VANOC to raise $20 million through lottery 

KidSport, coaching program among beneficiaries

As of last week, lucky lottery players can win cash, prizes, and a chance to win tickets to events at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. And unlucky lottery players can at least console themselves with the fact that the money has gone to a good cause.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) and B.C. Lottery Corporation announced the creation of a SportsFunder series of lottery games, which are expected to generate approximately $20 million for high performance sports in B.C. through 2012.

There are three major SportsFunder lotteries available:

• SportsFunder 50/50 – This province-wide game will be available throughout B.C. in a similar way to Keno, with draws every half hour broadcast to lottery ticket centres, bars and pubs. The winner will receive half the money raised, and the rest will go to SportsFunder programs. The cost of each ticket is $1.

• SportsFunder Pull Tab Ticket – Tickets will be available for $1 through the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s hospitality network, which includes clubs and bars across the province. People who play can win cash prizes of $1, $5, $20, $50, $100 and $250.

• SportsFunder Interactives – An online version of instant win games, providing players the opportunity to win up to $20,100. Players must have a PlayNow account to play Road to Vancouver, Going for Gold and Sea to Sky.

• SportsFunder Instant Win – Still in development. Games will be like the Interactive Games, but will be introduced everywhere that carries scratch and win tickets.

There are four major programs benefiting from the money raised from SportsFunder games: KidSport, Game Plan/Team B.C., coaching development and regional travel assistance.

KidSport is managed by Sport B.C. and provides sport registration grants to 2,000 disadvantaged children each year to help them get involved with sports. The Whistler KidSport program also helps with equipment costs.

Game Plan/Team B.C. is a program launched by B.C.’s sport community to improve the performance of provincial athletes who want to represent Canada at the Olympics, Paralympics and other elite sporting competition. The program provides funding to high performance coaches, sport technology development and equipment.

The coaching development program provides financial assistance for those wishing to attend coach training programs, and is available to all coaches affiliated with Team B.C., the Canada Games and the North American Indigenous Games.

The regional travel assistance fund will help subsidize athlete and team travel costs and access to training facilities, and is primarily intended to help those who are geographically remote and have higher travel costs.

"Amateur sports are an important part of many people’s lives and these lottery games reflect our commitment to strengthening B.C. communities," said Vic Poleschuk, the president and CEO of the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

According to VANOC CEO John Furlong, "The SportFunder initiative provides a unique way for British Columbians to share in the spirit of the Games while supporting the dreams of amateur athletes. As a recognized corporate leader in our province, BCLC will help to insure that we achieve our goal to inspire greatness."

The lottery will be administered by the provincial government through the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and the Arts.

According to the ministry, the lottery funds will supplement current programs and are not intended to replace any funding to other sport programs.

In exchange for running the SportFunder games, the BLCL will have sponsorship rights for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as well as the Canadian Olympic Team for Torino in 2006, Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012, after which point SportFunder is set to expire. It can be renewed after that point, depending on the level of interest.

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