The Toronto Blue Jays’ late season winning streak left plenty of Canadian baseball fans smiling, but at least one sports bettor is sporting a frown after the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s online sports betting site clipped his wings.
BC resident Gregory Butchart recently filed suit in small claims court, accusing BCLC of inappropriately voiding baseball wagers he’d placed on the PlayNow.com gambling site in early August. Canadian law restricts provincial lottery corporations to parlay wagers and Butchart put $275 down on the Jays to win the American League East and the New York Yankees to claim a wild card spot.
Eight days after making his wagers, Butchart received an email from BCLC, saying they’d voided his bets due to their policy of not accepting ‘correlated’ wagers, in which the result of one bet fully or partly impacts the outcome of another bet.
Butchart told CBC News that he disputed BCLC’s view of the situation, calling the two bets “slightly correlated,” as a Blue Jays’ division win meant there were “still 16 other teams that could win the wild card.”
While one can argue whether or not BCLC was right to void the bets, Butchart says the eight-day delay in notifying him of BCLC’s error – during which time the Blue Jays had gone on a tear – left him with little chance to take his action elsewhere.
Come October, BCLC offered to honor the bet with the worst odds for a payout of $4,062. Failing that, BCLC said it Butchart settle for having his original stake returned. An unimpressed Butchart insists he’s owed the full $8,560.50 he stood to win from both wagers and will try his luck in court.
BCLC EX-CEO BOOSTED CASINO BETTING LIMITS PRIOR TO TAKING CASINO JOB
Meanwhile, the cloud surrounding former BCLC CEO Michael Graydon shows no sign of clearing. Late last month, the provincial New Democratic Party obtained correspondence showing Graydon approved an increase in maximum bet limits at BC casinos while he was negotiating a job offer with Paragon Gaming, which operates Vancouver’s Edgewater Casino and is building the new $600m Parq Vancouver casino across the street.
Graydon abruptly resigned his BCLC job at the end of January 2014, announcing one week later that he’d signed on as president of Paragon’s new Vancouver property. Graydon was ultimately forced to return a portion of the golden handshake he received from taxpayers on his way out the door but an investigation determined that, while Graydon had breached ethical standards, he hadn’t taken any action at BCLC that would directly benefit his new employer.
However, a year prior to Graydon jumping ship, he pushed for baccarat table bet maximums at BC casinos to be raised from their existing $45k to $100k. Graydon pushed to have these changes “in place prior to January 31, 2014 [which turned out to be Graydon’s last day on the job] and in particular, at the Edgewater and River Rock Casinos.”
A Paragon spokesperson told The Globe & Mail that the decision to boost table limits was “a BCLC decision,” not Graydon’s alone. BCLC says the increased limit benefited all provincial casinos, not just Paragon’s, while BCLC itself gained from the enhanced high roller action. But New Democratic Party MLA David Eby believes the public still doesn’t have “the full story of what happened during that critical period when [Graydon] was negotiating his new job.”