PlayNow.com was launched in 2004 to offer national and provincial lottery games. The site slowly expanded its gaming library and, in 2010, BCLC began offering players all types of online casino games. Today, registered players in B.C. can bet on sports games, purchase their lottery tickets, play multi-player bingo, wager on a favourite casino games, and play their favourite game of poker against an NHL goaltender.
“The decision for us to offer online casino games on PlayNow. com was driven by players’ demand and the obvious need for a safe and responsible online gambling alternative for British Columbians,” explained Garvey. “BCLC considered a number different business models when examining online gambling. This choice gave us the greatest ability to provide a product that is safe, responsible and accountable to the players of B.C.”
PlayNow.com now has more than 180,000 registered players. It is also the brand of choice for BCLC to help support promotions at casinos and community gaming centres in the province. For example, Playnow.com runs satellite poker tournaments to increase awareness and attendance at events across B.C.
Last year, players could enter poker tournaments to win seats at everything from the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, the Women’s Poker Classic in Langley, the B.C. Poker Championships in Richmond and the West Coast Poker Championships in Vancouver, among others.
With this initial success, more events will receive online promotion on Playnow.com in the future.
Roberto Luongo on the Team
Registered players in B.C. can win more than cash prizes. Through BCLC’s sports sponsorships, players can register in poker tournaments to win tickets to Vancouver Canucks, B.C. Lions, or Vancouver Whitecaps games. In addition, online poker players have 24-hour access to play with players from Quebec on a shared poker network giving players the best possible online experience.
In 2011, PlayNow.com partnered with the Grey Cup Festival in Vancouver, offering players a chance to win tickets to the 99th Canadian Football League Championship game. The Grey Cup Festival partnership was a huge success with more than 100 players winning tickets to the big game.
In 2011, PlayNow.com announced a partnership with Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender, Roberto Luongo. Luongo is well known amongst poker players and hockey fans for his passion for poker. He plays in a number of tournaments, including the Canucks for Kids Fund Dice & Ice charity tournament and the NHLPA's Goals & Dreams fund. Now he has his own charity poker tournament where poker players in B.C. have the opportunity to play against one of the NHL’s top players.
In the first annual Roberto Luongo Charity Poker Classic, Luongo finished second at the tournament, outlasting poker professionals Matt Jarvis and Greg Raymer, as well as 2011 Grey Cup winner and B.C. Lions receiver, Geroy Simon. Luongo donated his $7,000 prize to charity immediately following the win.
Through registration, auction items, prize winning, and charity donations, the event raised more than $90,000 in support of hockey education, grassroots hockey programs, and youth health and wellness in B.C. through the Canucks for Kids Fund.
“It’s such an exciting opportunity for our players to have the chance to play poker against Roberto Luongo,” said Garvey. “This partnership gives our players access to great prizes like the chance to test their poker skills against the hockey all-star.”
As the face of poker on PlayNow. com, Luongo will continue to appear in advertisements, play poker on the website and at his own charity tournament, and appear at promotional events with players.
Playing for the Future
The industry continues to grow and ongoing advancements in gaming software and technology point to an exciting future for players who choose to gamble online.
PlayNow.com has plans to enhance the online sports-betting for players. BCLC has partnered with sports book provider Paddy Power to deliver players with more comprehensive sports betting services on PlayNow. com, including more sports and events and new ways to bet. As well, BCLC constantly enhances and refreshes the more than 100 games available on the site.
In addition, registered players continue to have the chance to win unique and exclusive prizes through PlayNow.com.
“BCLC may have been the first Canadian gaming jurisdiction to offer online casino games,” continued Garvey. “But I’ll bet we won’t be the last. The shared network we have with Quebec will continue to build strength as more jurisdictions think about joining, and we see this as a strategic focus for BCLC in the years to come.”