VICTORIA, BC, Canada -- North America now has its first legal Internet casino. The casino was launched on an existing Canadian state lottery website called PlayNow.com, run by British Columbia Lottery Corp. in British Columbia.
The online casino offers slots, blackjack, poker and other typical gambling fun. Players must be 19 years old and weekly wagers less than $10,000 per player.
Canadian government officials said the Internet casino is expected to generate up to $40 million in taxes annually. Currently, BC citizens are believed to spend $100 million annually in offshore Internet casinos.
In related news, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in late June suspended plans to offer online lottery games to state residents, after lawmakers protested that they had not been consulted. Lottery leaders said they hope to gain approval from lawmakers and launch a website called PlayNowNH in a few weeks.
In Washington meanwhile, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing this week on a bill to legalize, regulate and tax online gambling nationwide. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the committee's chairman. Sources report that Rep. Frank intends to move the bill for debate on the full House floor and a possible vote this fall.