BCLC reminds people that players can purchase and check lottery tickets online. (BCLC logo)

Retail worker calls for an end to in-person lottery sales amidst COVID-19

‘They’re giving you the encouragement to go out daily and do your lottery’

A B.C. retail worker is calling for an end of lottery sales amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane, which is not her real name to prevent a backlash against her or her place of employment, says some people are coming in daily to check their tickets.

“People are just going out for their lottery entertainment,” says Jane. “Some people are still doing it daily and you can tell from their tickets that they’re purchasing it somewhere else with the 6/49 and the Lotto Max anyways [with] the scratch tickets you haven’t a clue.”

Some people are coming in just for the tickets while others are buying one or two items, says Jane.

“The biggest message I could see that they could put out to people would be just to cancel or suspend the lottery until this thing is over. Casinos are closed, the bars are closed the only place people can get their lottery fix is at grocery stores and gas stations.”

According to the BCLC website, they modified our Lottery Advance Buy options out of an abundance of caution in the event that the evolving COVID-19 pandemic impacts lottery draws in the future.

“You can only buy one draw at a time now. So, unfortunately, the backlash on that is it encourages people to come out more. You can’t get five plays in a row,” says Jane

Jane says that it’s not just a concern in B.C. but other provinces as well.

“The biggest message they’re trying to give out is stay home and wash your hands and don’t touch your face and [by] the same token they’re giving you the encouragement to go out daily and do your lottery,” says Jane. “What are the ramifications and the costs for that in the long run because this thing is going to cost us a fortune for decades, all for the risk of ‘oh I might win $70 million dollars.’ That’s a pretty big carrot.”

Lottery sales continue in B.C. at this time, according to BCLC media relations person Erica Simpson.

“Government and BCLC continue to support the business decisions of private-sector retail operators to reduce hours, close altogether, suspend their lottery operations temporarily, or remain open in adherence to directions from the Provincial Health Officer.”

Simpson reminds players that they can purchase and check lottery tickets online (PlayNow.com) or on the iOS version of the BCLC Lotto! app.

“BCLC has made a number of changes to its business operations to support the wellbeing of people and communities, including the temporary closure of all casinos, community gaming centres and bingo halls,” says Simpson. “While some private-sector lottery retailers choose to remain open, during the COVID-19 pandemic, players are strongly encouraged to put their health and safety first by following the Provincial Health Officer’s directions.”

“While some retailers continue to sell lottery products, others have chosen to suspend lottery sales temporarily,” says BCLC media relations person Lara Gerrits.

“Some retail locations that previously sold lottery products (Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max and the Extra) through Lotto Express may continue to offer lottery sales of these and other products from a different lottery terminal, often located at the customer service desk. This will vary from location to location.”

Specifically, during such a challenging time, BCLC doesn’t want players to use their money to purchase lottery tickets for future draws that could be impacted, their website reads.


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