SAULT STE. MARIE -- New jobs are expected in the wake of Ontario’s lottery retailer extending its partnership with an instant ticket finishing plant in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is signing a new 10-year deal with Pollard Banknote.

The new deal, which comes with an additional five-year option to extend through 2037, builds on the existing relationship between OLG and Pollard that began in 2007. At the time, Pollard employed just 37 people in Sault Ste. Marie. That number has grown, and the company says that growth will continue.

“The footprint got bigger, the staffing got bigger, we got up to 120 staff,” said CEO Doug Pollard. “And now, really one of the most exciting parts of this announcement today is, with this new extension from OLG, we’re going to grow to 140 people in Sault Ste. Marie.”

Pollard said instant ticket sales fell at the beginning of the pandemic, but have since rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

“People buy instant tickets for two reasons - to win money and for some fun,” he said. “And what the pandemic really showed to me is instant lottery tickets still have a big portion of entertainment for some people.”

Pollard said more than 200 million instant tickets move through the Sault Ste. Marie finishing plant every month. OLG is expected to order more than two billion tickets from the Sault plant over the next 10 years.

Duncan Hannay, CEO of OLG, said instant tickets continue to be strong sellers.

“We’re continuing to see growth of about four per cent overall on a very mature business I would say,” said Hannay. “Our instant lottery business, or that segment of our business, I believe it’s up 14 per cent year over year.”