British Columbia’s provincially-run online gambling site has launched Canada’s first government-approved live-dealer casino offering.
On Wednesday, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) announced that its PlayNow.com gambling site had officially launched its new Live Casino product. The site currently features 10 gaming tables offering live baccarat, blackjack, roulette, auto roulette and baccarat eSqueeze.
The live casino is accessible via desktop and mobile channels but is currently only open from 10am to 2am, although the site says these hours could expand in future if the product proves popular.
The live casino product comes courtesy of live dealer technology provider Evolution Gaming, which inked its first Canadian deal with BCLC last April. The company opened a new live dealer studio in the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster that currently employs 50 people, but Evolution expects this number could grow to 170 should other provincial gambling monopolies choose to add live casinos to their own online offering.
BCLC claims its new live casinos delivers “an authentic casino experience,” which could be problematic, given that BC’s land-based casinos aren’t truly authentic unless a Chinese VIP is strolling in the door with backpacks full of $20 bills of dubious origin. But we digress…
Live casino isn’t the only newfangled digital product up BCLC’s sleeve. The provincial monopoly recently inked a C$250k deal with developers Archiact Interactive to explore “the development of Virtual Reality for the purposes of gaming.”
CTV News reported that BCLC’s deal with Archiact involves a VR game in which players must solve challenges to escape a room. BCLC was stingy with other details, cautioning that any new product would require “further development, testing and approvals from our regulator, the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch (GPEB)” as well as approval of the government minister with responsibility for gaming.
BCLC’s claims that it can’t approve new games without the approval of “our regulator” is a bit rich, given that both entities are heads on the same government Hydra. Moreover, BCLC hasn’t been shy about skirting the rules when it’s eager to bring a new online product to market.