B.C. is now the first lottery jurisdiction in North America to offer online casino gambling in addition to their usual lotteries and sports betting. The users of PlayNow.com, the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s website, can now play casino games like roulette and blackjack, while an online poker room is expected to be available in the upcoming months.
One of the main reasons why the British Columbia lottery corporation chose to go this route is because Rich Coleman, the Housing and Social Development Minister in B.C said that local residents spend about $100 million annually in regards to online gambling and he wants to see that money stay here in the province and boost the local economy. Coleman goes on to say that the profits from this new online gaming site will be used to fund health care, infrastructure and better education within the province.
Now, with any endeavour like this, user safety is always a concern. The B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has put a number of different features to ensure the safety of the site and to protect those that are classified as potential gamblers. These include such things like a pre-set deposit limit, a clock that shows how long a player has been online and that anyone that has already registered in the self-exclusion program at local casinos will be banned from the website.
With poker scams such as the Ultimate Bet situation from a few years back still fresh in players minds, safety will be a huge concern for a site like this because there are concerns that the BCLC will not have the same time of approach to the poker room in regards to software upgrades and protection from viewing hole cards and hacking accounts.
However, it does provide another option for Canadian poker players to play the game and know that they are likely playing with other locals as well. The ability to chat and befriend other local players will become a positive overall because it will enable players to meet up and discuss the game either continually through online communication or face-to-face in casinos across the province. If the BCLC puts the time and care into this project that they could, having an exclusive Canadian poker room may benefit Canadian poker players as a whole.