Aug 31

Live sports betting now available at these authorized websites.

Live Sports Betting Now Available in Canada at These Authorized Websites

The wait is finally over. Locally authorized single-game and live betting on sports is not just a dream anymore. It’s not a piece of legislation moving through Parliament. It’s real, and its here, and its available right now at most provincial iGaming websites.

We’ll tell you which Canadian online sportsbooks are offering the newly regulated form of sports betting, and which types of wagers they’re offering. We’ll also offer some alternative options for those of you residing in a province or territory where legal live betting and single-game wagers are not (yet) available.

Single & Live Sports Betting in Canada

Let’s cut right to the chase. The following is an alphabetical chart that details which provinces and territories offer which types of online sports betting, if any. Note that live betting and single-game betting are Canada’s newly authorized ways to bet on sports. Parlay wagers refer to the old, multi-pick style of betting that’s been around for decades.

Continue below the chart to learn more about the individual sports gambling opportunities in each location.

LocationLive BettingSingle-GameParlay Bets
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland & Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Nunavut
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon

Please note that the information in the above chart is current as of writing (Aug 31, 2021). Some locations were not able to launch an expanded sports betting platform on opening day (August 27, 2021). Alberta, for example, has made clear its intentions to launch single-game and live betting options in the fall.

Alberta

All gambling activities are regulated by Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), which operates the online gambling portal, PlayAlberta.ca. The website is not yet equipped with any form of sports betting. However, the regulators stated in early August that a full sports betting regiment would come to the website sometime this fall.

British Columbia

The British Columbia Gaming Corp (BCLC) is responsible for all gaming in the province. BCLC operates the online gambling portal, PlayNow.com. Through this website, sports fans can participate in all major forms of sports betting, including single-game bets, live bets and classic parlays. The website is also available to legal-age residents of Manitoba.

Manitoba

The Manitoba Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority (LGCA) signed an agreement with BCLC years ago to share use of its website, PlayNow.com. The shared player contract gives Manitobans access to the same single-game, live, and parlay betting options as BC residents.

New Brunswick

Part of Atlantic Canada, all gaming in New Brunswick is regulated by the Atlantic Lottery Corp (ALC). Through its website, ALC.ca, sports bettors can access everything from parlays, props, and futures, to single-game and fantasy betting. However, there is no live betting available at this time.

This information also applies to the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.

Newfoundland & Labrador

See New Brunswick.

Northwest Territories

None. While the Northwest Territories offers retail lottery and Sports Select wagering through the Western Canada Lottery Corp (WCLC), there is no option to bet online. According to the WCLC, its Sports Select platform will soon include single-game betting, but again, it appears it’s going to be retail (in-person) only.

The exact same information applies to the territories of Nunavut and Yukon.

Nova Scotia

None. Although Nova Scotia is a part of Atlantic Canada, the province does not authorize access to the region’s ALC.ca online gambling portal. All sports betting must be done in person through a retail outlet.

Nunavut

See Northwest Territories.

Ontario

All gambling activities are regulated by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp (OLG), which offers internet gambling options through its website, PlayOLG.ca. Last week, the Crown Corporation launched what it calls “Pro-Line+”, a new version of the original parlay-only Pro-Line platform that now offers single-game betting, as well as live betting.

Prince Edward Island

See New Brunswick.

Quebec

Loto-Quebec, regulator of all gaming activities in the province, dove head-first into the expansion of sports betting laws with the launch of in-store, online and mobile “mise-o-jeu”. You can participate in classic parlays, singles and live wagering, with a convenient mise-o-jeu mobile app for betting on the go. If you prefer to place your bets in person, you can fill out a slip on your mobile device, generating a barcode that you can scan in-store.

Saskatchewan

None. Saskatchewan has yet to prescribe to the online gambling industry. All gaming activities, including sports betting, must be conducted in person at a casino or authorized ticket retail location.

Yukon

See Northwest Territories.

