I’m writing in response to Steve Vandervelden’s Letter to the Editor on Feb. 14 regarding sports-betting ads.
As a Tri-City resident and chairperson of BC Lottery Corporation’s board of directors, I would like to contribute to this important conversation.
BCLC recognizes and shares concerns about the high number of sports-betting ads.
One reason why British Columbians are seeing so many ads is because Ontario began licensing private gambling websites last year, and these websites have purchased significant advertising packages with national broadcasters, which are choosing to allow the Ontario ads in B.C.
There are also approximately 800 illegal gambling websites that are operating in Canada that are not accountable to provincial and federal laws and high standards for technical integrity, age verification and protection of personal information, nor provide player support.
At BCLC we’re working to educate the public that PlayNow.com is the only legal, regulated gambling website in B.C. and the only one whose profits go back to B.C. to benefit British Columbians through investments in things like education, healthcare and community programs.
Your readers may have seen or heard advertisements to this effect.
As the province’s only regulated gambling website, BCLC’s PlayNow.com must meet advertising standards set out by the province of B.C. For example, BCLC does not and cannot use celebrities or entertainer endorsers whose primary appeal is to minors.
In addition, BCLC also conducts player-health assessments on all products and marketing to reduce risks and create safer products and environments, by filtering out any potential messaging and images that could be linked to gambling myths and misconceptions or risky behaviour, as just two examples.
BCLC is committed to balancing how we advertise products and to helping to support safer play. As just one example, last month (and right before the Super Bowl, I might add) BCLC launched a new GameSense information campaign specifically geared to sports bettors to help educate them about the importance of taking breaks from play and to remind them not to allow pressure to influence their play decisions.
Of course, we recognize that the work must go beyond marketing.
And that’s why BCLC has a comprehensive, evidence-based player health strategy as part of our ambition of having the healthiest players in the world.
While there is still much more work for us ahead, please know that everyone at BCLC is committed to offering gambling entertainment in a way that prioritizes safer play.
For readers who wish to learn more, please visit www.bclc.com.
– Greg Moore, Port Coquitlam
Chairperson, BCLC board of directors