B.C. eyes mobile gambling apps

Trying to maintain market share in rapidly evolving gambling business, B.C. Lottery Corporation is looking at expanding its online games and tickets to mobile phones and tablets.

Cabinet minister Rich Coleman announces launch of B.C. Lottery Corporation's online gambling site in July 2010.

VICTORIA – Trying to maintain market share in rapidly evolving gambling business, B.C. Lottery Corporation is looking at expanding its online games and tickets to mobile phones and tablets.

BCLC launched its gambling website PlayNow.com a year ago, as unregulated internet poker websites started cutting into the province’s lucrative casino and lottery business. B.C. was the first government in North America to jump into online gambling, and PlayNow.com now bills itself as “B.C.’s only legal gambling website.”

At the July 2010 launch, cabinet minister Rich Coleman estimated that B.C. residents were spending $100 million a year on online gambling, and made no apologies for encouraging BCLC to go online and raise its betting limit to $9,999.

Now some of those unregulated sites are moving to smart phone and tablet applications, and BCLC is preparing to do the same. A survey asks PlayNow.com customers if they would use their mobile devices to play lotteries, poker, casino games and sports betting.

A BCLC spokesperson said no decision has been made yet to proceed with mobile gambling.

PlayNow.com now has 170,000 registered players, and is running ahead of expectations, despite an initial software glitch that mixed up player bank accounts and forced a month-long shutdown.

Online gambling still represents only one per cent of the corporation’s revenues, but that’s expected to grow to four per cent by 2014. The bulk of BCLC’s more than $1 billion annual profit comes from conventional lotteries and casinos, as slot machines have displaced bingo games in recent years.

After returning some of the gambling-funded community grants that were cut in 2009, Premier Christy Clark appointed former Kwantlen University president Skip Triplett to review eligibility for the grants and stabilize funding for non-profit groups.

Triplett’s community forums begin Aug. 11 on Vancouver Island, moving to the B.C. Interior and finishing in Metro Vancouver in September.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep Saanich drainage pipe

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

Victoria Clipper suspends services through April 2021

International travel restrictions, COVID-19 uncertainty lead to decision

UPDATE: Incident near Mount Douglas Park ‘strictly medical,’ Saanich police say

Intoxicated person taken into police custody, brought to hospital

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Most Read