Betting on Sports Outside Canada’s Regulatory Border

While other sportsbooks like theScore Bet and PointsBet are working diligently to get licensed and operational here in Canada, none have done so yet. If your home province or territory does not offer the type of online sports betting you’re looking for, you still have options.

Online gambling with offshore, internationally regulated websites is not illegal. They just aren’t regulated by any Canadian authority. So long as you’re access highly reputable, responsibly regulated sportsbooks, you have nothing to worry about.

The key to enjoying a safe and secure experience in single and live sports betting with overseas websites is to do your homework. First and foremost, identify the regulatory authority. The most reputable are the European jurisdictions of Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Malta and the UK. Anything licensed in Central America (Costa Rica, Curacao, Panama, etc.) may be circumspect.

Reputation also goes a very long way. Look for a website that has been up and running for at least a few years. Check out watchdog websites like Casinomeister to confirm there are no ongoing reports of customer abuse or payment issues. All it takes is a few minutes of your time to ensure you’re signing up and depositing with a reliable sportsbook.

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Aug 16

Sports betting wins Canada access to billion-dollar industry.

New Legal Sports Betting Wins Canada Access to Billion-Dollar Industry

In just eleven days, single-event betting on sports will become legal in Canada. It is to represent the beginning of a new era in Canadian gambling laws, and the closure of a decades-old requirement that all sports wagers be placed on multiple results (i.e. parlays).

The future of gambling ushers in on Friday, August 27, 2021, more than 40 days after the federal government passed Bill C-218; the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act.

Canadians Can Bet on Sports Games Aug 27, 2021

The announcement came down the wire last week from Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, David Lametti. He made quite the show of it, too. Where better to announce such a momentous occasion than the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario? And by the sound of it, he may be among the first to do so come next Friday.

“Provinces and territories will be able to offer single event sport betting products, like wagering on the Grey Cup, game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, or the Super Bowl,” Lametti declared with seemingly ardent anticipation.

With a date set, the role of the Canadian government in legalizing single-event sports wagers has come to an end. It’s now up to the provinces and territories, noted in Lametti’s speech, to authorize and regulate such activities. Most have already set that legislative ship in motion in anticipation of this day.

New Legal Sports Betting Wins Canada Access to Billion-Dollar Industry

No doubt casinos and mobile sports betting operators spent a long weekend celebrating Thursday’s official proclamation. They’ve been eagerly awaiting this transition for a very long time.

Over the next five years, Canada’s gambling industry is expecting to handle near $28 billion in betting action. That’s good news for the provinces and territories that will be hosting these operations, too. They will, for the first time, generate revenue from single-sport betting in Canada. Up until now, those billions have been flowing into offshore online sportsbooks, failing to provide any benefit to local communities back home.

“These changes to the Criminal Code will allow provinces and territories to use revenues to fund programming, such as health care or education, as they do with other lottery revenues,” said Lametti.

This argument was perhaps the most convincing catalyst for change. Politicians who were formally opposed to any expansion of gambling found it hard to dispute the loss of so much revenue to international operators, holding no responsibility to the overseas markets they access.

Aug 27 it’s Legal, with Actual Launch Dates to Come

The real question is, when will Canadians actually be able to place those wagers? August 27 is the date it will become legal. That doesn’t necessarily mean provincial regulators will be ready that day. But a few surely will.

It’s safe to assume British Columbia and Ontario will be first to market. Gaming regulators with the BC Lottery Corp (BCLC) and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) both said Thursday they have products ready to launch. Ontario’s government has confirmed that its policies are designed to create a competitive marketplace for private sportsbook operators.

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Jan 11

How Canada banks can promote safe online gambling tools.

New Horizons 2021: Banks Promote Safe Online Gambling Tools

The British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC) is one of the world’s most respected gaming regulators where problem gambling prevention is concerned. The regulator is the proprietor of the award-winning GameSense program, “supporting healthy play” among the provinces recreational gamblers for nearly ten years now. GameSense has been so highly commended over the years, it was integrated into Manitoba Gaming Control Commission’s extension of the BCLC PlayNow.com website in 2013, was adopted by both the Alberta Gaming & Lottery Commission and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in 2015, and became the model for a multitude of other US state lottery organizers thereafter.

