BCLC to continue developing PlayNow.com under future growth plans

24th February 2014 9:26 am GMT

Canada’s British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) expects to generate revenue of CAD$1.11bn from its lottery and online gaming operations during its 2013/14 fiscal year, as it continues to invest in PlayNow.com with enhancements to bingo, poker and lotto as well as optimizing players’ experience for tablets and mobile devices.

BCLC releases its three-year Service Plan last week, outlining its plans and strategies to deliver “sustainable and growing” revenue to the province of British Columbia.

Total revenue is projected to increase by 4 per cent over the next three years to $2.90bn by the end of the 2016/17 fiscal year, reflecting continued growth in all three gaming channels.

The company’s lottery and eGaming operations will generate approximately 40 per cent of this total with $1.16bn, which would be an increase of 4 per cent compared to this year’s forecast of $1.11bn.

BCLC said that growth in this channel will come from the introduction of new products and product enhancements, the opening of five new Lotto Signature Stores, the build out of Lotto Express and the enhancement of digital signage.

“eGaming growth will come from the continuing operationalization of the casino/poker portfolios, the introduction of multi-jurisdictional bingo, and continued enhancements to sports betting and mobile gaming,” said the BCLC.

PlayNow.com has been in operation since 2004 when it offer lottery products online, adding online casino games in 2010, peer-to-peer poker on a shared network with Loto-Quebec in 2011, as well as live sports betting in 2012. Last year, lottery players were able to purchase their favourite games on their smartphone or tablet devices for the first time.

The provincial lottery operator also began a partnership in 2012 to provide the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation with its own online gaming website which has helped achieve economies of scale and a new revenue stream for BCLC.

“The continuing evolution of eGaming and the PlayNow platform remains a priority in both the business-to-consumer and business-to-business environment,” said BCLC in its Service Plan. “Continuing to offer more games on PlayNow.com, enabling access to other areas of the business, and optimizing interaction on all devices are exciting opportunities in a regulated environment with responsible gambling tools.

“As well, we will continue to look at partnering with other jurisdictions and beyond to further leverage economies of scale and provide a safe and secure world-class entertainment option.”

BCLC said that future investment in its online gaming operations will be focused on enhancements to bingo, poker and lotto, as well as optimizing the PlayNow.com experience for tablets and mobile devices, and for use in age-restricted gambling facilities.

The company is looking to embrace convergence to develop what it calls an “omni-channel relationship” with its players.

“This capability has long-term business value and will grow revenue to the province, as one quarter of our customers already participate in more than one of our gambling channels,” said the operator. “Omni-channel will allow customization of games, prizes, prices, promotions, services and experiences. It will create personalized communication tailored to preferences and greater convenience with seamless play across channels and services.”

We are focusing on increasing the number of players so that we strengthen our business through increasing the entertainment value of our products and amenities. We are moving towards having one view of the player regardless of where they play our games. This will help create a seamless experience and cultivate long-term player relationships. We will be leveraging PlayNow.com across all our channels and devices to make it more convenient for our players. Increasing the entertainment value experienced through new products and services will encourage increased play by infrequent players.

The company will also leverage the PlayNow.com suite of games in its land-based gaming facilities to introduce new gaming experiences to its players.

“Knowing who our players are and delivering more personalized player experiences based on their needs and preferences remains a key focus,” said BCLC.

For the 2014/15 fiscal year, BCLC expects to generate total revenue of $2.80bn, delivering $1.19bn to the province that will provide a multitude of benefits to its residents.

Net income is projected to increase 2.7 per cent annually to $1.26bn in 2016/17, resulting in $4.84bn in net income to the province over the next four years.

“To deliver this, we will continue to aspire to our vision to have ‘gambling widely embraced as exceptional entertainment’ and our goals to support this vision and reflect our priorities over the next three years,” said BCLC board chair Bud Smith and interim president and CEO Jim Lightbody. “Our focus is firmly set in two areas: maximizing the return on the investments we have already made and transforming our business to reduce costs and identify future opportunities for growth.”

BCLC will focus on three areas which it believes is critical to its future success; the implementation of its new Gaming Management System (GMS) - the technology that underpins over $1.6bn in revenue in all BC gaming facilities each year; maximising the benefits of its investment in Lotto Express which increases its points of distribution across retailers; and B2B opportunities through PlayNow.com.

The B2B subsidiary is currently inactive pending final government approval and remains unnamed. Once BCLC receives final approval, the subsidiary will have the same governance and oversight as Lottotech (its subsidiary which purchases and leases capital assets for BCLC).

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