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July 21, 2010

BCLC Laundry

The incompetence of the BC Lottery Corporation in its failed launch of an Internet casino combines the government's traits of deceit and moral bankruptcy. BCLC, the government's gambling agent, initially said that its site crashed due to its popularity; now it admits that it was shut down because gamblers were able to bet with other people's money - kind of like what Campbell does with your tax dollars. The Minister responsible, Rich Coleman, appears to be in hiding and not available for comment.

Numerous media outlets said that BCLC: "added casino games such as blackjack, roulette and craps to its PlayNow.com site." As one of the few who managed to explore the new site before it crashed, I can swear that it does not offer craps. That is not surprising since craps offer the best odds in a casino and the government's website is all about attracting losers.

At least as serious as the government's failed entry to Internet gambling is the concurrent announcement that BCLC is subject to over $670,000 in fines from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, FINTRAC. BCLC's CEO dismissed the fines for over 1,000 violations as due to technicalities and said his agency would appeal, but last year BCLC increased its weekly online gambling limit from $120 to $9,999, one dollar short of FINTRAC's $10,000 reporting limit. Its apparent attempt to evade FINTRAC with its Internet gambling limits makes its claims about technical errors suspect.

In defending criticism over FINTRAC's fine, BCLC's CEO Michael Graydon said that the gambling agency files up to 50,000 FINTRAC reports every year. Think what that means! A report only needs to be filed for transactions of $10,000 or more, so BCLC is admitting that it handles over a half a billion dollars a year in major transactions. Most folks don't cash out for $10,000 or more when they visit a casino. No wonder it is accused of laundering drug money, and no wonder it is suspect for setting its Internet gambling limit at $1 less than what is required for FINTRAC reports - not that they pay attention to FINTRACT's rules.

I naively thought that the BCLC Internet casino crashed because it offered over $15 million in enticements so as to increase gambling, but it turns out that it is more likely that it crashed due to incompetent privacy provisions. Don't worry; it won't be long before it is back up and busy laundering drug money.