British Columbia has enjoyed a lottery since 1982. These days, you can enjoy much more than the provincial and national jackpot draws. The remit of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) now includes online lottery games, sports betting, slots, casino games, and keno.
This page covers all the gaming options available through the BC lottery – with a focus on the big jackpot draws. You will find information on the national draws, BC-only jackpots, scratch tickets, and more below. Since its inception, the British Columbia lottery has raised over $25 billion for good causes. You can find out how those funds help at the end of this page.
British Columbia online lottery
You can buy lottery tickets online in BC. Tickets are available for the British Columbia provincial draw, national draws, and in packs that cover multiple draws. If you purchase multiple tickets for the Lotto Max draw online, then you get a free ‘Extra’ entry.
Draws available for online ticket purchase are Lotto Max, Lotto 6/49, BC/49, and the Daily Grand. You can also buy tickets for the regular Keno draw games, which run every few minutes.
Many lottery games can be played online via the PlayNow portal. They include ‘Instants’ which are the online equivalent of retail scratch card tickets. They have colourful themes, and many include huge jackpots.
Other games available online via the British Columbia Lottery website are:
- Casino games: This section includes slots (including online versions of casino favourites), video poker, and virtual table games.
- Live casino: You can gamble on games that are dealt in real-time at BC casinos. Live dealer options include roulette, blackjack, and baccarat.
- Sports betting: Plenty of options to bet on sports are available in BC. Two or more matches are required, with live betting, season-long futures, and novelty bets available.
- Sports pools: This form of betting involves picking outcomes of multiple matches for a shot at winning jackpot prizes.
- Online poker: BC runs an online poker room. You can play Texas Hold’em in a cash game or tournament format against other players from the province.
- Bingo: 75 Ball bingo games with jackpot prizes and classic themes can be enjoyed online.
Online lottery promotions in BC
To buy draw tickets online or enjoy the many other gaming options, you will need to register an account. You get to choose from welcome offers for different games when you make your first deposit.
There are small bonuses (up to $20) for casino games, live dealer games, lotto, and sports betting.
Regular bonuses and promotions depend on what type of gaming you enjoy. There are bet-back promos for sports bettors, bad beat jackpots for poker fans, and free ‘Extra’ drawings if you purchase big bundles of lottery tickets.
You can use your regular bank or credit cards to play the online lottery in BC. Many people prefer secure 3rd party banking methods online. Alternative options include WebCash, PayPal, Interac, and Online Bill Payment.
Multi-province draws on the British Columbia Lottery
Many of the jackpots awarded in the big multi-province draws are gigantic. The biggest jackpot awarded so far in BC was a staggering $60 million in the Lotto 6/49. That prize went to a retired fisherman from Richmond, it was won in 2019.
The 3 biggest national draws are explained below. You can buy tickets for them via British Columbia’s ‘PlayNow’ portal for one draw, as a subscription, or as a bundle covering multiple draws:
- Lotto Max: You get three sets of seven numbers between one and fifty for $5 when you enter Lotto Max. You can ask for them all to be randomly selected or choose the first seven yourself and use Quick Pick for the others. Draws take place twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday. Matching all seven gets you the big jackpot prize, which starts at $10 million and goes to $70 million. There are prizes for three correct selections plus bonus numbers, with a free entry for matching any three. Any time the jackpot goes over $50 million, an additional $1 million prizes are awarded for each draw. For $1 more you can add an ‘Extra’ for an additional $1 – giving you a separate shot at $500,000.
- Lotto 6/49: This draw costs $3 to enter. It takes place on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. There is at least one winner of $1 million every draw. The main jackpot starts at $5 million and will keep growing until it is won. You pick six numbers and a bonus number, with only two numbers for the smallest prize (a free entry). There is a prize draw based on the ten-digit serial number of your ticket for $1 million in addition to the main lotto. You will also get an option to use the same numbers for both Lotto 6/49 and BC/49 (see below)
- Daily Grand: This national lottery draw has a different prize, $1,000 per day for the rest of your life. Tickets cost $3, with the draws taking place on Monday and Thursday night. You pick five main numbers and one ‘Grand’ number for each game. There is a second prize of $25,000 per year for life if you match your five selections without the Grand number. Other prizes are between $1,000 and a free play.
