Federal Audit Discovers Violations at Ontario Lottery and Gaming

Ontario Lottery and Gaming image
Audit. Image Credit: Shutterstock

In a recent audit conducted by Canada’s federal authorities, multiple violations were discovered at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

The government of Canada has recently conducted an audit that revealed a string of violations at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).  According to the review, OLG has misappropriated corporate credit card funds, compensated various practices out of line, and compiled a plan to funnel money to provincial coffers by privatising the casinos in the province.

The audit was conducted by an internal unit of the federal government instead of the auditor general’s office. The report didn’t draw conclusions about the Crown corporation’s performance but, rather, raised concerns regarding the agency’s overall contributions to the province over the past couple of years.

Numerous Irregularities

The two sections of the audit were finalised in June and December of 2020, although the report was only published this month. According to the audit that covered the period between 2015 and 2018, several of the corporation’s executives were given between 16 per cent and 46 per cent worth of raises. This number is far more significant than the average raises at other government corporations, which saw average increases of only three to ten per cent.

In 2018, former CEO, Stephen Rigby, was earning CA$765,000, which increased to CA$797,000 at the time he left the corporation. The audit also revealed that the total executive compensation was CA$11 million in 2019, compared to CA$7.2 million, CA$5.2 million, and CA$6.1 million, at the Metrolinx, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and the LCBO, respectively.

Additionally, the report established that over CA$260,000 worth of credit card funds were spent across the board, and 29 per cent of this was on travel and furniture, which is in contravention of the OLG’s credit card policies. However, the audit did not formulate any conclusions about the former CEO. According to an OLG representative, Tony Bitonti, credit card spending was a legitimate work-related expenditure.

Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, noted that the audit pointed out that a modernisation process is too rigid and complex. According to him, the process made it hard for operators to bid on contracts and undermined the business for those without a valid casino license, which led to a decrease in revenue for the province.

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