With casinos closed by COVID-19, B.C. Lottery Corporation misses budget by $59M

in Lottery

As expected, the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s (BCLC) revenues are down, due in large part to COVID-19.

The lottery corporation this week released its annual report for the 2019/20 fiscal year, which states it achieved $1.347 billion in net income on revenue of $2.531 billion, compared to $1.415 billion in net income the previous year.

That’s $59 million below budget and $69 million less than the prior year, according to BCLC, which notes business activities were negatively impacted by measures put in place to support public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The most significant impact arose from the temporary closure of all casinos and bingo halls in March. In addition, a number of lottery retailers made the decision to suspend sales as a precautionary action.

BCLC did see a modest increase in revenue from its lottery and online gaming operations.

“While many players moved their play to our online channel, PlayNow.com, this mitigation was unable to make up for revenue lost from brick-and-mortar channels,” board chair and CEO Peter Kappel stated.

Casinos have yet to reopen in B.C., although they are open in other parts of the country.

In April, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said casinos would be last on her list to consider for reopening.

That’s put a hit on revenues for host municipalities, but the lottery corporation has submitted a plan for the safe reopening of casinos.

The proposed plan has a variety of measures including reconfiguring seating at slot machines and table games to allow two metres distance between players, installing Plexiglas or other physical barriers when distancing isn't possible, providing free hand sanitizer, regular sanitizing of all gaming equipment and only allowing tables games where cards can be handled only by dealers.