The B.C. Lottery Corp. reporteda record $2.4 billion in gross revenuesfor 2006-07, resulting in a payout in profits ofjust over $1 billion to the provincial government, local governments, charities and other organizations.

Casinos raked in the largest share of revenues, collecting $1.2 billion, nearly twice what they earned in 2002-03, according to the corporation's annual report, released last week.

Meanwhile, lotteries continued to stagnate with $997 million in revenue, only marginally better than previous years, while bingo grew slowly, earning $219 million in revenue for 2006-07.

Among casinos, the biggest revenue generator was Richmond's River Rock Casino, where gamblers dropped a total of $233 million.

Overall, the corporation's profit margin rose to 42 per cent, with total profit after expenses passing the billion-dollar markfor the first time, at $1.01 billion. Of that:

  • The provincial government took $768 million, including $147 million for the Ministry of Health for funding health-care programs.
  • More than $142 million in grants went to community and charitable groups.
  • About $76 million in grants went to communities that host casinos and bingo.Vancouver topped the recipient list with almost $6 million.
  • The rest went to other provincial programs, including SportsFunder and horse racing purse enhancements, and the federal government.

On the expenses side, more than $650 million in prizes was paid to lottery and bingo winners.

Board chairman John McLernon and president Dana Hayden noted in the report's opening that delays in the opening of several gambling facilities and effective costs management contributed to lower than budgeted operating costs.

Hayden was appointed to replace Vic Poleschuk, who was let go after it was revealed that an inordinate number of ticket retailers were winning lottery prizes and that there were lax controls on winning tickets.

An ombudsman's investigation followed and the corporation said it's moving to implement the recommendations.

"BCLC is also committed to implementing its Player First program that prohibits retailers and the employees from playing, purchasing and validating personal lottery products at their place of employment," the annual report said.

In a breakdown of casino-goers and bingo players, the report said:

  • 52 per cent are male.
  • 27 per cent are between the ages of 19 and 34.
  • 70 per cent have some post-secondary education.
  • 48 per cent are from households with an annual income greater than $60,000 a year.
With files from CP