BCLC has hosted the New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference each year since 2013. One of the main topics is social responsibility, and the mission to ensure GameSense remains ahead of the game in Canada’s battle to extinguish gambling addiction. On the agenda for New Horizons 2021 is an exploration of ways banks can assist in that goal.

Canada Banks to Promote Safe Online Gambling Tools

One of the primary features of GameSense is its use as a voluntary self-exclusion tool. Gamblers who are aware of compulsory behavior are able to sign up for self-exclusion through the GameSense website, thereby giving land-based and online gambling operations permission to prohibit them from accessing games or placing wagers.

During a New Horizons pre-conference discussion last week, attendants heard how banks could be offering a similar service to their members.

Canadian Banks Could Promote Gaming Self-Exclusion

Natalie Ledward is the vulnerability manager at London-based Monzo Bank Ltd. She led a discussion at a BCLC-hosted webinar entitled, Banking on a Different Perspective: The Financial Industry’s Role in Safer Gambling; one of two pre-conferences leading up to New Horizons 2021.

Ms. Ledward told attendants of a collection of digital tools and support resources Monzo Bank provides its customers, each aimed at tackling the harmful impact gambling can have on individuals. The idea is to promote a safer gambling experience, in which the player has more awareness and control over their habits; all very similar to what GameSense provides to so many customers of Canada’s live and online casinos.

In 2018, Monzo Bank introduced a voluntary self-exclusion program for its members. Those who chose to use it would have their account blocked from making any gambling-related purchases. Banks already have the technology to do this, using specific merchant codes provided by major credit card companies to categorize different types of purchases.

“Banks play a huge role in identifying people’s spending habits,” said Ms. Ledward. “They have the opportunity to be the first to find out about their customers’ gambling behaviours and can begin to offer those customers help.”

Will Banks Succeed Where Casinos Have Failed?

It’s no secret that problem gamblers have continued to gain access to gambling products, even after signing up for voluntary self-exclusion; especially where land-based casinos are concerned. Even in British Columbia – the birthplace of GameSense – casinos are notorious for “accidentally” letting an excluded gambler onto the casino floor. The problem is obvious. Casinos make too much money off problem gamblers.

Banks have no vested interested in an account holder’s continued wagering. Quite the opposite, in fact. They would much prefer their members stick to healthy investments. Providing safe online gambling tools is just another way they can help their members make smarter decisions.

“Banks show a great degree of pro-activity already,” said Simon McNair, a session panelist and policy advisor for London’s Behavioural Insight Team. “Controlling gambling behaviour, especially more problematic behaviour, is absolutely in-part a money-management issue. Helping customers to that end will have numerous benefits – from helping people to keep their accounts in good standing, preventing people falling into debt, or to helping them to pay down debt.”

A second pre-conference leading up to the 2021 New Horizons is scheduled for January 27.

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Feb 10

A Question for the Modern Ages: Is Gambling Legal in Canada?

Question for the Modern Ages – Is Gambling Legal in Canada?

A simple question such as this deserves an equally simple answer. In today’s modern age, there are many different types of gambling. It would be easy to convolute the problem with legal jargon and complicated interpretations of the law, but I promise you, I won’t do that.

As an avid enthusiast of online gambling, I’ve spent more than enough time researching the Canadian Criminal Code to understand its meaning. Fortunately for you, as a career journalist in the field, I’d like to think I can translate it in a manner that is as easy as possible to understand.

Q&A: Is Gambling Legal in Canada?

The short answer is, Yes!, gambling is legal here in Canada. However, that is a vague question. There are many different types of gambling. I have no idea whether you’re referring to casino gambling, poker games, bingo, sports betting, horse racing, lotteries, raffles, etc.

