Industry outlook: BCLC refocuses for future success

Industry outlook: BCLC refocuses for future success

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 Totally Gaming
Jim Lightbody is keen to diversify BCLC's operations

British Colombia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is determined to broaden its reach as it attempts to decrease its reliance on both high-rolling customers and traditional lottery sales.

The Canadian province’s lottery organisation released record figures for 2014/15, with the headline being a net income of C$1.25bn (€m890m/$960m), some C$61.5m over budget and C$79.9m more than the previous year.

Operationally, the stand-out figures are the contrasting fortunes of its traditional lottery sales, which were low, and the “exceptional” performance of high-limit table games.

Lottery sales of C$994.3 were C$31.7m down on expectations and C$38.2m down on 2013/14. However, while table game revenues were some C$121.1m above budget at C$551.1m, which was C$103m more than the previous year, new BCLC chief executive Jim Lightbody told TotallyGaming.com that his organisation will focus on building other revenue streams rather than relying on this vertical, which relies on the fluctuations of international tourism, in future years.

“BCLC recognises it cannot rely on the current popularity of high-limit table games for sustainable long-term growth which is why BCLC is dedicated to creating fresh entertainment experiences for our players,” Lightbody said.

“The story of 2014/15 is that exceptional performance in high-limit table games in casinos offset lower than expected lottery sales. In addition, BCLC's operating expenses were lower than anticipated. These two factors contributed to the delivery of BCLC’s record net income.”

His words were echoed by chair Bud Smith, who said in the annual report: “We continue to invest and innovate to strengthen our business: creating fresh entertainment experiences and delivering them in ways that British Columbians want.”

These “fresh entertainment experiences” include BCLC’s first live venue sports betting pilot, which was launched at Starlight Casino, New Westminster. The company also said that novelty entertainment betting was launched on its PlayNow website and mobile app and BCLC introduced 19 new eCasino slot and ePoker games for smartphone and tablet users.

As it seeks to broaden its reach, BCLC’s scratch and win tickets are also now available at Costco locations across the province, the first time the convenience store’s network has sold scratchcards anywhere in North America.

During the year, BCLC’s C$119m gaming management system (GMS) through Bally Technologies was fully completed and has been installed in all 36 gaming facilities across the province.

“2014 was a very successful year,” Lightbody added. “Over the past 30 years BCLC has delivered over C$18bn to the province to support education and health care in BC, along with a range of other programs and services.”

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