B.C. Lottery Corporation is celebrating 30 years of providing entertainment for millions of British Columbians that has generated billions in funding for government programs and community projects while creating family-supporting jobs throughout the province.
BCLC began life April 1, 1985, with former premier Bill Bennett presiding over a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Crown corporation’s brand new headquarters in Kamloops, which continues to serve as the corporation’s head office.
“We’re proud to see that over the past couple of decades, gaming has grown into a $2.1-billion industry that provides family-supporting jobs for British Columbians across the province, while helping fund health care, education and other priority programs,” said Finance Minister Michael de Jong.
The corporation started out as a lottery-only business with two weekly games and a mandate to generate extra funding for Expo ‘86, what was then the biggest event B.C. had ever hosted.
Through the government of B.C., $250 million of lottery revenue was earmarked for the staging of Expo ‘86 and $20 million of lottery monies helped make the B.C. Pavilion a centrepiece for the event.
Today, BCLC operates 17 casinos, seven commercial bingo halls, 18 community gaming centres and nearly 3,800 retail locations. B.C.’s gaming industry provides about 37,000 direct and indirect jobs.
In 2013-14, BCLC delivered $1.17 billion to the province, money that supports a range of programs and services, including education and health care.
Gaming facilities also represent an important revenue stream for their host communities.
Host local governments, including the City of Vernon, receive a 10 per cent share of net gaming revenues from facilities in their community, an amount that came to $86.9 million in 2013-14.
As well, provincial gaming grants provide a substantial source of revenue for nearly 5,000 community organizations in the province.
Last year, local groups operating in areas that include arts and culture, youth sports, supporting people with disabilities, public safety and parent advisory councils received $135 million in funding from the province.
To kick off the 30-year celebration, BCLC will release a socio-economic assessment of its operations in Kamloops.
The study details an estimated $1.1 billion in local economic impact since the headquarters opened in 1985.