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BCLC Cautious of Grey Market Gaming Operators

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation has most recently posted its three-year service plan with the release of the provincial budget. In which the Crown corporation predicts around seven percent revenue growth for the 2022-2023 fiscal year through its PlayNow online platform. However, the agency is worried about competition from grey market operators.

In the summer of last year, the Canadian federal government decriminalized wagering on individual sporting events. This has been a long-awaited change in the country, which allows provinces to offer single-sports betting on their own. But, the BCLC currently views the change as both great news and bad news due to the grey market competition.

Potential Trouble

According to the service plan, while the Crown corporation predicts continued growth, online gaming sites that operate illegally in the province will pose a threat to its revenue records. The agency stated that those sites that are categorized as grey market ones have poured significant investments in sponsorships and advertising in the province and in across the country.

In the report, the Crown commented that as a result of the increased marketing efforts from grey market operators, it is becoming more and more costly for PlayNow to compete for advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Thus, making it harder for the corporation to expand its brand presence and attract players to the only regulated gaming option in the province, which reinvests its profits back into B.C.

The BCLC specifically pointed to the Province of Ontario, where the Alcohol and Gaming Commission is opening an open iGaming market for online operators. The Crown shared that in preparation to enter Ontario’s new market, some operators have entered national partnerships with media companies and sports leagues, which causes more trouble for the Crown when it comes to marketing on their home turf.

Additionally, the BCLC forecasts a 2022-23 decrease of lottery revenue by approximately seven percent, as it is currently replacing 3,500 lottery terminals across the province. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the Crown agency recorded a net income of CA$430 million, but it is hopeful to boost this amount to US$1.225 billion for the current FY, and CA$1.452 billion for the next.

Doubling Betting Volume

With this year’s edition of the Super Bowl, which was held on February 13, 2022, the BCLC has already reaped the benefits of the introduction of single-event betting. The Crown corporation reported a handle of CA$2.1 million for the final from a total of 70,000 bets. This is the highest betting volume in the history of PlayNow, which was double the amount of the previous Super Bowl.

Finding Next President & CEO

In addition to that, the BCLC is also in search of its next President and CEO. The process of finding a new leader has been entrusted to Leaders International which is an executive search firm that will assist the recruitment. According to the Crown’s Board of Chair, Greg Moore, the corporation’s next leader must resume its previous success and continued growth.

Source: Mackin, Bob “Lottery corporation calls foul as ‘grey market’ gambling companies target B.C. market”, BIV, February 22, 2022