The British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s mission statement is ‘to offer responsible gaming entertainment, generating income for the public good’ and claims it supports vital Government programmes. In the company’s latest annual report it announces a total net income of $922.7 million, of which $914.4 million was distributed to the Government of British Columbia and $8.3 million to the Government of Canada.
Since its April 1 1985 start, BCLC has contributed $8 billion to the Government of British Columbia for vital health, education and social programmes. Originally operating in the traditional lottery market, the BCLC was given responsibility to conduct and manage slot machines in 1998 and assumed responsibility for all casino gaming the following year. Casinos in British Columbia are being transformed into fewer but high-quality venues. The Cascades Gateway Casino, Hotel & Convention Centre was recently opened, Coquitlam’s casino was redesigned as Boulevard Casino and a new show theatre debuted at River Rock Casino Resort.
BCLC is aiming to turn its casinos into full-scale, multi-dimensional entertainment showplaces. It is in the process of rejuvenating its lottery and has launched two new games and more online products. It has also introduced SportsFunder which benefits amateur sports in the province. Bingo halls are becoming community gaming centres that offer enhanced entertainment options. Statistically, 80% of British Columbians played a lottery product during the last fiscal year, 30% visited a casino in the province, and 6% played bingo.
The question of problem gambling is, according to BCLC, approached through research, awareness and education, prevention and treatment programmes. The company provides gambling as a fun entertainment option for adults aged 19 or older and estimates that 95% play responsibly. Responsible Play Information Centres have recently been opened at two of the largest casinos – River Rock in Richmond and Edgewater in Vancouver.
The BCLC target of 60% over the last fiscal year for public recognition of its social responsibility was not achieved, missing by 4%. Similarly, support for gaming, the BCLC and awareness of the beneficiaries of gaming by the public were all slightly below target. As public consent is an integral part of BCLC’s success, the company has said it will continue to strive to achieve its four key performance measures.
In the next fiscal year BCLC will place increased emphasis on programmes that communicate information about the beneficiaries of gaming revenue, programmes that promote responsible play and the safe and healthy use of its products, and programmes that address the prevention and treatment of problem gambling. (E-07.19.06)
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