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PlayNow Review: About this Canadian Poker, Casino, Sports, bingo, and lottery provider


1.   Introduction
1.1. Geo Info 1.2. Pros 1.3. Cons
2.   Poker Room
2.1. Games 2.2. Promotions
3.   Deposits 4.   Withdrawals 5.   Casino 6.   Sportsbook 7.   Bingo 8.   Lottery 9.   Responsible Gaming 10. Support 11. Mobile 12. Conclusion
PlayNow Logo

Although many Canadians are avid fans of offshore gambling sites, there are some who wonder about the feasibility of betting with domestic online gaming providers, like PlayNow. PlayNow is a government-run internet sportsbook, casino (including live dealer), bingo hall, lottery vendor, and poker room. is available in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. We've composed a thorough PlayNow BC review, including poker and the other available products, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you wish to play here. is the online gambling presence of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation

PlayNow Overview

PlayNow launched its operations in 2004 as the online branch of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). PlayNow BCLC expanded to include casino games and sports betting in 2010 while adding poker in 2011. In January 2013, PlayNow Manitoba opened for business through a cooperative agreement with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.

In November 2022, PlayNow Saskatchewan extended the company's service area via an arrangement with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. However, lottery products, bingo, and poker are unavailable in Saskatchewan.

PlayNow offers poker, casino, sports betting, lotto, and bingoScreenshot of the PlayNow Home Page

Geographical Notes

Throughout this review, we focus on the BC iteration of PlayNow because it was the original manifestation of the gaming site, and it has the largest library of products. Should you reside in Manitoba, a few of the details will be different, and Saskatchewan residents will find that some of the betting products we describe are unavailable to them.

Anyone who is a resident of British Columbia or Saskatchewan must be 19 years old or above in order to create a PlayNow online account. Residents of Manitoba are allowed to register for an account as long as they are 18 or older. In order to access the real money gaming products, individuals must be physically located in the province that their account is tied to.

What we like about PlayNow

  • Fully licensed and regulated
  • All-in-one poker, sportsbook, bingo hall, casino, and lottery platform
  • Comprehensive responsible gaming tools

What we don't like about PlayNow

  • Only fully available in two provinces and partially available in one
  • Little poker traffic other than NL Hold'em
  • Mediocre poker software
  • Cannot choose withdrawal method – bank transfer or check are the only methods
  • Customers can choose to redeem a welcome bonus for only one product

PlayNow Poker

Players from the provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba can access the PlayNow poker software, and they both share traffic with Quebec's OK Poker platform as part of the same network. The PlayNow Canada network uses software from GTech, based upon the old Boss Poker Network client, which has been updated over the years but is still best described as “functional” rather than “excellent.”

Traffic levels are pretty modest even for a cardroom that transacts in only a few provinces. There are an average of only 180 ring game players simultaneous active according to industry resource GameIntel. Indeed, several other ring-fenced operations, like PokerStars Ontario and Sweden's Svenska Spel, are larger than PlayNow Poker.

Poker Games Available

The PlayNow Poker lobby boasts an impressive array of game formats, including such obscure variants as 5 Card Stud and PL 5 Card Draw with all cards below 7 removed from the deck. However, apart from NL Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and PLO/8, most of the other games see very little action.

Cash Games

During peak hours, you'll see perhaps a couple dozen active NL Hold'em cash tables at blind levels between $0.02/$0.04 and $2/$4. Games go up to $25/$50, but the higher stakes seldom get off the ground. PLO and PLO Hi-Lo meanwhile generally see no more than about a half dozen active games at micro and small stakes.

PlayNow Poker cash games are mostly concentrated in NLHECash Games at PlayNow Poker

The rake is 5% up to a maximum of $3. However, at stakes of $0.12/$0.25 NL/PL and above, this cap is reduced to $1.50 for shorthanded (two-to-four-player hands) games. Similarly, all HU limit tables charge a max rake of $1. Overall, the rake structure at PlayNow is pretty fair and comparable to what you'd find at other internet poker destinations.

