The BCLC’s self exclusion program for problem gamblers has recently come under fire for failing to keep players out of gambling venues across the province. Many former members of the program has stated that nothing was done to enforce the rules – except in cases where winnings were at stake. One such case is now being taken to court, as Mike Lee sues the BCLC for winnings that he has been denied.
In 2007, Mike Lee became aware of his gambling addiction, and took the necessary steps to treating it. He signed up for the self-exclusion program run by the British Columbia Lottery Commission to help keep him from setting foot in land-based casinos. But, like many former members who have recently come forward, he was allowed into several casinos on many different occasions.
On more than one date, Lee was able to gamble at local casinos. He won up to $500 several times – despite the program rules that state all winnings will be withheld. It wasn’t until he won a substantial jackpot worth over $40 000 that the B.C. Lottery Commission finally did its job and refused to award Lee his winnings.
Lee claims that his agreement did not state that he would have to forfeit his winnings. But, even if it had, the BCLC failed to claim Lee’s winnings on several other occasions – until a considerable amount was won.
This is not the first case of its kind. Another former member, Joyce May Ross, was not prohibited from entering casinos in British Columbia, allowing her to lose more than $300 000 due to the BCLC’s breach of contract.