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BC Lotto to pay bad gamblers

A judge has ruled the BC Lottery Corp. must pay back a group of problem gamblers who had jackpots taken from them because they had signed up for a voluntary self-exclusion program.

But the ruling only covers a 14-month period in 2009 and 2010, and people who lost jackpots since then are out of luck.

Two men filed a class-action lawsuit against the lottery corporation over its policy that gamblers who've signed up for a voluntary exclusion program cannot collect any jackpots they win in the province's casinos.

Hamidreza Haghdust was denied two jackpots together worth $35,000, while Michael Lee was denied one jackpot worth $42,500.

A BC Supreme Court judge ruled the lottery corporation didn't have the authority to withhold jackpots from April 2009, when the policy was put in place, until a provincial law was amended in June 2010.

The ruling means people who had jackpots withheld in that time period will get that money back, although it's not clear how many people the ruling could affect or how much those payments will be worth.

The Canadian Press

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