Most of these are legal in some capacity, with restrictions. In the following sections, we’ll discuss each type of gambling, and just how legal it is.

Note that all of these laws extend into the online gambling realm, at least to some extent. To be thorough, I’ll give you a brief summary of online gambling laws to start.

Legality of Online Gambling in Canada

Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada

Online gambling is legal in Canada. Internet gambling sites come in two varieties – Provincialand International. Either way, both are legal.

Provincial online casinos are only available in B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and only accept player’s who reside within their respective borders. International online casinos are located offshore, regulated by their own jurisdictions.

So long as an offshore operator does not have a physical presence in Canada (offices or servers on Canadian soil), they are not illegal.

Casino Gambling Laws

Casino games are legal in Canada, so long as they are conducted in a licensed gaming facility, or with a provincial charity-gaming permit. There are more than 100 commercial casinos in the country, from Quebec’s Casino de Montreal, to British Columbia’s Hard Rock Vancouver. We also have tribal casinos, like the Bear Claw Casino in Carlyle, Saskatchewan.

Charities are able to host “casino night” events, where table games like roulette and blackjack can be legally held, so long as the right permits are obtained from their provincial government.

As for online casino gambling, there are hundreds of legal, reputably licensed operators in Europe that accept Canadian players.

Poker Gambling

Poker-based card games are also legal in Canada. A commercial casino, poker room or charity may host poker games, and collect a “rake” (profit) for doing so, as long as they have the correct license or permit. Home poker games are legal, as well, but no rake (profit) can be taken by the host / home owner.

Online poker is also legal, either through provincially or internationally regulated websites.

Bingo Halls / Charity Bingo

Bingo games are among the most popular forms of game-based fund raising in the country. Again, with proper permits, bingo games are perfectly legal. Some Canadian casinos, especially the tribal variety, are famous for hosting organized bingo games.

Online bingo – same as casino and poker – can be done at provincial or international gambling sites.

Sports Betting in Canada

Canadian sports betting laws in 2020 are a topic of great import. As the law stands now, only provincially-run, parlay-style betting is permitted. It is conducted much like a provincial lottery. In fact, some provinces actually call it the Sports Lottery; others call it Pro-Line. In parlay wagering, bettors must select a number of correct picks from various sporting events, and they must all be correct to win anything. The payout is high, but the odds are higher.

It is for this reason that so many Canadian sports bettors are turning to offshore, online sportsbook operators – remember, these are not illegal in Canada – to place single-event bets. There’s a strong push in the federal government to pass a single-event sports betting law, but until that happens – of ever it does – most sports wagering dollars are flowing offshore.

Horse Race Betting

Horse racing is the oldest form of organized, legal betting in Canada. There are tracks all over the map, from B.C. to Nova Scotia. You can place bets at these tracks, at offsite betting locations across the country, or via online racebooks.

Lotteries & Raffles

The second oldest form of legal gambling are the national and provincial lottery games. The first drawings were held in 1973 to help raise money to pay for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. It was a huge success, raising $230 million from 1973-76. Lotteries have been helping to fund government budgets ever since.

Online lotteries are legal in Canada, too. Most of our provinces sell online lottery tickets to drawings, as well as the scratch off variety. Tickets for international lotteries can be purchased from offshore websites.

Raffles are most often held as charitable events; legal with appropriate permits.

Conclusion & Brief Word on Internet Gambling

By now, you should have more than enough information to answer the question; Is gambling legal in Canada? However, before I wrap this up, I have to issue a brief warning about gambling over the internet.

If you do not live in a province where online gambling is locally regulated – or if you choose to gamble at internationally regulated websites – please do so with caution. Not all offshore operators are reputable. Stick to websites that are licensed in major European iGaming jurisdictions, like Isle of Man, Malta or The UK. They are held to the strictest standards, and are considered the absolute safest, most secure operators in the world.

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Jan 13

Genesis Slots – Immersive games that go beyond status quo.

