Visiting certain casinos in British Columbia (BC), Canada, will be slightly more intrusive for some people starting June 26. The BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) announced Thursday that it’s going to start checking the IDs of all visitors before allowing them on the gaming floors.
The BCLC didn’t unexpectedly launch the new initiative, having first announced the program more than one month ago. The goal is to enhance responsible gambling efforts across the province.
Carrying an ID to enter BC casinos, or those of virtually any regulated jurisdiction, isn’t a new concept. It’s been a requirement in order to collect winnings or to confirm age almost everywhere. However, using an ID for responsible gambling is a relatively young idea.
No ID, No Service
The BCLC is implementing the program in accordance with responsible gambling guidelines. While some locations are testing facial recognition in order to meet the guidelines, the government-led gambling operator is going the manual route.
Upon trying to enter a casino, a customer will have to present his or her government-issued ID to security personnel. The data will be compared to a database containing information on people who aren’t allowed in casinos. This includes a scan of Game Break, the local self-exclusion program.
Since announcing last month that these changes were coming, BCLC has been working to build awareness with our players about the new entry requirements and why they matter in helping us to support individuals who have asked for our help,” said BCLC CEO Pat Davis.
If the name is found in any list, the individual won’t be able to enter. The BCLC asserts that it won’t store any of the data that the casinos scan for entry.
Davis, who became the BCLC’s CEO last August, said that this could be the first time any North American jurisdiction, be it a state, province, municipality, or otherwise, has implemented a mandatory ID check. He emphasized that it shows the BCLC’s objective of “having the healthiest players in the world.”
Game Break enrollees are reportedly in favor of the new program. The BCLC said in March that many had supported ID checks as a way to help them comply with their self-exclusion decision.
Cleaning Up BC Gaming
The BCLC has a lock on regulated gambling in the province, overseeing 36 full-service casinos and gaming centers through various operators. It’s also in charge of the provincial lottery.
The entity also controls sports betting and online gaming. Online gambling and sports betting, as well as lottery ticket purchases, are only legally offered through the PlayNow.com website.
With so much control and little competition, the BCLC has faced a number of issues in the past. Most notable was the money-laundering scandal involving the River Rock Casino.
That saga included local casinos, as well as the highest levels of government. A government-led inquiry, the Cullen Commission, detailed the extent of the issue, although no political figures ever faced charges.
The Cullen Commission helped introduce a number of changes to BC gambling, including a heightened focus on anti-money laundering (AML) procedures. The inquiry determined that AML was a standard operating procedure at many casinos from at least 2010 until 2016.
The arrival of Davis and other new executives is an effort to clean up the BCLC’s image. The addition of the new ID checks is part of that same initiative.
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