B.C. Lottery Corp. stakes Roberto Luongo in Las Vegas poker tourney

Vancouver Canucks' goalie Roberto Luongo walks to the dressing room to talk to reporters and attend a team meeting …The B.C. Lottery Corp. is staking poker aficionado and noted puck-stopper Roberto Luongo to a seat in this Week's World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas, according to the Vancouver Sun.

That news comes as Luongo confirms he's not expecting to play next season for the NHL Vancouver Canucks, where he's been averaging about $6 million a year as the perennial Stanley Cup contender's starting goalie.

Trade speculation has swirled around Luongo ever since the Canucks signed backup Cory Schneider to a three-year deal worth $12 million after a stellar performance last season.

Interviewed on Vancouver radio station CFOX's morning show, Luongo said he was resigned to the fact it's time to move on after six years with the Canucks, TSN reported.

[ Related: Thousands expected for World Series of Poker main event ]

So why does a guy whose remaining contract is worth $47 million need a poker grubstake from the the Crown-owned B.C. Lottery Corp?

The corporation confirmed Thursday Luongo represents its PlayNow.com poker and casino games site at a number of gaming events, including the World Series of Poker main event, the Sun reported.

"Businesses commonly partner with celebrities or sports figures to help strengthen their brand image," senior public affairs officer Kim Steinhart said in a statement.

"Roberto Luongo is an well-known celebrity in our marketplace, and a natural fit for this type of a marketing approach.

"The partnership provides BCLC with an opportunity to build the PlayNow.com brand by providing our customers with an opportunity to interact in a meaningful way with a well-known sports celebrity. The money for Luongo's agreement is part of BCLC's annual marketing budget and has no impact on revenue that flows through to the province."

[ More Daily Brew: Canada will pay refugees up to $2,000 to go home ]

World Series of Poker spokesman Seth Palansky told the Sun the field for the main event, which begins Saturday, has not yet been finalized but confirmed Luongo is expected to play.

Luongo is an avid online poker player and hosts his own tourney each year at the River Rock Casino in suburban Richmond for PlayNow.com, the paper noted.

The world series' final table, a one-on-one showdown between the two top players, will be played in late October, as the NHL regular season gets rolling.

Luongo joked he'll be in Vegas in October if he makes it that far.

(Photo courtesy The Canadian Press)