BCLC Takes Action on Retailers Allowing Underage Players to Fly under the Radar

Lottery gaming is among the popular forms of gambling across Canada, evident by the constant levels of high purchases and the increasing lottery jackpot caps. In order to maintain the field as safe for players as possible, British Columbia Lottery Corporation has been putting efforts into monitoring the field. As a result of that, the corporation discovered that the mandatory legal age of 19 is rarely something lottery retailers pay attention to when selling tickets.

Millions of Canadians participate in lottery gaming on a regular basis, as this activity is considered being the least addictive one when it comes to gambling. Problem gambling is kept at bay in a way, as a traditional lottery ticket costs some CA$5. For many people purchasing lottery tickets is a tradition their parents had followed ever since their childhood, which explains the constant levels of interest towards it.

BCLC Implements “Mystery Customers” Approach

However, it should be kept in mind that only individuals over 19 could participate in the gaming offering. This is a mandatory condition printed on every single lottery ticket in sale, as well as everywhere lottery gaming is advertised. As it turns out, lottery retail locations across British Columbia do not ask their customers for their ID upon purchasing lottery tickets.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation implemented the popular approach of “mystery shoppers” sending individual on location to experience the service first hand. Said individuals provided the corporation with an essential purchaser’s perspective on lottery purchasing that does not involve verification of the legal age of the player.

Those of the people send on site of the points of sale were often times younger people, but this did not change things. Many of them appearing younger were never asked for their ID upon purchasing the tickets. In order to keep those retailers in check and notify them that they have to step up their game, BCLC issued hundreds of special emails over the past three years of checkups.

More than Half Retailers Failed the Test

Ever since August 2016 this program has been implemented, seeking real results and an accurate snapshot of the status quo in the British Columbia gambling field. The first phase of this program covered fiscal 2016-2017 and confirmed a concern shared by both locals and the corporation. Some 64 percent of the points of sale did not ask the mystery customer for their ID, even though they appeared to be younger.

The total number of location monitored by the corporation during that period was 1,012, a number that saw an increase the following year. During fiscal 2017-2018 some 1,040 shops were part of the mystery shops program and once again, the percentage of retailer skipping the ID step of the purchase reached 61 percent. Over the past fiscal year, 56 percent of the shops failed to demand an ID upon selling lottery tickets.

According to the updated ID25, the retailers failing to abide by the rules receive a warning letter, as well as a 15 percent conditional payment. From here on out, those who continue this practice will receive once again the same penalties, whereas a third violation of the rules would mean a contract suspension for a week or longer. Problem gambling is among the main concerns not only in B.C. but across Canada, making the legal age that much crucial for retailers.

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