Where British Columbia's Internet Gaming Plan Went Wrong

As the first official regulated online gambling platform in North America, last year’s launch by the B.C. Lottery Corp (BCLC) of its new PlayNow.com was a big story in the online gambling industry last year.

And it was an even bigger story when the system crashed within hours of launching. And as the days and weeks passed, it looked like a serious security glitch had occurred.

So what happened?

“Lottery Corp. did not take adequate steps to protect gamblers’ privacy when it launched its PlayNow.com online gambling site last summer, according to an investigation by B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham,” writes Chad Skelton in the Vancouver Sun.

So what’s the lesson here? Should governments leave online gambling to the private sector? If so, this is an ideal time to ponder that lesson, as governments in the U.S. and EU struggle with the same question of how to regulate online gambling, and what control the government should have.

Even though the BCLC “has since taken steps to address the problem and the site now adequately protects users’ privacy,” the company “acknowledged PlayNow experienced 134 ‘data crossovers,’ some of which allowed customers to see the personal details of other players, such as bank and creditcard information.”

Denham has recently released a press release outlining the results of her investigation into the matter; get more details at the Vancouver Sun article.