Canada Launches First Live Casino Site Following Government OK

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The first Canadian live casino site has officially launched after receiving government approval.

A Big Moment for Canada

A small piece of virtual history was made in Canada in February when the first live casino website was launched in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

The BCLC, or British Columbia Lottery Corporation, launched its site, PlayNow.com, which10 tables and the games of baccarat, eSqueeze, roulette, blackjack, and auto roulette. Presently, the hours of play are between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m., and the website plans to extend the times once the site shows to be gaining an audience and starts to be consistently well-favored.

New Deals, New Beginnings

Evolution Gaming, the company behind the live casino service, landed its first deal with BCLC in 2017. The studio for the company’s live casino is currently located in New Westminster, Vancouver. Currently, the building consists of 50 staff members, but, Evolution Gaming expects that number to increase to 170 if more gambling companies within the province decide to bring live casino play onto their sites.

At the time of the deal, which was made in April 2017, Evolution Gaming’s CEO Mark Carlesund described the deal as a “huge breakthrough.” He also expressed pride in the company’s capacity to “meet stringent requirements” within markets that are heavily managed. The company adds that the 16-square-foot studio will also offer as a space for other gambling companies in various regions across Canada. Other areas in Canada that also received approval for live online casinos include Manitoba, the Atlantic region, Ontario, and Quebec.

Heading in a Lucrative Direction

Monica Bohm, vice president of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, voiced her excitement of the deal, especially since Evolution’s annual report shows PlayNow.com has had a significant amount of progress. It was called the “fastest growing segment” within the report during the 2016 fiscal year. PlayNow.com saw increased profits of C$1.31 billion by March 2016 and C$3.1 billion in total revenue, a C$19 million increase from 2015. During this period BCLC’s 15 percent increase in its lottery revenue had shown more progress than in the U.S. and Canadian provinces combined. BCLC attributed the surge in revenue to bringing aboard new casino games onto its sites platform, which, at the time, included election-style novelty games.

PlayNow.com has seen great progress in various areas of gaming categories on its website, including seven bingo halls, two racinos, 18 community centers, and seven bingo halls. The agency also attributes the growth to enhancing various products and games within the online casino’s brand. While the website continues to see progress, such as the 24 percent revenue spike in 2017. This brought in $135.5 million past the site’s $115.8 million goal. This was a big deal because it not only meant a new achievement for the website but also immense growth. The website was now ahead online in terms of maturation, specifically 4 points ahead of the game compared with stats from the 2014 to 2015 period. However, there was one area of gaming that would see a great reduction in revenue for the BCLC.

The results were expected, according to calvinayre.com, because the BCLC foresaw the decline. During the years of 2015 and 2016, attendance at VIP table games fell by 7 percent. That brought revenue to $516 million. However, the agency was able to somewhat recover from the decline because slot revenue increased by 5 percent, which brought in $1.2 billion in earnings. A few more falls took place thereafter. Land-based establishments d also saw a decline in revenue. Poker, which brought in $19.8 million, would see a 6 percent fall, while bingo, which brought in $71.8 million in revenue, declined by 4.6 percent, according to calvinayre.com.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.