Single Table Tournaments

PlayNow also spreads NLHE SNGs from $0.52 to $515. There are heads-up, four-handed, five-max, and eight-player contests, including Double, Turbo, and timed games. Oddly, there are PL Hold'em and FL Hold'em sit & gos in the mix along with a few Omaha, Omaha/8, 7 Card Stud, and draw games. Much as with cash games, this breadth of offerings is overkill because actual user participation in anything besides Hold'em is severely limited.

There are also Slot & Go competitions, which is PlayNow's version of lottery poker. They're available at buyins from $1 to $25 in Hold'em format alone. The multipliers range from 2x to 3,000x. In an unusual wrinkle, at multipliers of 6x and above, second place receives a prize, and at multipliers of 25x and above, all three participants win something.

Multi-Table Tournaments

Multi-table tournaments is perhaps the most robust section of the PokerNow poker lobby. On any given day, there are dozens of tournaments at price points both low and high. The premier MTT is the $100,000 Guaranteed, which is scheduled for the first Sunday every month and costs $300 + $20 to enter. Most of the events are NLH affairs with only the occasional PLO or PLO-8 tourney.

Freezeouts, R&As, progressive knockouts, and satellites are all present. Most tournaments attract a few dozen participants with the largest ones exceeding 100 entrants.

Multi-table tournaments at PlayNowTournament Lobby at PlayNow Poker

Poker Promotions

PlayNow has a pretty decent lineup of promotions for its valued poker players. Some are automatically active while you play whereas you have to take certain actions to qualify for others.

Bad Beat Jackpots

There are two NLHE Bad Beat Jackpots at PlayNow, one for blind levels of $0.50/$1.00 and above and another one for microstakes. The main Bad Beat Jackpot is funded by a $0.50 levy on every raked pot whereas the Micro Bad Beat Jackpot takes a $0.02 drop from every raked hand. Only specially marked tables qualify for either of the BBJs, so you don't have to pay this higher rake unless you want to participate.

The trigger for awarding the main Bad Beat pot is quad eights going to showdown and losing. For the Micro Bad Beat Jackpot, the minimum qualifying hand is quad deuces. For both jackpots to be active, there must be a minimum of four players dealt into the hand, and the hand must be raked. Both players must use both hole cards to compose their final hands.

Should all these conditions be met, the appropriate jackpot will be awarded as follows:

  • Player with the “losing hand”: 35%
  • Player with the winning hand: 17.5%
  • Shared among others at the table: 17.5%
  • Reseed new jackpot: 20%
  • Network administrative fee: 10%

As of March 30, 2023, the Bad Beat Jackpot fund stood at over $378,000 while the Micro Bad Beat Jackpot total was $1,768.

High Hand Jackpot

There's also a High Hand Jackpot that's exclusive to NLHE tables of $0.05/$0.10 and below, and it's funded by a charge of $0.03 taken from each raked pot. Much as with the Bad Beat promotion, it is only active at designated tables, so you can avoid paying this fee if you wish.

The qualifying hand is straight flush 10 or higher. At least four players must receive cards in a given hand to make it eligible, and the pot must be raked. The winning hand must use both hole cards, but the hand does not need to go to showdown.

When the High Hand Jackpot is hit, the prize pool is distributed as follows:

  • Winner: 52.5%
  • Table share: 17.5%
  • Reseed: 20%
  • Network fee: 10%

The High Hand Jackpot is generally much smaller than either of the Bad Beat Jackpot. It typically ranges in value from $10 - $100.

Monthly Rake Race

Every month, the top 100 rakers split up a prize pool of $15,000. Payouts range from $1,875 for first place down to $15 for 100th. Both ring games and tournaments contribute to your rake total.


PlayNow has a robust schedule of freerolls. $10 hourly freerolls are open to all and run every day from 1 p.m. PT to 9 p.m. PT. Other freerolls pay $10, $25, $150, $400, and $1,000 in prizes, and they require from 10 raked hands played on a single day to 400 raked hands played monthly to gain entry.

PXP Rewards

For every $0.25 you contribute in rake, you'll get one PXP+ Reward. When you accumulate 1,000 or more PXP+, you can trade them in for tournament credits, which can be used to enter MTTs. You may request this conversion from PXP+ Rewards to tournament credits in increments of 1,000 PXP+.

