OpenBet, a global leader in betting entertainment, has strengthened its long-term partnership with British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) after the Lottery Operator delivered its PlayNow.com brand to the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA).
PlayNow.com is now live in Saskatchewan with OpenBet’s omni-channel Player Account Management platform and market leading sports betting technology, which BCLC has combined with a wide range of third-party content delivering best-in-class Gaming and Sports betting experiences to players across the province.
The launch follows an agreement whereby BCLC provides SIGA with the province’s first legal, regulated, online sports betting and gaming platform. It offers safe and secure online gaming and betting entertainment for players, with OpenBet facilitating an array of safer gambling tools.
OpenBet’s partnership with BCLC has set a standard for betting and gaming for World Lottery Association (WLA) members, with the full suite of OpenBet’s platform, technology and services driving growth that has consistently outperformed the black market.
Cathryn Lai, Chief Commercial Officer at OpenBet, said: “Congratulations to SIGA and BCLC on bringing regulated sports betting and iGaming to Saskatchewan. Now, players have an opportunity to enjoy best-in-class betting entertainment in a safe and secure environment through the renowned PlayNow brand.
“We are enormously proud of our contribution to regulated gaming and betting in Canada and adding a fifth province to our ecosystem, alongside our activity in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec, means more players will have access to the great experiences offered by BCLC on PlayNow. BCLC have been fundamental to our success in Canada and our collaboration on product and technology remains a blueprint for quality partnerships with operators. It’s also great to welcome SIGA to the OpenBet family, and we are excited to start a new partnership with such an innovative operator.”
Dan Beebe, COO at BCLC, said: “OpenBet’s unrivalled platform technology provides us with the confidence to take our PlayNow.com brand into provinces beyond British Colombia.
“We have enjoyed significant growth in Manitoba in recent years, and believe we are well positioned to enjoy similar success in Saskatchewan with a similar model.
Zane Hansen, President and CEO at SIGA, said: “When introducing the first legal online sports betting and gaming platform in Saskatchewan, we wanted to work alongside a technology partner that was highly experienced in operating within regulated markets.
“OpenBet’s platform, through BCLC’s PlayNow.com brand, was the perfect choice given their track-record of success with WLA partners and their commitment to player health and responsible gaming.”
BCLC Receives Highest Level of Certification for Player Health Programs
BCLC has received the World Lottery Association’s (WLA) Level 4 certification, the highest level granted by the WLA’s Independent Assessment Panel (IAP) for excellence in player health programming. This is the fifth consecutive time BCLC has earned the Level 4 certification through the WLA’s rigorous assessment process.
As part of the certification, the IAP recognized BCLC’s Player Education program with a “Best Practice” outcome, which is used to determine certain program elements as “clearly beyond the norm” and demonstrative of “innovative policies, practices or evaluation measures.” The IAP highlighted BCLC’s “various targeted initiatives and set of evaluation measures” as well as the organization’s “ambitious plans moving forward” in its evaluation report.
“Receiving re-certification at Level 4 and the ‘Best Practice’ distinction is a strong endorsement of BCLC’s player-centric approach and evidence of the continuous improvement of our player health programs,” said Marie-Noëlle Savoie, BCLC’s Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President, Legal, Compliance and Security. “The innovation and collaboration across the organization has enabled this significant achievement and is what will drive further advancements to these player health supports.”
The Level 4 certification and “Best Practice” recognition validates BCLC as a continuing leader in player health across the industry. Various elements of BCLC’s player health program, including its ongoing research initiatives, employee training, player safeguards and stakeholder engagement activities, were determined to meet or exceed industry standards. BCLC is one of just 13 lottery jurisdictions in North America to achieve Level 4 certification.
In its submission, BCLC was proud to highlight successes such as its virtual GameSense Advisor (GSA) program, the introduction of an active reinstatement requirement to its Game Break voluntary self-exclusion program and the implementation of enhanced identification requirements at B.C. casinos to support those enrolled in Game Break. BCLC’s GameSense brand, which is made available to other commercial gambling entities through its licensing program, was also celebrated in the report.
The WLA is a global professional association of state lottery and gaming organizations from more than 80 countries. BCLC’s WLA certification is valid for three years.
BCLC Announces New Chief Social Purpose Officer and Vice President, Marketing
BCLC has appointed Natasha Questel as its new Chief Social Purpose Officer and Vice President, Marketing, effective January 22, 2024.
Questel joins BCLC with significant experience in the non-profit and consumer-packaged goods sectors underpinned by her commitment to help create a better world. Most recently, she was the CEO of One Girl Can, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to breaking down poverty and gender inequality among the world’s most vulnerable girls. Prior, she was the President of Happy Planet Foods, a Vancouver-based, sustainable-food company focused on doing right by people and the planet.
“As BCLC continues to mature as a social purpose company working to generate win-wins for the greater good, it’s integral that we continue to embed our ‘reason for being’ into all that we do. We are thrilled to welcome Natasha to BCLC, where I know that her passion for making a difference, combined with her demonstrated business success, will enable us to innovate and iterate on how we can further improve our business – and influence others to do the same – for the betterment of society,” said Pat Davis, President and CEO, BCLC.
Questel’s recent volunteer efforts include serving as the board chair and working board member of Basket Brigade Canada, a not for profit dedicated to spreading love by delivering food baskets to single moms and under-represented Canadians in need. She is also board member of Aisle, the B Corp period-care brand, focused on sustainability and inclusivity. In the last year, she has been featured in the Globe and Mail and Vancouver Sun, speaking about the importance of breaking down barriers for women and driving inclusivity in the Canadian workplace.
A graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive LEAD program, she was a finalist in the Stanford Venture Capital Boot camp. She is a member of YPO, the global community of CEOs. She is currently pursuing the YPO Gold President’s program at Harvard and holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.
It’s Okay to be a Grinch: Be #GiftSmart and Snatch Scratch & Win Tickets from Kids’ Stockings
With the holiday season in full swing, BCLC is reminding adults that it’s okay to be a Grinch when it comes to removing lottery products from kids’ shopping lists and stockings.
“Early participation or exposure to gambling in childhood can increase the risk of developing a gambling problem later in life,” said Ryan McCarthy, Director of Player Health at BCLC. “Adults may be unaware of these associated risks so, as part of our commitment to healthy play, it’s a priority for us to share the message that lottery products should never be gifted to kids.”
Research shows that 10 to 14 per cent of adolescents are at risk for developing a problem with gambling, while four to six per cent of youth ages 12-17 are presently impacted by problem gambling. Studies conducted worldwide have found the average problem gambler started gambling at age 10.
“It’s never too early to start the conversation. While kids and gambling don’t mix, many teenagers are already doing it by betting on things like a card game, or by purchasing a virtual loot box,” said McCarthy, who offered the following tips to parents:
- Tailor the conversation to your child. For example, if they like video games, talk to them about loot boxes and how the outcome is random, and the risks posed.
- Tell them about the hidden signs of a problem, like hiding debt or skipping classes.
- Lead by example; kids learn from their parents.
As part of a partnership with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and McGill University’s International Centre for Youth Gambling, BCLC is also sharing its #GiftSmart message through reminders at its 3,400 lottery retailers in B.C. as well as on social media. Learn more about how to be #GiftSmart on gamesense .com, which includes resources for families, with tools, ideas and further information for parents.
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