With the popularity of poker increasing exponentially every year in Canada, it was only a matter of time before the Ontario Lottery Corporation (OLGC) found a way to incorporate poker into their collection of lottery games. The OLGC has introduced Poker Lotto, a new instant lottery game that allows players to experience the excitement of a winning poker hand for immediate prizes, as well as a chance for $100,000 in a nightly draw.
A ticket for Poker Lotto costs only $2 and the player is dealt a 5-card poker hand that is valid for an instant prize potentially up to $5000. Players must than keep their tickets for that evening’s main draw for $100,000. The odds of winning the grand prize in the nightly draw are about 1 in 2.6 million, so don’t have your sights set on taking home the big prize.
That being said, the OLGC has launched an aggressive marketing campaign using all avenues of promotion (TV, radio, newspaper, online, cinema and point-of-sale ads to promote this game as they suggest that Poker Lotto is “raising the stakes of fun.” These ads are geared around the target audience of young male poker enthusiasts who are hesitant to play high-stakes poker. These ads are geared towards that idea as they promote the $100,000 nightly prize as the big catch for only a small entry fee ($2). The ads feature tough looking men dressed up like royalty intimidating average citizens and suggesting that the average small time poker player stand up and fight against poker intimidation and join the big game.
Ironically, Poker Lotto has already had many opposing political leaders and concerned gambling groups stand up and fight against this game. NDP MPP Peter Kormos is already calling for the government to kill off this game suggesting that Premier McGuinty is acting like a racketeer and wanting to collect all the cash he can from Ontario citizens.
A main argument point for these opposed to the game say that while online gaming is limited to people 19 and older, Poker Lotto tickets can be purchased by 18 year olds. They also want large warning signs to accompany the tickets the same way that cigarettes and alcohol is sold.
The NDP isn’t the only political party questioning the benefits of this game (anticipated to bring in 60 million annually) saying that “It just strikes me that all Dalton McGuinty is interested in is taking more money out of the pockets of Ontario families.”
We all know that poker is a skill game and that the thrill of playing poker is that you get to match wits with an opponent and play your cards in any way you deem fit. This new Poker Lotto game appears to take that element out of poker so it will be interesting to see what becomes of it in the near future.