BCLC urges Canadian government to open legal sports betting

Business News

BCLC is urging Ottawa to pass proposed legislation, known as Bill C-13, to allow Canadians to make single-event sports bets.

“Our players have wanted single-event sports betting for a long time. For example, this weekend is the Super Bowl and our players want to be able to simply bet on the winner, which they are unable to do under the current legislation,” says Stewart Groumoutis, BCLC’s director of eGaming. “We’re encouraging the federal government to modernize laws so we can provide single-event betting to our players and generate additional revenue to support provincial programs.” 

Online at PlayNow.com, the only regulated gambling website in B.C., legalized single-event betting would quickly create a new suite of sports-betting opportunities that players currently access on websites operating illegally in B.C. PlayNow.com currently captures more than two-thirds of B.C.’s online gambling market, demonstrating a clear preference of players to use a regulated website with strong player health, integrity and security safeguards.  

In the longer term, in land-based casinos and community gaming centres, BCLC would work with industry, regulator and government partners to introduce licensed sportsbooks in key markets. Additionally, BCLC would consider enhanced sports-betting offerings at hospitality locations across B.C. that sell lottery products. For example, players would be able to place a bet on the Canucks game outcome, and follow along while at their local bar or pub. 

BCLC expects single-event sports betting would generate an estimated $125 to $175 million in additional revenue through online and land-based opportunities. 

Currently, B.C. players are only able to place single-event sports bets by going across the border to Washington State casinos, or on unregulated off-shore websites. If single-event sports betting is legalized, BCLC can shift this play to B.C. casinos and PlayNow.com, where the health of players is prioritized and where revenue helps support provincial initiatives such as healthcare, education and community programs. 

PlayNow.com is the only online gambling website in North America and one of the few in the world with dedicated player-health specialists available via telephone and online chat to support players with healthy play habits or refer them to treatment and support services, if needed. These specialists are also available in every B.C. casinos and community gaming centre, where they are known as GameSense Advisors.

In fiscal year 2019/20, thanks to players, BCLC generated $1.3 billion in net income for the Province of B.C., which helps support education, community programs and healthcare.