Ontario man denied jackpot because he doesn’t have photo ID

An Ontario man hit the jackpot playing a slot machine last month in Etobicoke, but he still hasn’t been able to collect his winnings because he doesn’t have photo ID.

“I said to the casino I just want to get my money and never to go back there again,” said Anthony Michael, of Welland, Ont.

Ontario’s gaming industry is concerned criminals are using casinos for money laundering, so anyone who wins more than $3,000 must produce a government issued photo ID.

On Nov.18,  Michael stopped at Casino Woodbine to play a slot machine, and within a few minutes he hit the jackpot of $4,133.50.

“It felt great,” said Michael.

But when Michael went to claim his prize, he was told he had to produce government issued photo identification — something he said he doesn’t have due to health reasons.

“I suffer from epilepsy. I’m 52 years of age and I have had it since I was 15. It’s one of the reasons I don’t drive, so no driver’s licence,” said Michael.

Michael said he was unaware he needed photo ID to collect his winnings.

“The fact that you don’t need to show identification when you’re spending thousands of dollars or hundreds of dollars when you’re gambling, you don’t have to show ID, but to collect your winnings you do,” said Michael.

Michael said when he inquired about getting a government photo ID card, he was told it could take as long as February for it to arrive.

Michael feels he won the jackpot fair and square, and said he feels he should be given the money now, as it would help him get through the Christmas season.

“It’s just before Christmas and that type of money, especially when you’re not on any kind of government assistance, would really help,” said Michael.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Casino Woodbine and Chuck Keeling, Executive Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement and Community and Social Responsibility with Great Canadian Entertainment said, “Ontario’s casino operators must adhere to standards mandated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). One of those standards includes the requirement for players winning amounts over $3,000 to produce government-issued identification; this is one of the many requirements mandated to prevent money laundering in Ontario’s casinos.”

“We are not aware of any exemption that would apply to this situation. For the individual in question, we welcome the opportunity to pay out his winnings once he is able to produce the necessary identification, per AGCO’s regulations.”

Michael will now have to apply for photo ID and wait until he receives it. The casino has assured Michael his jackpot of $4,133.50 will be waiting for him when his photo ID shows up. 

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