Each PXP+ is worth one cent in credits. Because you get 1 PXP+ for every $0.25 in rake, this exchange is effectively worth 4% rakeback.

PlayNow Deposits

There are six deposit methods supported by PlayNow:

  • Debit Card: no fees
  • Credit Card: cash advance fees may apply
  • Interac Online: no fees; only available at certain financial institutions
  • PayPal: fees may apply
  • Web Cash: no fees; must purchase in store in $25 increments and redeem online
  • Online Bill Pay: no fees

In order for PlayNow to fulfill its anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism obligations, it requires you to divulge what your occupation is before allowing you to make a deposit.

PlayNow Withdrawals

All cashouts at PlayNow up to the value of $100,000 are processed by bank transfer, which takes up to four business days before the money shows up in your account. Payouts in excess of this value are paid by check. An employee of the BCLC will contact you by phone to make the arrangements.


The PlayNow online casino lets you access, for real money play, the kinds of games that you can find in land-based casinos. Indeed, the Live Casino has actual dealers operating the gaming apparatus, with the gameplay broadcast over the internet, while you place your bets through the electronic interface on your computer screen.

The games can be divided into several categories:

  • Slots: 350+ games
  • Table Games: 25+ games
  • Video Poker: 7 games
  • Live Casino: 11 games
  • Keno: 12 games
  • Reactors: 55 games
  • Scratch Cards: 50+ games

In total, there are more than 500 games: a quite respectable total. You can try them out for free with demo play, but you have to log into your account first. The games were created by a variety of well-regarded developers, like WMS, IGT, and Everi.

There are more than 500 casino games at PlayNowSome of the Games Available in the PlayNow Casino

Casino Promotion

There are a couple of welcome promos available for PlayNow casino enthusiasts. However, you can only choose one welcome bonus among the two provided. In fact, you cannot benefit from any lotto or sports welcome offer if you redeem any of the two casino bonuses, and similarly, if you claim the lotto or sports welcome deal, you will be ineligible for both of these casino promotions.

Casino Free Play Token

If you make a deposit of at least $20 and play $20 on any non-Live Casino games, then you will get a $20 Casino Freeplay Token. This token has a 30x wagering requirement on any casino titles, excluding Live Casino games, so you'll have to play through $600 before making any withdrawal. The token expires 14 days after being added to your account.

Live Casino Free Play Token

If you prefer the more realistic feel of Live Casino games, then there's an alternate $20 token you can claim. Deposit a minimum of $20 and place wagers totaling $20 on any Live Casino games to unlock the token. This token has a 70x wagering requirement on any Live Casino games, and the token must be used within 14 days of issuance.


PlayNow's sportsbook contains many types of athletic contests as well as other events, like political elections and esports matches. The types of wagers you can make include moneyline, spread, totals, props, parlays, and teasers. There's even a Live Betting interface where you can put down your wagers in real time as an event is underway.

The cash out feature, which lets you take an early payout before a bet is resolved, is enabled for most bets. There's even partial cash out, which permits you to receive a payment for a portion of the value of the bet and let the rest ride on the result of the event.

Bet on Sports at PlayNowThe PlayNow Sportsbook

Sports Promotions

There are several promotional offers extended to PlayNow sports bettors. Some are one-time deals whereas others can be claimed multiple times.

First Deposit Bonus

When you make your first deposit of between $10 and $150, you can claim a match deposit consisting of five free bets totaling the amount of your deposit. For instance, if you deposit $50, then you will get five bets of $10 apiece. If you max out the promo with a $150 bonus, then you can obtain five separate free bets of $30 each.

In order to qualify, you must roll your deposit over once. The free bets will be added to your account for you to use within 60 days. There's no wagering requirement attached to this promotion.

Please bear in mind that you can redeem only one welcome offer from PlayNow. If you elect to take advantage of the sports welcome bonus, then you will not be able to claim the lottery free token or a casino welcome special.

Bet-Back Bonus

From time to time, PlayNow extends Bet-Back Bonuses to certain wagers. If you make a qualifying bet on a market for which there's a Bet-Back Bonus active and you lose, you may be able to get a matching freebet of up to $100 added to your account.

