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

Epic first year for GW Graham curling crew

A team of upstarts has won an Eastern Valley banner and now goes hunting for a B.C. championship.

Take a run out to the corner store when Kim’s Convenience comes to Chilliwack

The play that inspired the hit television show is coming to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Chilliwack’s Deanna Tuchscherer named Canada West Rookie of the Year

Tuchscherer is also in the running for the U-Sports award which will be announced next week.

Chilliwack SPCA receives grant to help control feral cat populations

The local SPCA branch was one of 10 animal welfare groups who received grants this week

BC Seniors Advocate calls for better oversight in care home industry

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

BREAKING: Kelowna RCMP to further investigate 12 sexual assault cases, create sexual assault unit

Recommedations come five months after it was revealed 40 % of sexual assaults were deemed ‘unfounded’

Explicit Greta sticker linked to Alberta company draws outrage

The sticker includes the logo of Red Deer-based X-Site Energy Services

Share Now, formerly Car2Go, leaves Canada with valuable data in changing market: expert

Vancouver was its largest market in North America, with more than 300,000 customers

Police seize nine guns, machetes, drugs from tent in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park

Police believe the tent is a communal or shared space and no single occupant has been identified

Off-duty RCMP officer helps catch Cache Creek car thief

‘This is just one example of how we are always ready to respond to emergencies’

What’s happening: Coronavirus forges on, as world hunts solutions

Japan closes all elementary, middle and high schools until spring holidays in late March

Most Read