02/21/2012 : INTERNET GAMBLING A GOOD PERFORMER FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA LOTTERY
Playnow online casino will grow more than 50 percent year-on-year, the numbers indicate
The days of double-digit growth for the British Columbia Lottery Corp. are over, a Crown corporation vice-president told the Kamloops News Daily this week; but the provincial government's online gambling enterprise Playnow is growing briskly and is expected to soar 50 percent year-on-year.
Tom Williamson, vice-president of financial and corporate services for the lottery corporation, spoke Monday to a meeting of Kamloops Rotary, revealing that when it first started 25 years ago, the BCLC brought in about Cdn$330 million in revenue annually.
Today that number is Cdn$2.7 billion, growth brought about in the past decade thanks to land casinos developed under the provincial government.
The snag is that there is little room for further land casino development, and the expectation is that land growth will fall in line at about the general rate of inflation, or 2 percent, necessitating in more focus on efficiency to keep tax revenues rolling in at about Cdn$1.1 billion.
Bucking the trend, Williamson pointed out, was the province's venture into the world of online casino gambling via its Playnow.com website in 2010. After a stumbling start, the enterprise had gained momentum and last year delivered revenues of Cdn$42 million, Williamson said.
"We think we'll come in (at the end of March 2012) at about Cdn$70 million," he said. "Compared to $2.7 billion, it's a relatively small part of the business, but that business, driven by consumer demand, is expected to continue to grow at a double-digit pace.”
Mobile gambling is the next frontier, but the lottery corporation is taking a slow approach, the lottery exec revealed. The technology centre for BCLC, which has 470 employees in Kamloops, is located in the city.
The first mobile applications will be in the service category, allowing users to check winning lottery ticket numbers. The next step will involve casino games on smartphones, he said.
Despite the remarkable growth online, Williamson said the bulk of the gambling demographic in British Columbia remains 30 years-old-plus and prefers to spend money at lottery retailers or casinos.