The online gambling division of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) was the Crown corporation’s fastest growing segment in its most recent fiscal year.
BCLC enjoyed record profit of C$1.31b (US $994m) in the 12 months ending March 31, 2016, 4.7% more than it earned in fiscal 2014-15. Total revenue also set a new record at $3.1b, $197.5m more than the previous year.
BCLC said this achievement was all the more notable given it was the only one of Canada’s provincial gaming monopolies not to suffer a year-on-year revenue decline “in this demand driven environment.”
New win per capita was $501, up from $482 in 2014-15 and better than BCLC’s target of $477. BCLC says it benefited from a record number of large lottery jackpots and increased slots play as the falling Canadian dollar discouraged many gamblers from crossing over the border to play in US casinos.
BCLC’s lottery revenue jumped 15.8% to $1.15b last year, which the corporation humble-bragged represented the biggest growth among all Canadian provinces and US states over the reporting period.
BCLC’s online gambling site PlayNow.com reported revenue up 24% to $135.5m (US $102.8m) last year, easily surpassing BCLC’s $115.8m target. The revenue tally not only set a new record, but the pace of online growth was four points better than 2014-15’s figure, and PlayNow’s revenue was more than twice the sum earned by Loto-Quebec’s Espacejeux.com over the same period.
BCLC credited PlayNow’s growth to faster introduction of new casino-style games and other product enhancements. Last week, BCLC said US election props were the most popular type of novelty wagering on PlayNow. The site was the first Canadian-based operator to being taking election wagers in 2014 and most PlayNow bettors are reportedly backing Hillary Clinton to win the poll this November.
BCLC’s casino and community gaming category – which includes 15 casinos, two racinos, 18 community gaming centers and seven commercial bingo halls – reported revenue of $1.81b, essentially flat year-on-year.
For a while now, BCLC has been warning that its VIP table game revenue was likely to fall, and 2015-16 was the year that this anticipated decline materialized. Table game revenue was off 7% to $516.5m, although this was offset by a 5% rise in slots revenue to $1.2b. Land-based poker revenue fell 6% to $19.8m and bingo slipped 4.6% to $71.8m.