Alberta, Canada said that they have argued the matter with the issuing banks. Although some paid heed and have stopped with the practice of treating online lottery purchases as cash advances, some others have rejected WCLC’s arguments.
WCLC is the Alberta-based non-profit organization tasked by the provincial government to administrate, carry out, and operate the lottery and gaming-related activities of the provincial governments of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Ms. Marantz added that they have taken pains to let their lottery subscribers know of such conditions and that they make sure their customers are clear about the matter.
However, it appears that the extra charges and the cash advance treatment are true for all lottery ticket purchases whether made online or in land-based outlets. Some lottery kiosk owners have put up signs in their establishment to raise their customers’ awareness about the charges. The WCLC in fact suggests that one way to avoid the cash advance fees is to buy lottery tickets from a convenience store or a gas station, as it is likely that their lottery purchase will be included as an item in their list of grocery or gas purchases.