The B.C. Lottery Corporation is blaming a massive surge of web traffic for crashing its gambling website yesterday.

The site added blackjack, roulette, and craps to its games roster on Thursday, making B.C. the first jurisdiction in North America to offer legal casino gambling online.

The site lasted less than a day, however, before shutting down. It remained offline as of 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

"We had a tremendous response, and quite frankly it overwhelmed the capacity we had expected," Kevin Gass, vice president of corporate affairs for BCLC, told CTV News.

Gass said the company closed the site voluntarily after problems, such as slow load times and unresponsiveness, began to arise.

"We have load-bearing servers that simply were not handling the job properly, and on that basis we made the decision," he said. The company hopes to have the site back up and running by Tuesday.

B.C. Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman said the decision to offer legal casino games online was made to hold on to the $100 million B.C. residents spend gambling online every year.

There are currently 2,000 unregulated websites available in B.C., he said.

The BCLC says the website also offers safeguards to protect problem gamblers, including a clock that shows how long players have been online, and a player-set deposit limit.

Critics argue that online gambling targets young people with poor impulse control, and is too easily accessible.