Most of the recent Bet-Back Bonuses have involved making parlays on particular days of the week for given sports leagues (e.g., NHL Tuesdays or UFC Fridays). Should a single leg of the parlay lose, then a freebet will be added to your account for the value of your wager up to a maximum of $100.

Free bets are good for two weeks before expiring. There's no rollover requirement attached to either the free bet itself or any winnings derived from it. Free bets must be used in their entirety on a single wager; you cannot split them up among two or more selections.

Power Picks

PlayNow identifies certain combinations of occurrences and lists some of them every day as Power Picks. Each Power Pick is basically a parlay with boosted odds and a bigger payout than if you had chosen to make a parlay yourself out of those same selections. Thus, you can achieve a larger profit if you should win than if you had made the identical picks without taking advantage of the Power Pick.


The PlayNow bingo hall combines its users in British Columbia and Manitoba into one player pool. These players then play in two bingo rooms: Suite 75 and Stardust. Actually, there's another room called Moonlight Diamonds that's a single-player version of bingo. All games are 75-ball bingo.

Each of these three bingo rooms pays out prizes of 80% of the money collected.

Moonlight Diamonds

In the Moonlight Diamonds room, players compete against the house. Unlike the other bingo rooms at PlayNow, this one allows the user to select their own card price. The prizes are then adjusted accordingly. They're paid out if a pattern (one line, two lines, three lines, four lines, and full card) is completed before a specified number of calls.

Suite 75

A new game starts every five minutes in Suite 75, and cards cost $0.10 apiece. The game ends whenever any player completes a full card, which is worth 40% of the prize pool. Along the way, the first contestants to complete one line, two lines, three lines, and four lines each receive 15% of the prize pool.

Before the prize pool is calculated, 5% of all ticket sales are diverted toward the Suite Jackpot. This jackpot is triggered whenever someone completes a full card in 49 ball calls or fewer. When this happens, 75% of the jackpot goes toward the winner, and 25% is divided between anyone else who bought tickets for the game.


Games run every five minutes in the Stardust room with tickets costing $0.25 apiece. The game alternates between classic, which uses the familiar 5x5 bingo cards, and pattern, wherein only certain squares of the bingo cards are filled in with numbers and the entire pattern must be completed to score a bingo.

10% of all ticket sales go toward the Stardust jackpots while 70% comprises the regular prize pool. The Pulsar Pattern jackpot is active in pattern games and is activated when the pattern is achieved within a specified number of ball calls. The Super Nova Classic Jackpot is valid in classic games and is awarded whenever a full card is completed in 47 calls or fewer. For either jackpot, 50% of the fund goes to the winner with the remaining half split up among all participants in the game.

Bingo Promos

Though there aren't really tons of promotional offers for bingo, there are a couple of them that aim to reward loyal players.

$250 Guaranteed Games

Every night at 9 p.m. PT, there will be a $250 guaranteed game in the Suite 75 room. Then for the rest of the hour, each game will have $75 guaranteed.

$50 Guaranteed Games

Both the Suite 75 and Stardust rooms host $50 guaranteed games during certain hours every day. For Suite 75, the hourlong $50 guarantees commence at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. PT. Meanwhile, the Stardust room has three hours of $50 guarantees: beginning at 5 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. PT.


The BCLC, PlayNow's parent organization, is mainly a lottery provider, and so it makes sense that the online site also facilitates lottery sales. Although the BCLC offers scratch-off and pull tabs in retail establishments, the only games available to purchase over the internet are traditional lottery draw games.

There are a few games (Lotto Max, Lotto 6/49, and Daily Grand) that are cross-jurisdictional and are run in conjunction with Interprovincial Lottery Corporation as well as several that are local to either British Columbia or Manitoba.

You can purchase each ticket individually, obtain a pack of several tickets bundled together, or buy a subscription that will automatically purchase tickets for you over a designated period of time so that you never miss a drawing.

New users can get a $5 credit to use toward lottery products after making a deposit of $5 and spending $5 on a lottery product. Be advised, though, that should you elect to accept this lottery credit, you'll be ineligible for the sports first deposit bonus and both of the casino welcome tokens. That's right: You can redeem only a single welcome offer, so choose wisely.

