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Developing Accountability in Risk Management: The British Columbia Lottery Corporation Case Study


Director of Risk Management Services, Thompson Rivers University, Canada and Former Senior Manager, Risk Advisory Services, British Columbia Lottery Corporation

This case study describes how enterprise risk management (ERM) has developed over the past 10 years at British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), a Canadian crown corporation offering lottery, casino, and online gambling. BCLC's enterprise risk management program has been developed over time through a combination of internal experiential learning and the application of specialist advice. The program's success has been due to the dedication of a number of key individuals, the support of senior leadership, and the participation of BCLC employees.

The approach to ERM has evolved from informal conversations supported by an external assessment, through a period of high-level corporate focus supported by a dedicated group of champions using voting technology, to an embedded approach, where risk assessment is incorporated into both operational practice and planning for the future using a variety of approaches depending on the context.


BCLC is a crown corporation operating in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The corporation was established by act of the British Columbia legislature in 1985. As a commercial crown corporation, BCLC is wholly owned by the province but operates at arm's length from government, enjoying operational autonomy while reporting to the minister responsible for gaming, currently the Finance Minister. All profits generated by BCLC go directly to the provincial government. The initial remit of the corporation was to operate the lottery schemes previously administered for British Columbia by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation. In 1997, BCLC was given responsibility to conduct and manage slot machines, and in 1998 the corporation's remit broadened again with additional responsibilities for table games in casinos. In 2004 an online service, PlayNow (, was launched.

BCLC has been a highly successful organization for over 28 years, delivering over $15.7 billion in net income to the province of British Columbia. Through April 2012 to March 2013 more than $1 billion in gambling proceeds helped fund health care, education, and community programs in British Columbia (BCLC Annual Service Plan Report 2012/2013). BCLC operates the provincial lottery and instant games and provides national lottery games through the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation. Across the province, BCLC manages 17 casinos (15 casinos plus two casinos at racetracks), 19 community gaming centers, and six bingo halls through a number of private-sector service providers. PlayNow, BCLC's legal online gambling website, offers lottery, sports, bingo, slot, and table games, including online poker. BCLC employs about 850 corporate staff with more than 37,000 direct and indirect workers employed in British Columbia in gambling operations, government agencies, charities, and support services.

BCLC's mandate is to "conduct and manage gambling in a socially responsible manner for the benefit of British Columbians" with a vision that "gambling is widely embraced as exceptional entertainment through innovation in design, technology, social responsibility, and customer understanding." The organization holds the following values as key to its success:

• Integrity: The games we offer and the ways we conduct business are fair, honest, and trustworthy.

• Social Responsibility: Everything we do is done with consideration of its impact on and for the people and communities of British Columbia.

• Respect: We value and respect our players, service providers, and each other.

BCLC believes that playing fairly is a serious responsibility and an empowering opportunity. A commitment to social, economic, and environmental responsibility is central to everything the organization undertakes, and is reflected in the BCLC slogan, "Playing it right." BCLC strives to create outstanding gambling experiences with games evolving with the player's idea of excitement. For BCLC, playing is not all about winning; it's about entertainment.

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