The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has announced record revenues of $2.6 billion for the past year, $64 million more than expected, due to higher takings from bingo halls.
The result means the government of the Pacific coast province could receive almost $1.1 billion after the deduction of prize money and expenses even though it saw a reduction in revenues from lotteries such as 6/49, Super 7 and scratch-and-win tickets. According to Robin Cook, Spokesperson for the BCLC, this reduction was due to new games on the market including Nintendo Wii and online poker that meant ‘people aren't as attracted to the traditional games’.
In addition, Cook revealed that a 2007 scandal might also have had an indirect effect after an independent ombudsman found that the Crown corporation hadn't done enough to prevent dishonest retailers from stealing customers' winning tickets. Vic Poleschuk, President and Chief Executive Officer for the BCLC, was fired following the investigation brought on by reports that some retailers were cashing in winning tickets at a far higher rate than expected.
'Total gaming revenues of $2.6 billion surpassed the year's budget by $64.2 million while net income of $1.088 billion exceeded budget by $55.9 million,' said John McLernon, Chairman of the BCLC.
McLernon described the past year as one of the most challenging in the corporation's 23-year history as new lottery games designed to stimulate lagging sales were delayed so that resources could be diverted into following up on the ombudsman's recommendations.
“The ombudsman challenged us to better for our players and, in this regard, we have,” said Michael Graydon, President and Chief Executive Officer for the BCLC.
“There is no question that the BCLC is a better organisation today than it was a year ago.”