British Columbia draws: Win big with BC/49
There are two draws each week giving you a chance to win the $2 million top prize in the BC-only BC/49 draw. This uses the regular six balls from 49 + a bonus ball format. It costs just $1 to enter per draw. There is an optional ‘Extra’ which gives you a shot at an additional $500k prize.
You need to match all six numbers to win the big prize (which can be shared). Two numbers and your bonus ball will get you a $5 win – with plenty of other prizes in-between.
Tickets for the BC/49 draws can be purchased online or from retail outlets. You can buy a subscription of up to 104 draws – covering an entire year. The PlayNow system will automatically check your numbers, depositing any wins into your account.
There are instant keno draws taking place in the BC lottery every three minutes. There are also nightly Poker Lotto draws, which randomly pick playing cards at 11 p.m. each night.
Draw times for the national and BC Lottery games
Here is the weekly draw schedule for the big prize lottery games, draw times are all 7:30 p.m. Pacific:
- Monday: Daily Grand
- Tuesday: Lotto Max
- Wednesday: Lotto 6/49 and BC/49
- Thursday: Daily Grand
- Friday: Lotto Max
- Saturday: Lotto 6/49 and BC/49
Scratch tickets in British Columbia
Instant prizes, including some impressive jackpots, can be won via scratch tickets. There are paper tickets available at retail outlets around BC, with electronic versions of them are available online.
These cards are produced in batches. Different games and themes appear all the time. Some give you multiple shots at winning on a single card. Scratch ticket prices range from $1 through to $20+. The BCLC website shows how many unclaimed prizes there are for each type of card. If you want to maximize your chances of hitting a bigger prize – this list will show you which ones have the most jackpots outstanding.
Here are some examples of current cards – this list provides an overview of the types of game to expect:
- Watermelon Winnings: This $1 card has a top prize of $10k. You scratch six melon slices, with a prize for revealing three of the same prizes. A ‘bonus’ slice can provide instant wins.
- WWE Legends: A wrestling-themed card that costs $2, the top prize is $20,000. First reveal your numbers by scratching stars, then see if they match the winning numbers on top.
- BC Mountains: A card with a BC theme, this one costs $3 and has a $50k top prize. There are two steps. First, reveal your numbers, then scratch only the symbols showing your numbers, matching three prizes to win.
- The Price is Right: This $5 card is themed on the TV game show and has a $100k jackpot. Match your numbers with the ‘Showcase Showdown’ numbers to win, then try the ‘PlayNow’ bonus.
- 200x Multiplier: A huge $2 million top prize is available by playing this $20 scratch ticket. There are five main games, each of which has prizes. You then see if you match the lucky numbers to get a multiplier on your win. Three added games use the ‘match 3’ system.
Look out for seasonal scratch cards, pull tabs, and games that tie-in with TV shows, board games, and even crossword puzzles.
Other gambling options on the British Columbia Lottery
You can enjoy a full range of gambling options legally and safely via the BC PlayNow lottery portal. They include casino games, instants, keno, slots, poker, and sports betting. You can enjoy them all from a single account – and get bonuses/promotions across all types of games.
The sections below show you what to expect from each.
BCLC Online casino games
There are two separate areas of the PlayNow portal covering online casino games. The first says ‘casino games’ and includes slots, video poker, table games, and more. The other is labelled ‘Live Dealer’ and is covered separately below.
The casino section features jackpot slots and online versions of the popular games found in live casinos around BC. Highlights include the ‘PowerBucks’ slots, which have jackpots of $1 million+. You can win big progressives on the ‘MegaJackpots’ slots from IGT, or the ‘Reactor’ jackpots.
