So British Columbia’s oft-delayed, problem-plagued, punter-betrayed online gambling site PlayNow.com is back up and running (for the moment). Now that it’s actually been functioning for a longer period than it takes time to blink, I have to say it doesn’t look half bad. But that’s not really all that much of a surprise, given that there are a number of former Bodog employees working on the webdev and operations side of PlayNow. (If there were Bodog employees working in PlayNow’s IT dept., these troubling tech glitches wouldn’t have happened.) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so when I see BCLC trying their best to ape the site on which I made my bones, I feel very gratified indeed – as I do when I view any of the numerous other gaming sites that have copied Bodog’s look over the years.
While I applaud BCLC’s good taste in choosing to mimic only the best, I howled out loud at their spokesman’s claim that the provincial gaming body was missing out on $150K/day revenue during the site’s month-plus outage, making a total of $5M lost during this period. Like much of what’s emerged from the mouths of BCLC’s apologists, this beggars belief. It’s as if BCLC took the national estimates for online gaming revenue, then divided it by BC’s percentage of the country’s total population – because, naturally, every single BC resident who ever gambled online will immediately abandon their favorite site and migrate directly over to PlayNow.
Never mind that BCLC’s stumbles have caused a high percentage of players to view the provincial offering as an unknown quantity and an unnecessary risk. Never mind that the international companies that still offer services to BC residents are very good at adapting to change and thus aren’t going anywhere. Never mind that the theory that state-run businesses could outperform private enterprise supposedly died two decades ago with the demise of the Soviet Union.
Lest it seem that I’m unduly twisting the knife here, I would like to give BCLC credit for getting on board with what I have been reiterating for the past 15 years – namely, that online gaming is just another form of digital entertainment. But part of what makes it entertainment is that people can concentrate on kicking up their heels without constantly worrying that the dance floor underneath their feet could give way at any moment. PlayNow has a long way to go before they’ll erase that thought from punters’ minds, and until that time, any suggestions that they’ll be pulling in $150K/day in revenues belong where PlayNow has been for the past month – out to lunch. Read more.