Gambling is all about playing the odds.

So let's see:

If the B.C. Lottery Corporation has eight licence plate readers deployed among its 17 casinos provincewide, the odds of a previously identified problem gambler driving his or her vehicle into one of the BCLC parking lots undetected must be less than 2-to-1.

It's still a chance, but in the last year, 1,200 problem gamblers have tried and failed to beat the odds.

These are gamblers who have enrolled themselves in the lottery corporation's voluntary self exclusion program — giving casinos the right to refuse them admittance as their gambling addiction has caused problems in their lives.

"We started with two licence plate recognition systems a year ago and now we've got eight," said lottery corporation spokesman Seumas Gordon of the licence plate readers, similar to ones used by police and border guards.

"People in the program provide their licence plate number and it's stored in a database. When a person drives into a facility, the system reads their vehicle's licence plate and if it's in the databank then security is notified," said Gordon.

"It's pretty instantaneous. Most of the time people are stopped in the parking lot," he said.

People registered in the program also provide a picture of themselves and a description, he said.

However, the lottery corporation isn't giving out where the readers are operating, said Gordon.

"We won't disclose how the readers are deployed or in which facility," he said.

As for the system being expanded to all casinos, Gordon couldn't say if or when that would happen.

"Eight systems is where we are at right now."

The system also photographs licence plates, but only stores the data for seven days.

"That's consistent with the surveillance video retention in all gaming facilities," said Gordon.

He said the system is only used to detect licence plates of people in the exclusion program or others in the security database.

"We have no access to any other licence plate data system," he said.