British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is gearing up for single-event sports betting in Canada.
The provincial lottery operator signed an agreement with Genius Sports that positions the data provider to support BCLC’s sportsbook operations. The multi-year deal will see Genius’ LiveData and LiveTrading streams deliver real-time data annually for thousands of sporting events.
According to a news release by Genius, the deal also includes the company’s entire data rights portfolio. And it’s a portfolio holding English and Canadian Premier League soccer, Euroleague basketball, and other top-tier leagues.
“BCLC’s partnership with Genius Sports demonstrates how the nascent Canadian sports betting industry already recognizes the importance of official data,” said Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke.
“Products and services powered by the fastest, most accurate and reliable data will reinforce BCLC’s competitive advantage. And help Canada fulfill the massive potential of its sports betting market.”
PlayCanada reached out to the provincial corporation to learn more about the operator’s plans to introduce single-event sports betting provincially. While their reply was short on details Matt Lee, of BCLC Media Relations, did respond:
“BCLC continues to explore other opportunities to implement singles across land-based channels, including casinos and hospitality locations in British Columbia.”
On timing, however, Lee was vague. BCLC’s hesitation is likely due to the Federal government keeping mum on Bill C-218’s effective date so far. The takeaway, though, is the online deployment of new sports betting options is ready to rollout.
“BCLC is positioned to offer single-event sports bets and bets on racing and fighting on PlayNow.com immediately,” he said.
However, in a follow-up email, Lee was more precise, saying BCLC would be ready to launch “within a day” of C-218 passing. He also confirmed PlayNow would be ready to launch in BC and Manitoba when the feds give the go-ahead. BCLC’s PlayNow platform has powered the Manitoba online gambling portal since 2013.
As for offline sports betting, Lee says BCLC is in the process of replacing legacy lottery terminals and systems at retail locations. When the new terminals are fully introduced next year, BCLC will offer single-event sports betting via Sports Action, their retail sports betting product.
BCLC estimates the total market for sports betting in the province will be between $125 to $175 million, net of prizes.
That money will fund provincial education, healthcare, and community and cultural programs. Seven percent goes to First Nations as part of the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership.
All the Federal government needs to do now is to set a date.