BUSINESS

Privacy commissioner gives BC Lottery Corporation a spanking

TAGs: BCLC, British Columbia, Canada, nba, playnow.com

In a seriously ‘well, duh’ waste of taxpayer funds, British Columbia’s Information & Privacy Commissioner has revealed that the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) didn’t do enough to protect players’ privacy when it launched its online gambling site PlayNow.com. Elizabeth Denham’s investigation concluded that BCLC has since identified and amended the source of the glitch that allowed PlayNow’s players to view each other’s financial info and prompted a shutdown of the site just hours after launching last July 15. All’s well that ends well, right?

privacy-commissioner-spanks-bclcEr, not quite. While those self-satisfied BCLC execs patted themselves on the head for getting something right on the second try, Denman’s other shoe hit the floor. “A second, broader investigation identified … inadequate user access controls and malicious code controls, unencrypted data transmission and gaps in BCLC’s privacy management framework.” As such, Denman made a number of recommendations, which she says BCLC accepted. (How gracious of them!) One of the recommendations? Create a schedule for destroying customers’ personal info. If you shut your eyes, you can almost see the BCLC bigwigs nodding their heads and saying… ‘You know, that’s a pretty good idea… Got any more?’

Sadder still is the confirmation that BCLC’s ineptitude is negatively affecting the entire industry. Between PlayNow’s problems and a cavalier attitude towards money laundering at its land-based casinos, public support for gambling in the province fell from 64% to 55% in just the past year. Yet despite all the bad press, PlayNow claims to have somehow registered 180k users. PlayNow was initially projected to generate a $30.4m net win in 2010, but only managed $26.6m. For 2011-12, BCLC is forecasting $58m, growing to $104.5m by 2013-14. Of course, these overly optimistic projections don’t factor in any fresh fiascos, such as a repeat of the free $100 baccarat bonus bungle. 180k x 100 = $18m less profit, guys…

On a somewhat related note, National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern told ESPN that Vancouver is among the cities inquiring about acquiring the New Orleans Hornets franchise. Vancouver’s last brush with the NBA was their sad-sack stewardship of the Grizzlies, who decamped for Memphis after just three years on the left coast. Poor economics was the standard excuse given for the team’s flight from Vancouver, but now we’re wondering if perhaps the team’s venue had a bad habit of accidentally displaying the Grizzlies’ playbook on the jumbotron for all those in attendance – including the other team – to see. Just a theory…

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