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Canada's first online casino off to a rocky start

 The first legal online casino in Canada, ran by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is off to a rocky start. Last Thursday the casino's website was inaccessible, leaving thousands of potential customers disappointed.

 Launched last week as the first legal online casino in North America, the PlayNow online casino was far from the trouble-free start many were hoping for. Initially reports by the press quoted officials from the lottery that the online casino crashed due to high traffic to the gambling website, just a few hours after opening its virtual doors. "It's been an overwhelming success with people in British Columbia to the point where we hit 100 per cent capacity in the first day. So we decided to close the site down for a half a day, add some new hardware and servers to the system to be able to accommodate it. We're in the process of doing that. Our IT people are working very hard to get it up and running," Michael Graydon, the president of BCLC was quoted in the press.

 It turns out, however, that high traffic to the gambling site was not the reason the online casino remains shut down for the fifth day in a row. According to the latest report, a software glitch caused the accounts of 134 players to be left accessible by others, posing a security risk for both the online casino and the players whose accounts are vulnerable. According to BCLC, after logging in with their credentials, some customers of the gambling site were forwarded to accounts not belonging to them and dozens of the 134 accounts affected  had personal information viewed by someone else before the site was shut down to look for solution to the problem. According to a statement released by BCLC, no "hacking" was involved and the problem stems from a "data crossover".

 The problems with Canada's first government-ran online casino come in addition to the fines BCLC is facing for misleading reports on transactions of over $10,000 (CAD).  B.C. Lotteries Corporation was fined $670,000 by Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, the agency that tracks money laundering and terrorist financing, after it became evident following an audit, that the BCLC misled 1020 reports on transactions involving more than $10,000 in British Columbia casinos. Out of those 1020 reports, 419 were for late filing, 366 involved a clerical error and 227 were rejected because of insufficient player information.

 Published on 07/21/2010

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