Responsible Gaming

One of the main impetuses for the BCLC to create PlayNow in the first place was consumer protection, and so it only stands to reason that the responsible gaming features of the site are broad and numerous. Indeed, rather than a haphazard series of distinct policies and procedures, PlayNow has enacted a coordinated program called GameSense that aims to protect at-risk individuals.

GameSense gives users that ability to police their own gambling habits by setting weekly deposit limits, establishing daily and weekly playing time limits, and self-imposed account lockouts from 24 hours up to 14 days.

At the same time, GameSense recognizes that sometimes, people are unable to control their problem gambling urges without assistance from someone else. That's why GameSense Advisors are reachable via telephone and live chat to address any concerns a customer might have about their own gambling activities.

If more than a short break is deemed desirable by a user, then they can register for Game Break, a system of self-exclusion lasting six months, a year, two years, or three years. During this period of time, the PlayNow account in question will be closed, and the customer will not receive any marketing messages from BCLC, PlayNow, or related entities.

Near the end of the break, a patron will be able to extend the self-exclusion period or complete the reinstatement requirements to have the account reactivated. Should the user take no action, then the self-exclusion will be automatically extended for an additional 12 months.

Customer Support

If you have any questions or uncertainties about PlayNow, it's recommended that you first attempt to get the answers you require through the FAQs on the site. There are a number of them, each devoted to a single topic and containing several questions about that subject.

Should the FAQs not contain the information you desire, then you can contact support through Live Chat or by completing a web form on which you can request that a member of the support team email you. You do also have the option of calling 1-877-706-6789 to get in touch with customer support.

Playnow Mobile

PlayNow has developed downloadable mobile phone apps for both lottery and poker. They are available for Android and iOS devices. The poker app lets you access virtually all games present in the cardroom via your smartphone or tablet. The lottery app allows you to purchase the same tickets that you can through the website, and in addition, it can check if your scratch-off and instant win tickets that you buy from a retailor are winners.

There are PlayNow Poker apps for iOS and AndroidPage for PlayNow Poker in the Apple App Store

Because the casino, live casino, sportsbook, and bingo parlor operate through the World Wide Web, there's no need for any dedicated mobile PlayNow apps for these products. Simply open up the browser on your smart device and go to the normal website. Once you enter your account credentials on the PlayNow login screen, you'll be able to enjoy these gambling entertainments just as you would on your desktop computer.

There are a few casino games that won't load on mobile, however, and they'll display an error message if you attempt to play them on your phone or tablet. For PlayNow, mobile-friendliness is very important, and so they're working to ensure that all games are eventually compatible with mobile platforms. For now, you'll have to play these few non-mobile titles on your computer instead.

PlayNow Conclusion

Summing everything up regarding this gambling site, we can conclude that PlayNow is a mixed bag. For a government-run site, its casino and sportsbook offerings are pretty solid although the spartan nature of the bingo hall and, ironically, the lottery portal leave a lot to be desired.

The PlayNow Poker platform is somewhere in the middle. It does have a respectable number of promotions, though it lacks a deposit bonus, and decent tournaments. However, the software is dated, and traffic levels – especially for non-Hold'em games – are lackluster.

Another thing to consider is that the site is only available to residents of three provinces, and they must be inside the physical borders of their province while playing. If you travel at all and wish to be able to indulge in some gaming while abroad, then you'll be sorely disappointed by PlayNow.

Overall, we conclude that PlayNow is a middle-of-the-road gambling site. It might have some value as a secondary online gaming destination, but we think you deserve better when searching for an online gambling home.

For instance, Bodog is a well-regarded internet casino and sportsbook that also hosts a poker room, which is leaps and bounds beyond what PlayNow has to offer. It accepts customers from all across Canada, apart from Quebec, which certainly beats PlayNow's geographic service area. You'll be able to claim bonuses for poker, casino, and sports betting too rather than having to pick and choose among them like at PlayNow.

To learn more about Bodog and its online gaming offerings, check out this detailed Bodog review. For info on other Canadian poker options, read through this guide to Canadian online poker.