Genesis Slots – Immersive Games that Go Beyond Status Quo

I’ve talked about a lot of big-brand online slots creators over the years. Anyone who gambles online knows of Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech. These are the leaders in the market, developing the largest portfolios with the most famous titles on the market. But there are other companies out there that deserve recognition.

One such company is Genesis Gaming. Please do not confuse Genesis Gaming with Genesis Gaming Solutions, as so many do. Genesis Gaming Solutions (www.genesisgaming.com) is a physical table games manufacturer with offices in Spring, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada. Genesis Gaming (www.genesis-games.com) is a software company specializing in some of the industry’s most immersive online slot machines. It is headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, with additional offices in Las Vegas, Nevada and Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

What’s So Great about Genesis Slots?

Since 2008, Genesis has been developing creative games for the online casino community. In all those years, their primary goal has been to develop outside the box. They aren’t looking to copy the most popular themes or features. They aren’t trying to mimic their rivals by drawing the same customers with the mirrored content. They’re goal is to go “beyond status quo”; to build something more unique, more interesting, and more rewarding for players.

By more rewarding, I don’t meant more people win on their games. Slot machines cannot possibly pay at or above 100% RTP. What casino would employ them? No, Genesis online slots pay an RTP on par with the industry standard. But games can be more rewarding in other ways. In particular, these are known for being wildly entertaining.

Take, for instance, one of Genesis Games’ fan-favorites, the Machine Gun Unicorn Slot. Now that’s a wild game if I ever saw one. I’m not entirely sure how best to describe it. Imagine if Quinton Tarantino made slot machines, without all the droll dialogue of his usual films.

Machine Gun Unicorn by Genesis Gaming – Surpassing the Norm at Mach Speed

Machine Gun Unicorn is a game about a fairytale place, where a majestic unicorn rules over a land of My Little Pony-looking horses. Then one day, all Hell breaks loose when their pony paradise is terrorized by zombie dragons. The fearless leader brandishes a machine gun in place of his unicorn horn and takes on the zombie hoarde, alongside his myriad-maned friends. The theme was so outrageously refreshing, Machine Gun Unicorn was named among the annual ICE expo’s top Games to Watch in 2015.

Not all of their games are so radical, of course, but it shows the approach Genesis Gaming’s designers take when building a new title. They look for something out of the ordinary, and make it extraordinary, whether it’s a new game’s theme, layout, or features, there’s always something exciting going on.

In the last few years, they’ve picked up the pace in fabrication, too. Since 2015, their portfolio has nearly doubled. There are now more than 200 games on the menu, with new titles coming to market once per month, on average. To close out 2019, they brought us Emperor’s Diamonds and Dragon Blast. Two days from now, on January 15, their latest addition – Year of the Rat – is slated for release at all Genesis Gaming powered online casinos.

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Jan 07

Top live dealers casino websites for Canadians in 2020.

Passion for Payouts: Top Live Dealers Casino Sites for Canadians 2020

We’re kicking off the New Year with a fresh list of top-tier live casino operations welcoming Canadian players. Live dealer games are preferred for their realistic experience, closely mimicking that of a land-based casino – as close as you can possibly get on a computer or mobile device. There are real live dealers, operating real table games, with multiple real players joining in the action.

Here in Canada, we are limited in the number of online casinos we can play at. Some provinces are privy to locally-regulated gambling websites, but only two of them have live casino games. There are many more highly reputable and strictly regulated international offerings, but only so many have a good live dealer presentation.

Top Live Dealers Casino Sites for Canadians

Normally, a “top” list of anything has 3, 5, 10, or maybe 20 of the best whatever you’re listing. I’m going out of the box with this list and giving you the “Top 4”. Yes, four of Canada’s best live casinos in 2020. Why four? Because I couldn’t possibly cut this list down to three, and there really isn’t a fifth worthy of inclusion.

