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First Canadian Online Gambling Site LaunchedPublished July 21, 2010 by OCR Editor
Launch of British Columbian site so popular that server crashes.
The Canadian province of British Columbia launched its state-sanctioned online casino on Thursday, the first in all of North America.
And the launch proved so popular that the site, which is run by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, experienced a server crash soon after it began operating that temporarily brought down the site and also caused difficulties on the front page.
Although an exact traffic count at Playnow.com is still unknown, Canadian gambling websites have reported that it already reached the tens of thousands by the first weekend of operation.
The site was built to combat the trend of illegal offshore gambling, which the province's Housing and Social Developing Minister Rich Coleman said is worth $100 million a year.
Coleman also said that there are around 2,000 unregulated online gambling sites, of which "not one is accountable to the residents of British Columbia, not accountable to the players that play on their sites and not accountable to the laws of this country."
He made the comments during the launch of the website, which will include blackjack, craps and baccarat and will raise an estimated US$40 million in annual revenues.
The provincial government has also put in place several measures to encourage responsible gambling, including deposit limits that players can set for themselves.