For the second time this month, the leader of one of Canada’s largest gambling and lottery corporations is leaving for the private sector. Michael Graydon, who spent six years as CEO of the BCLC, tendered his resignation as of January 31 in which he stated he will pursue opportunities within the private sector.
Bud Smith, Chair of BCLC’s Board of Directors, confirmed Graydon had stepped down, and that Jim Lightbody was appointed interim CEO for the time being.
“Under Michael’s leadership, the corporation increased its revenue by $235 million while also significantly expanding its social responsibility programs.”
The resignation comes less than two weeks after Rod Phillips, former CEO of the OLG, confirmed he would resign from his post in Ontario. Both men issued statements where they indicated opportunities in the private sector they wished to pursue, though neither confirmed what those opportunities might be.
The resignations of both men raise questions about the future of the gambling industry across Canada, particularly the means that provincial governments and gambling regulators integrate online gambling into the industry.
BC was one of the first provinces to regulate a government managed online casino, PlayNow.com, which was made available to gamblers in 2010. As part of Ontario’s gambling modernization plan, the OLG had plans to launch a similar online gambling domain by the end of 2013.
But the OLG managed online casino remains in development, with the Ontario government pulling back from its initial support for the domain. Meanwhile the BCLC is under intense scrutiny from auditors that are seemingly preventing the west coast gambling operator from moving forward with business plans.
The Canadian Gambling Association reports that Canadians spend on average $14 billion every year on offshore online gambling sites, money that is lost to the Canadian economy. The resignations of both Graydon and Phillips could surmount to overall frustration with government roadblocks that prevented the two men, and their respective agencies from adapting to the times.
What this means for the future of gambling in Canada has yet to be seen.