In June of this year, the British Colombia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) launched PlayNow. Changes to Canadian gambling laws made it possible for this state gambling group to offer internet casino games for the first time in history. Not only was PlayNow the first legally licensed internet casino in Canada, but it was the first fully legal online gambling site in North America.
The excitement didn’t last long. Less than 24 hours after the site went online, however, it shut down. At the time, BCLC told media that the site was crushed by overwhelming love from Canadian gamblers. Later, this was revealed to be a lie.
The real reason the site went down was that player accounts were crossing over, letting users gamble away someone else’s money. A total of 134 user accounts were compromised by the glitch.
In late August, after 33 days of downtime and an estimated loss of $5 million, the problem was fixed and the site went back online. Now, another glitch is threatening the site.
It revolves around a promotional bonus the site is offering. Players who deposit $100 or more before October 5 and wager it on a casino game get a $100 token. Some players, however, have figured out how to play a tricky hand of baccarat to instantly double their money and cash out $97.50 (after the $2.50 commission). Word spread like crazy, and players flocked to the site to get their free money.
BCLC claims that it is a promotional drive to attract more clients, and insists it is not a software glitch. The reason it works is that while most online casinos require player to wager bonus money multiple times, PlayNow only requires players to bet it once, letting them take their winnings and run. BCLC doesn’t seem to mind, claiming that less than one percent of players who took the bonus closed their accounts after cashing out.
While BCLC might be losing money on the promotion, they are certainly gaining publicity. The group intends to expand their services in the future, and hope to become the first to offer an online poker site in Canada.