Live dealer casino games on the BC Lottery
This form of gambling is the closest you will get to a visit to the big live casinos in BC. Rather than head to Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver, or the huge Cascades Casino in Langley, you can play in deals online. You bet using your mobile device or desktop, winning money on the turn of a physical card or real roulette wheel.
Live casino games have a social side. You can chat with the other players and the dealers while you play.
Sports betting and pools at the BC Lottery
Selected bets on the PlayNow portal are marked with an ‘S’ for ‘Single’. They include parlay bets including correct scores – which are flagged as single by making them bets on the score of each team individually.
These creative single bets stay within the Canadian federal laws. They are offered alongside a long list of standard (2-outcomes+) wagers on sports, entertainment, and eSports. You can bet on the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB plus bet on major soccer leagues from around the world.
For advanced bettors, live (in-play) betting is available, alongside cash-out options, futures, and props. Pooled bets are in a separate section of the PlayNow site.
Online poker on the BC PlayNow Portal
Online poker games are available via PlayNow. You can enjoy tournaments (many with guaranteed prize pools) or play in cash games. If you are new to poker, there are micro-stakes games where you can learn how to play poker for pennies.
Look out for poker promotions including freeroll tournaments, frequent player points, and extra cash for hitting the highest hands.
Bingo and keno on the BC lottery website
Keno takes place every few minutes in BC. This is a draw game, available at retail terminals as well as online. New numbers are drawn every three minutes and thirty seconds.
Bingo games have jackpots. You can enjoy 3 games, using the traditional 75 ball format which pays for a line, two lines, or a full house. The games are ‘Suite 75’, ‘Stardust’ and Moonlight Diamonds. When you access the PlayNow bingo section, you will see countdowns on each game – showing when the next round will kick-off. Tickets start at just 10c.
About the British Columbia Lottery
When the first national lottery draws took place in 1982, BC was part of the Western Canada Lottery Corporation. The BCLC was formed in 1985 to administer BC lotteries. The WCLC still runs lotteries for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
The BCLC is based in Kamloops, BC – and employs almost 9,000 people when you include the live casinos operated on behalf of the corporation.
BC’s biggest ever lottery win happened in July of 2019. A lucky player scooped the $60 million top prize from the Lotto Max national draw. This beat three separate previous British Columbia lottery winners who each scooped $50 million – in 2010, 2014, and 2016. There are many smaller windfalls in the history of the BC lottery. They include a $3 million win from a scratch card.
PlayNow launched in 2004 – allowing online ticket purchases, second-chance games, and many other online gambling options. This portal is also available to players in Manitoba.
Responsible gambling and the BCLC
Providing information and assistance to those with gambling problems is an important part of running a lottery. BC uses ‘GameSense’ to explain the games, risks and to give support where needed.
Players can choose voluntary self-exclusion from online games. There are links and phone numbers to get support – and resources for families affected by gambling problems. Information includes a list of the warning signs that your gambling may be getting out of control. There are several articles addressing specifics.
Money raised for good causes
Over the years, the BC lottery has raised a staggering $25 billion for communities, charities, and services. A lot of this money is distributed via community grants – focused on non-profit organizations. $93.5 million has been distributed to First Nations governments and almost $150 million for health initiatives.
In addition to the direct community grants, more than $800 million has been distributed by the BC government to find education, public programs, and community groups.
Wrapping up: The British Columbia Lottery leads the country
Compared to other lotteries, you get a wide choice of online gambling options in BC. Packages of tickets covering both the national draws and BC/49 are available. BC players have been lucky in recent years. There have been four awards of over $50 million since 2010 – plus many smaller prizes.
Draws take place every night, Monday to Saturday. You can win 10-figure sums, take part in ‘Extra’ draws, or even scoop $1,000 per day for the rest of your life. Check out the official BCLC portal PlayNow – and check out their latest promotions for new players!