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High-tech 50/50 draw a sure thing Tyler Follett
News – The Ottawa Senators 50/50 draws will be getting a high-tech makeover for next season. The Ottawa Senators Foundation will be part of a pilot program with the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation that Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is launching this fall to improve and modernize 50/50 draws by moving to an electronic system. The announcement at the Canadian Tire Centre March 12 featured members of the Sens Foundation and their supported charities, represen-
tatives from the Ottawa Senators, as well as politicians who made the push for provincial government to allow it. The new system will let vendors sell 50/50 tickets electronically with handheld devices, while displaying real time jackpots allowing fans to track the funds, encouraging them to get involved. “Since the Sens Foundation was formed in 1998 and began selling 50/50 tickets, the revenue from the raffles has been over $13 million,” said Danielle Robinson, president and chief executive of the Sens Foundation. The change is expected to increase 50/50 profits for the Sens Foundation, with dou-
bling or tripling revenue a realistic possibility according to Ottawa - Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi. Electronic 50/50 raffles are already in use in western Canada, with the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets all seeing improved results. “The average gross jackpots in those cities has been between $60,000 and $108,000,” said Robinson. Those numbers mean they’ve experienced anywhere from 60% to 100% increase in 50/50 revenue since the change. This is compared to the Senators who this season have averaged between $28,000 and
$33,000, which at one point would have been “amongst the top of the league” according to Robinson. The increased revenues will allow the Sens Foundation to give back even more to its charitable causes like Roger’s House, Sens at School, Sens Rinks, as well as the groups the Foundation supports such as Special Olympics Ontario and Easter Seals Ontario, who were both on hand for the announcement. “In the last 10 years the Sens Foundation has contributed $75 million to charities and local events in our community, which is incredible,” said Naqvi. “Imagine how many more youth and kids we
The Ottawa Senators Foundation president Danielle Robinson addresses the media as she explains who will benefit the most from the increased revenues. can support in our community if we’re making even more?” Naqvi and Ottawa West Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli helped push the provincial government to allow the pilot projects.
“(Yasir and I) did a bit of a tag team at Queen’s Park to facilitate this important day,” said Chiarelli. The new system will be ready to go by the start of the 2014/15 Senators season.
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