No payoff for gambling on BC Ferries after province cancels pilot program

The provincial government has folded its cards on a pilot program that would have brought gambling on board a BC Ferries vessel. 

The provincial government has folded its cards on a pilot program that would have brought gambling on board a BC Ferries vessel.

The B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) conducted a business analysis of the pilot with input from BC Ferries and determined additional staffing and infrastructure costs would have amounted to a $240,000 annual loss.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced in 2013 the government was considering a pilot program that would bring aboard slots on sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen.

The proposal was a means to create additional revenue for BC Ferries but the transportation ministry said June 8 it agreed with BCLC’s analysis that gambling on vessels would not generate a sufficient return on investment.

“British Columbians have told the government to explore new and innovative ways to keep ferry fare increases affordable, which is why we explored the idea of introducing gaming on the BC Ferries,” Stone said in a statement.

“While the BC Lottery Corporation’s analysis showed that this idea wouldn’t make money, we’ll remain open to other revenue-generating services.”

The ministry said it plans to expand the gift shops on its Spirit Class vessels and relocate the coffee shops to boost revenue.

torton@biv.com

@reporton