The British Columbia Lottery Corporation launched its long-awaited online casino, becoming the first ever state-sanctioned online casino in North America.
The long-awaited launch proved so popular that the site, Playnow.com, experienced server temporary server problems that brought it crashing down and also caused difficulties on the front page.
Although the traffic count is yet to be reported, reports have it somewhere in the tens of thousands from the first few days of operation.
The site was built to combat the trend of illegal offshore gambling, which BC Housing and Social Developing Minister Rich Coleman said is worth $100 million a year.
Speaking at the launch of the website, 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."
Playnow.com will include blackjack, craps and baccarat and will raise an estimated US$40 million in annual revenues. Poker is expected to be added next year.
The provincial government has also put in place several measures to encourage responsible gambling, including deposit limits that players can set for themselves.