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.

Just Posted

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

Croatia loses in World Cup final, Victoria fans still jubilant

“We’re just a small little country, we only have 4.5 million people, and look how far we’ve come.”

Park ambassador pilot going well at Mount Doug

Dog poop bags, litter and cigarette butts among ongoing park issues

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Victoria Police issue a public warning after a man was injured by a hidden syringe

Used syringes in discrete locations have caused injuries over the past year in Greater Victoria

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

5 things to do this weekend around Victoria

The sounds of summer Rock the Shores returns to the lower fields… Continue reading

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read