The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has just published its 2022-23 Annual Service Plan Report (the Report), which showed that 2022-23 was a record-breaking year for BCLC. According to the report, BCLC earned a net income of $1.64 billion in the last year.
The Report also detailed a summary of BCLC’s successes in 2022-23, its strategy for the coming years, and the challenges BCLC is currently facing and expects to face in the future. One of these challenges is the impact of the Ontario igaming market on sports betting in British Columbia.
- 2022-23 was the first full fiscal year of normal casino and community gaming operations without COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
- $1.624 billion of BCLC’s net income went directly to the provincial government of British Columbia.
- BCLC says Ontario sports betting laws have blurred the lines and created confusion in British Columbia.
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In-person gambling and Play Now key to increased British Columbia gambling income
BCLC’s most recent annual report showed a total net income of $1.64 billion. This is a record breaking amount of revenue for the provincial lottery company. $1.64 billion represents a $220 million dollar increase in total net revenue compared to the previous record, which was set in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
According to BCLC President and CEO Pat Davis, this increase in revenue was slightly unexpected. 2022-23 was the first full fiscal year of normal casino and community gaming operations without COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Davis said BCLC approached 2022-23 with uncertainty “about both the impacts of any further COVID-19 variants and the public’s willingness to return to public spaces.”
Despite BCLC’s concerns about the public’s willingness to visit casinos in British Columbia in person, BCLC invested heavily in brick-and-mortar casinos in the province. CEO Pat Davis credits these investments for BCLC’s successful year. Contributing to the strong 2022-23 income number was “the expansion of our brick-and-mortar offering with the opening of the new Cascades Casino Delta.”
Further evidence of BCLC’s successes with investing into brick-and-mortar gambling is the fact that the only major expenditure identified in the Report is an investment of $48 million into replacing lottery terminals and outdated IT systems related to these terminals.
In addition to strong in-person gambling performances, the expansion of PlayNow.com, a BCLC run sportsbook, was also listed by Davis as a major factor for increased revenues this year. BCLC signed an exclusive five-year deal with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) to operate internet gambling in the Province of Saskatchewan. PlayNow.com is also available in Manitoba as the only legal sports betting site in Manitoba.
BCLC delivers record-breaking income to local government
$1.624 billion of BCLC’s net income went directly to the provincial government of British Columbia. Another $12 million was delivered to the federal government in Ottawa. This is the most tax revenue ever paid to the government earned from the regulation of gambling in British Columbia.
In total, since 1985, BCLC has earned more than $28 billion for the province of British Columbia. As the expansion of online gambling continues to roll on, and with the potential for legal sports betting sites in British Columbia besides PlayNow.com coming in the near future, the province should expect more record-breaking years this decade.
Ontario sports betting laws causing confusion and illegal behaviour in BC
Amid the many challenges and anticipated market trends listed in BCLC’s 2022-23 report was the impact of Ontario sports betting laws on the BC gambling market.
The Report identified Ontario’s decision to launch a private-sector licensing regime for online casinos and sportsbooks in Ontario as having “effects across the Canadian online gambling landscape.” BCLC says Ontario sports betting laws have blurred the lines and created confusion in British Columbia. Advertisements on national broadcasts for legal sports betting sites in Ontario is one thing specifically identified as causing confusion in the province.
BCLC claims Ontario has “ created challenges for PlayNow.com to continue to maintain its significant market share” in British Columbia. The Report also reminds players of the fact that “PlayNow.com is the only legal gambling website in B.C.”
Noah Strang is an experienced sports writer having covered many professional sports leagues across North America. He has worked extensively covering the NHL and been accredited media for the Vegas Golden Knights in the past. He’s also known as one of the best iGaming writers across Canada with extensive experience covering the development of legal sports betting across the country. He was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and enjoys taking advantage of the coastline. When not writing, you can find him watching whatever sport is on TV or playing pickup basketball.