Year-Round Pilot LTVM Project Goes Underway in Calgary and Edmonton

Written By Janice Doughtrey

The Alberta Gaming and Lottery Commission (AGLC) together with The Western Canada  Lottery Corporation (WCLC) has this week initiated a one year Lottery Ticket Vending Machine (LTVM) pilot project. It aims to determine the viability of the self-serve lottery vending technology in the province of Alberta.

Last September 21, 2015, the LTVMs were installed in age-controlled casinos and gaming entertainment centers such as bingo halls and racetracks, where minors are barred from entering. The entertainment centers and casinos are spread across Calgary and Edmonton, to which completion of installation is expected to be attained on October 09, 2015.

Within a one-year testing period, legal-aged and eligible Alberta gamblers will have access to the LVTMs as alternative method of purchasing lottery tickets. The overall result of the one-year LVTM pilot project will ascertain if gamblers in Alberta are attracted to the self-serve lottery technology, to a degree that would justify or warrant the continuance of WCLC’s LTVM initiative.

The LTVMs dispense instant win lottery tickets more popularly known as scratchcards and accepts only cash transactions in return for scratchcards valued at prices ranging from CA$1 to CA$30. The LTVMs will not accept credit cards and is not configured to dispense changes.

To ensure that underage gambling will be prevented, each LTVM has the capability to perform a mandatory scan of the purchaser’s driver’s license to confirm the LTVM user’s age. The AGLC is quick to emphasize that the LTVM’s are not equipped to store personal information but only capable of verifying the user’s age and of accepting transaction only if the purchaser’s age has been verified as eligible.

In a statement announcing the launch of the one-year LTVM pilot project, AGLC CEO Bill Robinson explained that it is their job at the AGLC to provide Albertans with the best options available on which to spend their entertainment money. In view of such task, he added that they are constantly seeking ways to improve the province’s game offerings, whilst mindful of the AGLC’s commitment to ensure integrity, as well as maintain social responsibility in providing the entertainment and gaming options.

In fact, prior to the development of the business case for the LTVM pilot project, the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI) conducted studies to determine any potential problems posed by the introduction of the self-service, instant win lottery ticket vending machines. Robert Williams, one of the AGRI gaming researchers and research coordinator, commented that they do not anticipate any major problems. Instant lottery tickets are after all, already available to purchase in more than 2,500 retail lottery outlets located across the province.

The installation of the additional 20 LTVM units in existing casinos and gaming entertainment centers throughout the province is not regarded as a major expansion. According to Mr. Williams, the pilot LTVMs in land-based casinos and gaming entertainment centers is by far, less problematic than making the instant win lottery tickets available 24 hours a day via online vending facilities.

Still, the AGRI researcher commented that the only actual concern is the possibility that the availability of LTVMs in gaming centers and casinos could likely affect those with adverse gambling behavior. Accordingly, such visits to gaming centers and casinos to purchase lottery tickets, has the potential to exacerbate adverse gambling tendencies.