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The Beer Store will be allowed to sell lottery tickets in Ontario under new agreement

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As the province plans to introduce alcohol sales to Ontario corner stores this summer, The Beer Store will be allowed to sell lottery tickets and other items under the new agreement.

In May, Premier Doug Ford announced that convenience stores can start selling beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink beverages as early as Sept. 5. In doing so, The Beer Store will also be able to expand its offerings, including lottery tickets.

At the time, The Beer Store said it was looking forward to the next stage of the company’s “evolution” amid the expansion of alcohol sales in the province, a statement which a spokesperson told CTV News Toronto stands. Liquor will remain limited to LCBO locations while cannabis and tobacco products will only be available at licenced dispensaries and convenience stores, respectively.

For the LCBO’s part, it said although there is “nothing” in the regulation that prevents it from selling “additional items,” it has no plans to do so at this time when asked about lottery ticket sales. The LCBO was already permitted to sell lottery tickets in its stores prior to the new agreement, but has never exercised the right, a government source said.

A spokesperson for the finance minister said the possibility of lottery sales at The Beer Store would give the company further opportunities and new abilities to grow its business.

As part of the agreement, which was reached before the expiration of an exclusive deal that was set to end in December 2025, the province will reimburse The Beer Store up to $225 million.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, a spokesperson for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation said it continues to “evaluate opportunities on a case-by-case basis” when asked about the sale of lottery tickets at Beer Store locations.

“OLG is constantly evaluating opportunities to expand points of distribution to better serve our customer and fulfill our mandate from government,” a spokesperson said in an email.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow was asked about the development on Wednesday at an unrelated news conference, to which she responded the decision was up to the province and underscored the importance of drinking and gambling responsibly.

Meanwhile, Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie said the possible introduction of lottery sales at The Beer Store would take “reliable business” away from convenience stores.

"Ford just keeps giving the big, foreign-owned brewers more and more money, this time at the expense of the very small, mom-and-pop convenience stores he pretends his billion-dollar boozedoggle is supposed to help,” she said in a statement published Wednesday.

The Beer Store is owned by Molson-Coors (Canadian-American), Labatt Brewing Company via Anheuser-Busch InBev (Belgian) and Sleeman (Japanese).

The plan to expand alcohol sales in Ontario’s convenience stores makes good on a campaign promise made by Ford back in 2018. As part of the deal, licenced grocery stores will also be permitted to start selling ready-to-drink beverages and large-pack sizes of beer as of Aug. 1.

With files from Joshua Freeman and Codi Wilson

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