BCLC Ups Deposit Limits and Expands GameSense

The two most recent developments out of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) may seem contrary to one another. In January, it offered free licensing of GameSense to members of NASPL to promote player health. Just weeks later, the BCLC increased weekly deposit limits to $100K.

Good Sense for GameSense

The January announcement from BCLC pertained to its GameSense program. The BCLC launched it in 2009 to help players make more informed choices with regards to gambling. It uses research-based information and best practices to educate players and create more trust with players.

The program has been so successful that it has garnered international recognition and been licensed out to numerous casinos and gambling programs around the world. In 2015, GameSense won the Social Responsibility Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling based in the United States.

In order to offer it to more organizations that can help people and reduce overall gambling harm, the BCLC now offers to license GameSense for free to members of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL).

GameSense will allow the NASPL to expand its current responsible gambling program to lottery offerings across North America. Members of the NASPL include most states and territories in America that offer lotteries, as well as British Columbia, Ontario, Western Canada.

BCLC Vice President of Lottery Gaming noted, “By collaborating with our industry partners in North America, we are creating a community of lottery jurisdictions with a shared commitment to player health. Working together enables us to share key learnings and improve best practices for players all over the world, including right here in BC where our focus remains on providing great gambling and greater good.”

PlayNow Allows More Gambling

Several weeks later, the BCLC made an entirely different announcement. And the bottom line is that people can gamble significantly more money on weekly online games.

With regards to its PlayNow.com online gambling site, the only one legal in British Columbia and regulated by the BCLC, players are no longer required to abide by the weekly deposit limit of $9,999. That amount had been the maximum that players could transfer to the site each week for more than a decade.

The new limit is $100,000 per week. Players can now transfer in as much as $100K per week to gamble.

In addition, players can now keep up to $250,000 in their online accounts at any given time. The previous limit was $9,999. The new limit allows high-stakes gamblers to keep a larger bankroll available for gaming, including keeping winnings there longer before being required to withdraw.

Appeal to High Rollers

The BCLC claims that the new limit is aimed primarily at a relatively small number of players in British Columbia. It reported that most players set their personal weekly deposit limits at $100 or less.

The reason for the increase is to appeal to the customers who already play at very high limits but do so on “grey market sites.” These are competition for the BCLC, which has exclusive rights to offer online gambling to residents of the territory.

The BCLC says there are more than 2,000 offshore gambling sites that operate in or to British Columbia. Further, it estimates that 73% of British Columbians choose to gamble on those sites rather than the sole regulated one. Those sites do not report to the BCLC or adhere to their regulations. Moreover, the money gambled on those sites to not report winnings and losses, meaning it is more difficult for BC to collect taxes or collect revenue that could help local communities.

The BCLC says that gambling on its PlayNow site not only contributes to profits for BC but also supports jobs and the local economy.

Player health is also a priority for the BCLC. It claims that high-stakes customers will have more access to responsible gambling messages via PlayNow than with unregulated sites. Players will also be able to track their play with session logs, utilize a lockout function to take breaks, and participate in voluntary self-exclusion programs.

Continued PlayNow Growth

Ultimately, the bottom line of any business matters, and the BCLC is no different. Its PlayNow online gambling platform has see year-over-year growth since its inception.

By introducing new live casino offerings to an already ever-expanding portfolio of casino games, bingo, keno, virtual scratch-offs, and sports, it has continued to grow its player base. PlayNow saw its revenue increase by $29.9 million during the 2018/2019 fiscal year, an increase of 24.9% over the previous year.

The increased deposit and balance limits may take time to manifest into increased revenue, but there may be some indication of its viability in the 2019/2020 financials. It will probably be the following year that will most accurately reflect growth numbers.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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