North America’s first government-run online casino went live in British Columbia. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) launched the PlayNow.com website on behalf of the government. This is provided by UK gaming software provider Openbet. This means that those who reside in British Columbia would be able to legally play craps, blackjack, and roulette. Already, there are near 140,000 residents registered.
The purpose of this legalization is to help curb the British Columbia government’s budget deficit, which is expected to climb near $1.7 million Canadian. The funds will be used to assist education and health care. As it stands now, monies that are being gambled on offshore sites by Canadians, which is about $100 million Canadian annually is completely useless money to Canada. Rather than sitting back and allowing this much needed revenue to stay in someone elses hands, Canadian officials decided that their citizens could benefit from this.
The option was then to establish and online gaming option that meets the standards and is accountable to British Columbians. This was the only way that Canadians could maintain the integrity as well as the security of any such sites. The Canadian government refuses to settle for anything less than a compliant, regulated and well managed gaming environment. The result is that British Columbia will launch a GTech G2-powered poker that shares a platform with Loto-Québec and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. While this gaming is currently restricted to British Columbian residents it is expected that other Canadian jurisdictions will soon follow. As a matter of fact, there are some US states that have been looking over these very same options and are considering legalizing intrastate egaming as allowed under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006. These states would initially include California, Florida and New Jersey. It would be expected that other US states would also follow suit soon after.