The Fragile Relationship between Live and Online Casinos

The palpable link between Canada casinos online and on land.

Does any Palpable Link Exist Between Canada Casinos Online and On Land?

In Canada, there are essentially three types of casinos for adult-aged residents to enjoy. First and most obvious are the land-based casinos that dot the map from Vancouver, BC to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Next up are provincially run and regulated online casinos, like Ontario’s PlayOLG, and Quebec’s Espacejeux. Last are internationally regulated online casinos – operations that have no connection to Canada aside from accepting players from this region of the world.

There are clear and perceptible differences between the online and on-land versions. At terrestrial gaming establishments, players must travel to get there, and play physical gaming machines or table games when they do. Internet-based casinos can be played anytime, from anywhere, via desktop or mobile.

While most casino enthusiasts understand these obvious differences, there are other, less perceptible links between them that are harder to distinguish. The most common question I hear is this…

Is there any relationship between Canada casinos online and on land?

There’s a common misconception that live and online gambling operations are two sides of the same coin. This type of direct-link relationship does exist between certain operations in some parts of the world, where an online casino website is an internet-based reflection of the land-based operator that runs it. But not in Canada.

In certain US states like New Jersey, an online casino cannot exist without the direct backing of a land-based operator. Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino resort, for instance, is the proud parent of New Jersey’s online casino of the same name (GoldenNugget.com). At the same time, New Jersey residents are not permitted to gamble online at any site that is not licensed and regulated – and directly linked to a land-based casino – within the state.

This is not necessarily the case in Canada, though. Each province has the right to authorize land-based and/or online casino gambling, and thus far, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have chosen to compliment their land-based gambling establishments with an internet gambling market. However, it’s not the land-based casinos that operate them. It is the local gaming regulator within each province that’s responsible for it.

In this way, provincially run iGaming sites are linked to land-based casinos, but only by the thin thread of equality in regulatory oversight.

There is no link whatsoever to overseas online casinos.

As for offshore gambling websites, they have no connection to any land-based casino or jurisdiction within Canada. They are not regulated by any Canadian authority, but at the same time, are not expressly legal or illegal. It’s kind of a ‘play at your own risk‘ type of situation. Many Canadians do take that risk – particularly those who are educated in the ways of offshore iGaming.

Our government loves to condemn the lack of regulation at international gaming sites, but that’s not exactly true. They are not regulated in Canada, but most of them are regulated elsewhere – some in far more respected iGaming jurisdictions than Canada has to offer.

The UK, for example, is the world’s strictest regulator of online gambling. Player protection is of utmost importance, and compliance with the law is mandatory. The UK Gambling Commission accepts no excuses for violating the law, dropping an expensive hammer on any operator that fails to comply. Suffice it to say, if an online casino holds a current UK license and accepts Canadians, it’s already undergone extensive audits and fairness certification.

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