Changes are afoot around the globe in the online casino industry. The British Columbia Lotteries Commission (BCLC) announced that they plan to provide online casino gambling by the year 2010. The BCLC currently offers online sports betting, lottery and horseracing bets. The addition of government regulated online casino gaming is a new and bold move and is the first of its kind in Canada, as well as the first in all of North America.
Michael Graydon, the President and CEO of the BCLC, announced the news in a recent press release. Graydons reasoning behind broadening the BCLC online gambling sites to include online casino games is that each year British Columbia loses millions of dollars in tax revenue to offshore casino operators. British Columbians gamble around $87 million on online casino games like online blackjack, casino craps, roulette, keno, video poker and online slot machines at offshore casinos. The BCLC is hoping to draw these players in so they can benefit from the taxes on this money. Graydon believes that British Columbians will prefer to spend their money at a site operated by the BCLC, not only because its close to home but also because of the trust associated with the BCLC brand.
When the BCLC expands their site to include online casino games it will signal a first in the online casino industry. This will be the first time in North America that a government will have a monopoly on online gambling. BCLC will have control over all forms of online gambling including casino games, horseracing, sports betting and the lottery. In accordance with the introduction of casino gambling games in 2010, British Columbia has also been rolling out a new responsible gaming program, which will include online and television messages.
Graydons press release did not mention whether or not the BCLC would support regulation of other online casino operators within British Columbia. However, Graydon did say that he has high hopes about the BCLCs ability to thwart the competition. The BCLC runs one of the most successful gambling sites on the Web and the addition of online casino games is expected to boost their traffic.
If countries like France, Sweden, Estonia and even the United States are any indicator of the future then the BCLC wont be able to monopolize the online casino industry in British Columbia for long. There seems to be a revolution in the world of online casino gambling in which governments around the globe are seeking to regulate online gambling and casino operators. Other British Columbian game operators could come into the picture, offering online blackjack or other table games, casino slots, and other gambling games, throwing the BCLC off their high horse. However, in the meantime the sheer fact that the British Columbia Lotteries Commission is expanding to offer casino games shows a huge step forward in the online casino industry.