Bill 32 - 2022: Proposed Amendments to the Gaming Control Act
In November 2022, Bill 32, the Gaming Control Act (the “Bill”) received royal assent. While the Bill introduces changes to chapter 14 of the Gaming Control Act (the “Act”), the changes have not come into force yet. The anticipated changes address findings outlined under the Cullen Report, addressing money laundering, with a specific focus on activities occurring in BC’s casinos between 2008 and 2018. The Bill clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and its general manager. It also expands on the general manager’s powers to regulate BC’s lottery corporation, registered gaming service providers, registered gaming workers, gaming event licensees and horse racing licensees.[i]
The Bill expands on current legislation to ensure that it is consistent with current gaming policies and practices, while also introducing new requirements and streamlining existing processes. The Bill is likely to have significant implications on gaming service providers and players in British Columbia.
To outline some modifications seen in the Bill, we have prepared the non-exhaustive summary below.
The Bill introduces several new definitions and expands on previous terms. These include (but are not limited to): “applicant”, “registrant”, “gaming event licensee”, “background investigation”, “gaming services”, “grant manager”, “horse racing facility”, “provincial gaming facility”, “provincial gaming scheme”.
The Bill introduces new powers, requiring the board of directors to supervise the delegation of any of its powers or duties. Similarly, it also provides an exclusion in terms of powers which may be delegated, which differs from the current legislation. For example, the CEO may appoint officers and employees of the lottery corporation and minister approval is no longer required to supply any person with operational services, computer software, tickets, or other technology. The Bill also introduces new divisions regarding gaming development projects and prohibition against unauthorized gaming development, allowing the lottery corporation to conduct, manage or operate a lottery scheme, if written approval from the general manager has been granted. Lastly, the Bill introduces a buy in limit which permits participation in a provincial gaming scheme.
Prohibitions and Responsible Gaming
The Bill places greater emphasis on promoting responsible gaming. It provides measures to prevent and mitigate problem gambling but introducing training programs for registered gaming works and individuals prescribed by the general manager. There is also an obligation to integrate new rules respecting the operation of and participation in provisional games, ensuring compliance with governing legislation. The Bill introduces stringent prohibitions on the participation of minors in gaming schemes and expands on the denial of online gaming schemes.
Reporting and Penalties
The Bill expands on the kind of examination that the general manager may do regarding audit and inspection powers. It also revisits reporting obligations, while increasing the enforcement powers of the general manager, including the general manager’s ability to impose monetary penalties. The Bill provides a list of factors to be considered before imposing monetary penalties.
The Bill groups offences into two categories: higher penalty offences and lower penalty offences. Dissimilar to the current Act where a proceeding, conviction or penalty for a committed offence (under the Act) does not relieve a person from any other liability, the Bill provides that a person may not be charged with an offence for contravening a provision referred to under the Act if a monetary penalty under Division 3 (Monetary Penalties) has been imposed on the person, with respect to the same contravention. This prohibits a “double penalty”.
Lastly, it introduces the concept of Reconsideration. A person that is an applicant, registrant or licensee may apply to the general manager for a reconsideration of its decision.
In conclusion, the Gaming Control Act is set to undergo significant modifications aimed at promoting responsible gaming, preventing money laundering activities, and streamlining processes. Once in force, these changes will have a significant impact on gaming service providers and players in British Columbia. It is crucial for them to stay informed and compliant with the new regulations. As the gaming industry evolves, it is essential to prioritize responsible gaming practices to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all players.
If you have questions about the Bill or anticipated changes to the Act, or would like to discuss how these changes may impact your business, we would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to visit our Vancouver offices, contact us at 604-629-5400 or via email at [email protected].
***The above blog post is provided for informational purposes only and has not been tailored to your specific circumstances. This blog post does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice and may not be relied upon as such.**