I’m also not giving the operators a number ranking. I don’t feel that any one is better than another. They all have differentiating qualities that earned them a spot on this list. For instance, the first two, PlayNow and PlayOLG, are both home-grown operations. Then again, they’re ring-fenced to their local provinces, limiting who can access them. The second two, LeoVegas and Royal Vegas, are open to all Canadians, but present very different live gaming options. With that being said, let’s get right to it…

PlayNow Live Casino – BC and Manitoba Only

PlayNow is a great iGaming operation built, maintained and regulated by the provincial government of British Columbia. Through a player sharing contract with the BCLC, Manitoba residents are also able to partake in PlayNow’s internet gambling activities. For residents of these jurisdictions, the degree of security and player protections can’t be beat.

The PlayNow Live Casino is powered by the industry’s #1 Live Casino brand, Evolution Gaming, and includes live blackjack, infinite blackjack, baccarat, eSqueeze baccarat, roulette, auto roulette and ultimate Texas holdem. That’s not a bad assortment, but it doesn’t include any of Evolution’s immensely popular game show-style productions.

EspaceJeux Live Casino – Quebec Only

Similarly, Espacejeux is the online gambling operation of Loto-Quebec – home grown and locally regulated by that provincial government. As such, security and safety are unquestionable, but only residents of Quebec can sign up an account and place wagers. That’s good for Quebecois, as is the implementation of Evolution Gaming’s world class live dealer software. On the negative side, the only live games are standard blackjack and roulette, baccarat, and Control Squeeze baccarat.

LeoVegas Live Casino – All Canadians Accepted

LeoVegas is an internationally operated casino brand, regulated in multiple jurisdictions. LeoVegas is licensed in its home country of Sweden, and also holds gaming licenses from Denmark and Malta. It is powered by more software brands than I’d care to count; somewhere in the neighborhood of 50. Several of those software studios offer live casino games. As such, this website presents, by far, the largest live gaming menu of any competitor.

There are – and bear in mind, some of these numbers will appear as duplicates due to multi-categorization – 48 live roulette games, 31 live blackjack games, 18 types of “card games”, 16 private Chambre Séparée (high roller) tables, 16 “VIP” tables, 11 live baccarat tables, 7 live “game show” style options, and 5 live poker variants; 23 of which are ‘Fast Play’ titles.

Royal Vegas Live Casino – All Canadians Accepted

There are some who would argue that “less is more”. By this, I mean having so many options – as many as LeoVegas presents – can make it harder to actually pick one. It’s not just a theory, but a scientific fact. Studies have shown that being offered chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream makes it easy to pick one, whereas 30+ flavors can actually cause stress, anxiety, and an accelerated heart rate. Why such difficulty? People tend to fear that they won’t (or didn’t) choose the best option, and it leaves a bad taste in their mouth – pardon the pun.

If you prescribe to this ideal, then I present to you Royal Vegas Canada. Licensed in Malta, this operator only employs one live casino supplier, but it’s the world’s best – also proven by statistical data – Evolution Gaming.

Evolution has won the eGR Live Casino Supplier of the Year Award for the last 10 years straight. It’s almost as if they’ve figured out the perfect formula for live dealers casino games, and they’ve kept it as confidential as Mr. Krab’s secret formula for the “Krabby Patty”.

Royal Vegas accepts players from all over Canada. It’s also one of the few international sites that is approved to process payments via Interact eTransfer. Live casino games include blackjack, roulette, double ball roulette, baccarat, casino holdem, 3 card poker, Caribbean stud poker, private tables, game show tables, and their signature “Party” tables.

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Dec 04

The tireless search for secure online casino sites in Canada.

The Tireless Search for Secure Online Casino Sites in Canada

It’s amazing how far the online casino industry has come since the turn of the century. Where there were once far more rogue operators than dependable ones, the internet now caters to a majority of professional, responsible, distinguished members of the iGaming community. There are still some rogues out there, sure, but with regulations getting tighter every yer, the ratio has gotten so much safer for players.

