Vancouver is a coastal city in the British Columbia province. It is the largest city in the region, and the greater area of Vancouver has a population of more than 2.5 million, making it the 3rd biggest metro area in the country. It also has the highest population density.
As per the Canadian Criminal Code, all gambling-related licensing and regulation is overseen by the provinces themselves. Gambling is fully regulated in British Columbia.
The chief gambling regulator is the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB). They ensure consumer protection and preserve the sector’s integrity. They are covered under the British Columbia Gaming Control Act and deal with responsible gambling.
You need to be at least 19 years old to gamble in Vancouver. Any money generated through gambling activities goes towards various social programs ranging from healthcare and education to programs focused on helping elderly residents.
There are currently three casinos in the Vancouver area, with a total of over 1,200 gaming machines and more than 150 table games on offer.
Slot machines in Vancouver have been regulated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) since 1997.
The Gaming Control Act limits the number of casinos that can operate in the province to 22. There are many Community Gaming Centres in Vancouver that host bingo and slots but are not allowed to offer any kinds of table games.
The three main casinos in Vancouver are the Edgewater Casino, the Parq Vancouver, and Planet Bingo. The Edgewater Casino houses more than 520 gaming machines and it is open 24 hours a day. They also offer poker games and more than 55 table games.
Parq Vancouver is the largest casino in the city. The site encompasses 72,000 square feet, and there are more than 650 gaming machines and 80 table games. The establishment only opened its doors for business in 2017, and the project cost $600 million.
The Vancouver government garners around 10% of the net income generated by gaming facilities. Most of this money goes towards engineering and funding the city’s parks, fire and police departments, and community grants. Between 2013 and 2017, the Vancouver government received around $45 million from gaming sources.
Online gaming is legal in Vancouver. The BCLC offers a platform called PlayNow that has been around since 2010 and offers poker, lottery, and casino games.
PlayNow was the first government-operated online gambling platform in all of North America. It experienced some security issues at launch and was then closed for a few weeks.
Vancouver residents have been allowed to purchase tickets for the provincial lottery through PlayNow since 2012. The platform has also been available for those located in Manitoba since 2013.
Sports betting in Vancouver is only available through the PlayNow platform, and the only available bets are parlays.
In 2012, the BCLC partnered with European sports betting giant Paddy Power, who are responsible for creating the odds for futures and in-play betting markets at PlayNow.
Sports pools have been available as part of this offering since 2016. To provide this service, BCLC works with OpenBet, who have many years of experience in the sector.
Oddset outcome sports wagers are parlay bets that carry a maximum stake of $100. You can play point spreads bets that come with as many as a dozen selections. You can place over/under bets with up to ten selections. Finally, toto and props bets are also on offer as part of the betting pools.
The BCLC entered into another agreement in the summer of 2018, this time with the Scientific Games Corporation. This partnership will see the online sports betting platform and offering drastically altered and optimized.
Residents can also take advantage of offshore sports betting operators. While this is not illegal, it is not encouraged in the region.
There is a single race track in Vancouver – the Hastings Racecourse, which offers regular thoroughbred racing. The racino is 42,000 square foot in size and provides over 600 gaming machines in addition to its horse race betting offering. The track has been hosting races since 1889.
Horse racing is the only gambling activity overseen by a federal authority.
You can place simulcast or live bets on horse races. The racing division of the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch presides over the sector in Vancouver, ensuring that racinos follow the rules and hold any necessary licenses.
There are several teletheatres in the Vancouver area. These facilities are located off-track and offer customers the chance to place bets on horse races.
Horse racing has always been popular in the province. Currently, 25% of the net revenue garnered through the slots at the Hastings Racecourse goes towards improving the region’s racing industry. Annually, this figure tends to sit around the $10 million mark.
You can play online poker in Vancouver. It has been offered in a peer-to-peer environment since 2011 when Loto-Quebec and the BLC teamed up to make it possible.
PlayNow has been a member of the Canadian Poker Network since 2011, which allows poker players in Vancouver to play online poker games with Quebec residents through the Espacejeux online environment.
Currently, there are four physical locations in the city where you can play poker:
- Parq Vancouver
- Cascades Casino
- Grand Villa Casino
- River Rock Casino
The provinces of Canada have been looking after their own lotteries since 1969.
Vancouver residents had previously been part of a joint lottery between several provinces. The alliance is called the Western Canada Lottery Foundation and was originally made up of Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. It was launched in 1974, and by 1984, British Columbia decided to develop their own lottery, leading to the creation of the BCLC.
Today, you can choose from a selection of instant draw and lottery games. Tickets are available online through the PlayNow platform and at 4,000+ select retailers.
Many non-lottery products are also on offer, such as pull tabs, keno, and scratch cards.
As of 2002, any party that holds the relevant license can provide bingo paper services. Previously, only charitable and community-based groups were allowed to do so. There are still numerous charities that offer bingo in the Vancouver area.
You can now also play online bingo through the PlayNow platform. The two main physical locations in Vancouver are Planet Bingo and the Bingo Super J. Planet Bingo currently has 426 available seats on a given night, usually operating from Thursday to Sunday.
Vancouver is a progressive city and a popular destination for tourists all around the world.
While it does not house many casinos, Vancouver’s offering is strong, with $600 million pumped into the Parq Vancouver Casino that opened in 2017. All forms of gambling are legal in the city.
There are table games, slots, and poker varieties available to play at the various casinos and rooms throughout the city. You can also play your favorite titles on the go through the state-run PlayNow online gaming platform.
The sports betting options are somewhat limited but are more competitively priced compared to other provinces in the country. Online poker is a popular pursuit, and individuals can play one another in a stable environment that includes players from the province of Quebec.
The lottery is a strong source of revenue as many Vancouver residents enjoy regularly participating in it.
Vancouver embraces gambling and benefits from it through the tax revenue generated by the sector.