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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

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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Looking Back

Gambling dates as far back as 2300 B.C. and although BCLC hasn’t been around quite as long, the idea of providing fun and entertainment for adults is just the same.

Since 1969 we’ve developed games that are fun and fair, as well as contributed to the growth of the province. In this time we have made it our mission to positively impact B.C. communities and operate with integrity, respect and social responsibility.

Historical Highlights

From new games and major jackpots, to anniversary celebrations and monumental events, the BCLC history is a colourful one. Get to know our story.

2016

  • CANUCKS FOR KIDS FUND ONLINE 50/50  — Hockey fans across B.C. are able to play 50/50 on PlayNow.com that supports the Canucks for Kids Fund.
  • DAILY GRAND — the first new national lottery game since 2009 — launches across the country.  

2015

  • BCLC celebrates its 30th anniversary
  • BCLC's Board of Directors appoint a new President and CEO on March 31 - Jim Lightbody

2014

  • GameSense goes international and is adopted by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

2013

  • Lotto Express launched in over 100 Overwaitea Food Group locations across B.C. 
  • The first Lotto Signature Store opened at Champlain Square, Vancouver, B.C. 
  • The inaugural New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference is held in Vancouver and attracts delegates from around the world.
  • Over five years, BCLC and the Province make a $2 million investment in the Centre for Gambling Research at the University of British Columbia.

2012

  • BCLC enters into a partnership with Manitoba Lotteries to expand the PlayNow brand. 
  • Responsible Gambling Awareness Week is piloted in Vernon as a pioneering collaboration between BCLC and a host community to inform and engage the public.

2011

  • BCLC and Loto-Québec launch peer-to-peer poker, breaking new ground as the first two regulated jurisdictions to partner and offer competitive play online.
  • The four year longitudinal study entitled BCLC's Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program: Perceptions and Experiences of a Sample of Program Participants, is completed and released. 

2010

  • BCLC advanced to the forefront of online gambling and became the first in North America to offer legal, regulated online casino games on PlayNow.com.
  • BCLC's responsible gambling programs received the highest level of recognition, 'Level 4', by the World Lottery Association (WLA).

2009

  • LOTTO MAX — the first new national lottery game in over 15 years — launches across the country. 
  • BCLC pioneers GameSense to help players make informed gambling decisions.

2008

  • BCLC gets a makeover and introduces a new logo as well as brand identity 
  • BCLC's Board of Directors announces the appointment of Michael Graydon as President and CEO, effective March 31

2007

  • Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Inc. and BCLC announce the official opening of Starlight Casino in New Westminster.

2006

  • Pacific Hold'Em Poker is introduced at 500 bars and pubs and select lottery retail locations across B.C.
  • Canada's first Women's Poker Classic tournament makes Canadian poker history and supports breast cancer research in BC. An Esquimalt player takes top honours and wins $22,680, while the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation receives a $30,000 donation.
  • BCLC and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games announce their new partnership with the unveiling of SportsFunder, a suite of lottery games that will produce an estimated $20 million for amateur sport in B.C.

2005

  • BCLC, in partnership with River Rock Casino Resort, presents the inaugural B.C. Poker Championships. A Salt Spring Island player wins the grand prize of $382,000.

2004

  • BCLC introduces PlayNow.com, a secure gambling website offering online play and purchase of select lottery products.

2001

  • BCLC becomes a Founding Supporter to bring the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to Vancouver and Whistler.

2000

  • Set for Life game launches. The top prize is $1,000 a week for 25 years or a lump sum payment of $675,000.

1999

  • BC's first destination casino opens - the Royal City Star, a riverboat casino.

1998

  • The nationwide game, Lotto Super 7, is launched in B.C.
  • BCLC takes on table games in casinos, making the corporation responsible for all casino gaming in the province.

1997

  • BCLC is given responsibility to conduct and manage slot machines in B.C. The first slot machines in the province are launched at Great Canadian Casino Newton in Surrey.
  • SuperStar Bingo launches, linking bingo halls and players for one nightly jackpot game.

1995

  • Keno, a five-minute-style game, holds its first draw.

1994

  • BCLC is a sponsor of the XV Commonwealth Games in Victoria.

1993

  • BCLC is a sponsor of the Canada Summer Games in Kamloops. The pre-opening ceremony features 49 five-foot, red lottery balls for the "World's Largest Lotto Draw"

1992

  • BC/49 launches.

1988

  • Extra is introduced as an "add-on" game to Lotto 6/49.

1986

  • Pull Tab tickets are introduced in adult social settings.
  • Lotto B.C., the first B.C.-only online game, launches.

1985

  • After 10 years of co-operative selling under the umbrella of the Western Canada Lottery Foundation, –the British Columbia Lottery Corporation is born.

1984

  • “Jackpot fever” is coined to describe Canada’s interest in big jackpots as the Lotto 6/49 jackpot reaches its highest level of the year - $13.9 million.

1982

  • Lotto 6/49 debuts on June 3 and is Canada's first "pick your own numbers" nationwide lottery.

1974

  • Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. form a partnership to conduct lotteries in Western Canada. Lottery sales begin in B.C. on August 4.

1969

  • The Criminal Code is amended to authorize the federal government and the provinces to operate "lottery schemes," defined in the Code as games of chance.