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Online Lottery for Atlantic Canadians Almost Ready For Launch

29 July 2004

In early August the Atlantic Lottery Corporation plans to launch PlaySphere, a website that will allow Atlantic Canadians of legal age to purchase via the Internet tickets for already existing lottery games. The company says it has devoted more than five years of research and development to create the site, and it will implement appropriate and effective solutions to disarm the public's fears that the new online gaming opportunities will lead to gambling addiction and gambling by minors.

The Atlantic Lottery's target demographic for the Internet products is consumers who already spend a lot of time online and who do a lot of shopping and banking online as a matter of convenience. According to Lara Bridge, the company's marketing manager, "Because this is a very specific type of person who wants to do this, we don't expect the impact to be very great."

Soon to be accessible at www.alc.ca, the PlaySphere network will service residents of the four provinces which comprise Atlantic Canada— Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The legal gambling age in Prince Edward Island is 18, but it is 19 in the other three provinces.

To ensure that people purchasing tickets meet those age requirements, the Atlantic Lottery has put several age verification mechanisms into place, including password protection and third party verification through TransUnion.

In addition, the lottery will not allow players to pay with a credit card, thereby eliminating one method by which minors could potentially bypass age verification systems (according to a recent report by NCH in Britain).

Instead, registered players will be able to transfer funds directly from their banking accounts to their PlaySphere accounts. Alternatively, players may purchase WebCash vouchers at any retail outlet that sells Atlantic Lottery's products. Players can then deposit funds into their accounts by submitting the voucher's unique code to the PlaySphere website. Players who are lucky enough to win will be notified by e-mail and can opt to have payouts of up to $1,000 deposited automatically into their accounts.

To ensure that none of their consumers abuse the gambling products, Atlantic Lottery will institute a maximum account balance of $1,000. There will also be a weekly spending limit of $99, and players will be able to set their own limit at as low as $1 per week. Players will even be able to ban themselves from the site if they deem it necessary for as little a time as one day and for as long as one year. Atlantic Lottery's spokesperson Cynthia Goodwin explains, "We're encouraging people to decide for themselves what the best limit is. That helps promote personal responsibility and responsible play."

At launch time, which should be in about two weeks, the company will begin selling lottery tickets online for seven of its already existing products—Lotto 6/49, Atlantic 49, Lotto Super 7, TAG, Atlantic PAYDAY, PRO-LINE, and OVER/UNDER. Goodwin told the Canadian Press that the company has no plans to roll out online casino games or other forms of gambling on the site.

The company's public affair's specialist, Darlene Doucet, said, "We are launching with these games to see what the reaction is, and of course what we will do is if in the future there are games within our existing network that might apply to this, then we'll take a look at it. But right now we really want to give time for this to take root and see what the reaction is from consumers.

The Atlantic Lottery, which began operating in 1976, reported gross ticket sales of $587 million in the 2003-2004 financial year, which translated into net ticket sales of $256 million. Gross profit for the year was $556 million while net profit was $401 million.

The company made industry news in April when its president Michelle Carinci told the Canadian Press that its eClub Rewards site was gathering information about potential gamblers so that it could quickly and easily open the market if it were to launch an online lottery. At that time eClub Rewards, which lets users play games like air hockey and rock paper scissors (against a chimp) in exchange for personal information, had logged 24,000 Atlantic Canadians.

Online Lottery for Atlantic Canadians Almost Ready For Launch is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com