British Columbia won big in 2022.
The western province has announced it shelled out more than $802 million in lottery prizes and sold over 100 million winning tickets to players in 2022. Retail locations and PlayNow.com – BC’s only legal gambling website – were the platforms used.
Granted, a spokesperson of British Columbia Lottery Corporation told PlayCanada that numbers are slightly down from the previous year. In 2021, BCLC paid out $891 million in total prizes.
Nonetheless, the government agency remains upbeat – it generated $1.3 billion in overall net income for the province in 2021/2022.
“Both years were successful for lottery winners in B.C., and we are so excited to celebrated our players and the dreams that became realities for our lottery winners, while also generating important net income for the Province of B.C. to support things like healthcare, education and community programs.”
Jennifer Cole’s $31 million lottery win highlights the year
Storylines were aplenty for British Columbia lottery winners in 2022.
However, of the bunch, Jennifer Cole – who purchased a Lotto Max ticket online – might be the most memorable. The West Kelowna resident pulled in a whopping $31 million on July 8, 2022 – the largest prize ever won on BC’s PlayNow platform.
In addition to Cole, winners claimed five other Lotto 6/49 prize jackpots.
Beyond the big names, most of the winners were “prize amounts of $5 or less,” noted BCLC.
Regardless of the quantity, BCLC’s president and CEO, Pat Davis, said, via a statement, each draw helps the province.
“We’re generating win-wins for the greater good and today we’re celebrating the 100-million winning tickets sold in B.C. in 2022.”
Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley regions account for $382.1M in total player prizes
Zooming in further, BCLC said the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley accounted for the most prize money at $382.1 million. That’s nearly 60% higher than the next highest-grossing region (Thompson Okanagan).
Alongside that, the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley were No.1 in winning tickets sold and grand-prize winning tickets (valued at $500,000 or more).
Here’s the breakdown:
Total prizes paid to players
- Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley: $382.1 million
- Thompson Okanagan region: $226.2 million
- Vancouver Island: $110.8 million
- Northern B.C. – $58.4 million
- Kootenay region: $24.4 million
- Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley: 45.3 million
- Thompson Okanagan region: $24.5 million
- Vancouver Island: $17.6 million
- Northern B.C. – $9.3 million
- Kootenay region: $4.1 million
Grand-prize winning tickets (valued at $500,000 or more)
- Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley: 48
- Thompson Okanagan region: 18
- Northern B.C.: 10
- Vancouver Island: Eight
- Kootenay region: One
BCLC earns $1.3B for province; invests in public programs, education
BCLC reported it netted $1.3 billion for the Province of BC in 2021/2022.
British Columbians benefitted from the money in nine different ways. Of those, the most significant chunk went toward The Province of BC. General Revenue Distribution. There, BCLC invested $826.9 million to help fund public programs and services, including education.
Other notable sums include the Provincial Health Special Account ($147.2 million) and Community Gaming Grants ($139.8 million). Health initiatives such as hospitals, facility upgrades and community health programs make up the former. Meanwhile, the latter aids non-profit organizations in delivering community programs and services.
Here’s where the rest of the money went:
- First Nations Revenue Sharing ($91.2 million)
- Host Local Government payments ($66.9 million)
- Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch ($15.9 million)
- Horse racing purse enhancements ($7.1 million)
- Responsible Gambling Strategy ($4.5 million)
- Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team (JIGIT) ($3.1 million)
BCLC remains committed to responsible gambling
Despite its success and financial windfall, BCLC remains committed to player safety. To that end, BC’s PlayNow platform offers award-winning responsible gambling options.
For instance, players can take advantage of money and time limit breaks, including a mandated break that locks a gambler’s accounts for 24 hours – 14 days.
GameSense Advisors also aid in the cause. The agents act as player-health specialists and are accessible via phone and live chat to answer gambling-related questions.
PlayNow reviews have been so favourable that Manitoba and Saskatchewan adopted the platform for their provincial online gambling platforms.
However, BCLC’s responsible gaming portfolio could shift again soon.
Recently, the Crown corporation announced it wanted to be known as a “social-purpose organization.” In this manner, society would view gambling corporations as an inherent social good rather than a necessary evil.
BCLC: Lottery-specific promotions and products to be announced soon for 2023
Moving forward, BCLC says there is no shortage of ideas on how to generate more wins for the province in 2023.
The government agency points to its involvement in the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation. As a member, BCLC manages and markets several major multi-million-dollar jackpot games, including Lotto Max and 6/49.
Further, BC – residents also have seven exclusive games available to them. And occasionally, special contests.
In the end, the Crown corporation thinks the future looks bright.
“We are excited to continue offering engaging promotions and innovative products to our players in 2023…For example, we currently have a Canucks Fanuary Contest for online sports-bettors on PlayNow.com and will have more information to share about lottery-specific promotions and products soon.”