What happens to money spent on lottery tickets in British Colombia, Canada?

Almost everyone dreams about winning the lottery at some point in their life. If you’re not someone who buys lottery tickets or partakes in online roulette regularly, chances are someone in your bubble does. This got us thinking about where the money spent on gambling province-wide goes.

The British Colombia Lottery Commission, or as they’re commonly known, the BCLC, conducts and manages lottery, casino, bingo, and online gambling on behalf of the province for the benefit of all British Columbians. This means that every time you purchase a lottery or Scratch and Win ticket, play slots and table games at a casino (when they reopen), or play the lottery, part of your money goes back to the community.

In 2019/20 alone, BCLC delivered more than $1.3 billion in net income to the provincial government, which distributes it to healthcare, education, and community programs. The funds also help support essential services, charities, and major events that have helped shape the province.

One way gambling revenue goes back to the community is through the province’s Community Gaming Grants program. Every year, the province allocates approximately $140 million in Community Gaming Grants to more than 5,000 not-for-profit organizations.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank has been a Community Gaming Grant recipient for the past six years. In 2019, it received a $90,000 Community Gaming Grant, allowing it to purchase fresh and healthy items for more than 8,500 clients who rely on their service.

Metro Vancouver residents Adrian and Ann can attest to the importance of the Food Bank. The couple moved to Canada from Mexico City two years ago with their two-year-old and 21-year-old daughters, so that Adrian could study hospitality management.

Adrian successfully graduated, and both he and Ann were working at a hotel before they were laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the layoff, Adrian has been given one day of work per week, which simply is not enough to cover household expenses for their family.

Concerned about how they were going to cover their basic household expenses, Ann confided in a friend who told her that the Greater Vancouver Food Bank provides fresh fruits, vegetables, and other essential food items for families in need. The couple said they don’t know how their family would have managed without this support.

“In my country, there is nothing like [the food bank] there,” said Adrian. “We feel really happy when we come to the Food Bank. My young daughter’s favourite food to get from the Food Bank are the strawberries!”

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is also one of BCLC’s corporate charities of choice (as selected by BCLC employees) and benefits from employee-led volunteering and fundraising activities such as 50/50 draws, auctions, payroll deductions, and more.

BCLC is dedicated to giving back to British Columbians and recently partnered up with three charities across the province that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, including the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, to host virtual fundraising campaigns.

For the duration of the fundraiser, locals had the opportunity to purchase gift cards for Vancouver-based businesses or bid on silent auction items to double their impact. Thanks to the support of the community, this initiative raised more than $4,465 for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.




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