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How Gambling Works

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Skill & Knowledge

Learn how skill and knowledge factor into games of chance

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Finding Help

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Finding Help | GameSense

If you find yourself gambling too much, or if it no longer feels like a game, there’s help if you need it.

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Thanks to our players, billions of dollars have supported communities and help B.C. grow.

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Our role

In British Columbia, lotteries started in 1969 when the Criminal Code of Canada was amended to authorize federal and provincial governments to operate lotteries. At first, B.C. formed a partnership with other provinces in Western Canada to sell lottery products.

In 1985, the Province of B.C. formed its own entity to operate gambling through BCLC, a Crown corporation, to both meet the requirements of the Criminal Code and balance the need for revenue generation with a commitment to social responsibility and integrity.

Gambling in B.C. is regulated by the Province's Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. We must also comply with the Gaming Control Act of B.C. and the Criminal Code of Canada. In our role, we own and maintain all the equipment you see in lottery retailer locations where you purchase your lottery tickets. We also offer our lottery products on our regulated gambling website, PlayNow.com.

We enter into Lottery Retailer Agreements with private sector retailers and are responsible for setting standards and the code of conduct that all lottery retailers must follow.

We work with our retailers to make sure they understand our products, follow our standards and support us in meeting our players expectations wherever and whenever they purchase and play our games. We audit, inspect and, as necessary, investigate our retailers. We have a Mystery Shopper Program to review whether lottery retailers are meeting the standard we expect.

Safety, security, fairness

We're committed to leading the way in fair and trustworthy gambling. It's an important part of our role as the organization that operates lotteries in B.C.

For lottery retailers, there is training and oversight, strict security policies, mystery shops overseen by BCLC Corporate Security, investigations into all player complaints and progressive disciplinary action for retailer infractions, up to and including termination.

For lottery players, there are systems in place to help you protect your play such as:

  • Having you sign your ticket before validation
  • Forward facing Customer Display Monitors and a winning jingle, so you can hear that you've won and see how much.
  • Check-A-Ticket terminals, so you can check your ticket before presenting it to the retailer.
  • Lottery terminal freezes for wins over $10,000, so you can speak to a BCLC representative.
  • Forms for group play
  • A prize claim process so we pay the right prize to the rightful holder of the ticket.

BCLC and national lotteries

Major national games like the ever-popular Lotto 6/49, LOTTO MAX and DAILY GRAND are managed by BCLC in conjunction with the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC). This organization is jointly owned by the five Canadian provincial lottery jurisdictions: BCLC, Atlantic Lottery Corporation, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Loto-Québec and the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.

The ILC was created in 1976 for the sole purpose of operating joint lottery games with other provinces across the country. BCLC is responsible for marketing these national games in British Columbia.