Here in Canada, the laws aren’t so strict as they are in other major countries. The UK, for instance, has the widest range of regulation, delivering licenses and guidelines to operators both inside and outside the country. In Australia, online casinos are 100% prohibited. The US is a mish-mash, where some states allow

In areas with full legal regulation, security is not an issue. If the operator you choose to deposit with is licensed and regulated in the same locality in which you live, there is no question as to its integrity. If such an operator goes rogue, it has an entire jurisdiction worth of authorities to answer to. But when the operator is located outside of that jurisdiction, it takes more than their word to convince this seasoned iGamer that there’s nothing fishy going on.

2 Ways To Detect a Secure Online Casino

In Canada, there are no express laws permitting or banning online casinos – at least, not the offshore variety. By federal law, each province is capable of regulating and operating its own government-run gambling website, and a few of them do. Therefore most Canadians have access to two types of iGaming – the locally regulated and internationally regulated variety.

#1 Local Online Casinos

As I’ve said already, provincially regulated casinos are going to come with unquestionable security and fairness. After all, the local authorities in charge of enforcing security and fairness must answer directly to the ones that demand it. By default, they’re going to protect your personal and account information to the greatest of their ability.

#2 International Online Casinos

An international casino operator is one that’s located outside of Canada. You’ll hear a lot of government talk that these websites are “not regulated”, when in fact, most of them are. They just aren’t regulated in Canada. This does not make the online casino untrustworthy, although it does raise questions that must be answered to determine reputability.

In years past, you’d have to look into an operation’s history, longevity, ownership, customer satisfaction ratings and so much more. Now, what it boils down to is what international jurisdiction the online casino is regulated by, making it easier than ever to determine trust and security. Some are far more reputable than others.

I’ve recently written a complete guide on this subject, and I highly recommend giving it a read:

What’s the Better Choice for Canadians?

The best choice really depends on what you aim to get out of your internet gambling experience. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec each offer a wonderful online casino experience for their respective citizens. In BC, Manitoba and Quebec, you’ll also find online poker and bingo games available. All of these locations, combined with the Atlantic provinces, offer online lotteries and pro-line sports lotteries, as well.

If you live in the appropriate area and are looking for a simple iGaming experience that falls within these perimeters, Canada’s home-grown online casinos will suit you just fine. If, however, you’re looking for more out of your iGaming experience, you may wish to venture into the offshore realm of secure online casino gaming.

Internationally regulated casinos are known to provide far better promotions and a much wider range of casino games to choose from. Slots fans, in particular, will find the offshore variety have way better payout odds than any Canadian casino, on land or online, can offer. Sports bettors will also discover better odds overseas, where single-event wagers are perfectly legal.

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Nov 19

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover: Why licensing jurisdiction is everything.

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover: Licensing Jurisdiction is Everything

When you were growing up, did your parents or mentors every teach you don’t judge a book by its cover? I’m sure you understand the meaning of this age-old idiom. And in many ways, it is excellent advice. You should never judge or negatively label anything or anyone without giving it a chance; finding out for yourself if it’s worthy of appreciation. That’s all well and good for most things in life, but not online gambling.

Joining a disreputable casino site can be a devastating experience. It can result in anything from identity theft to financial ruin; both of which have long-lasting consequences. If you’re lucky, the rogue operator takes your first deposit and disappeared into the great blue yonder. If not, you could end up investing time and again into games that are fraudulently designed to rip you off – much more so than the legitimate, low-edge casino games we choose to play.

Any educated gambler knows very well that every single casino game is built to favor the house. Only knowing we have a chance to win makes it fun. It provides an entertaining experience that’s worthy of our spare cash. Take away that reasonable chance, and what you’re left with is disappointment, despair, and downright illegal activity.

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover

In years past, evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino was a tedious task. There were multiple features you had to look for, sifting through a website’s many pages and terms of service, reading the fine print… Who wants to do that?

While this method was extremely effective for those who took the time to do it right, most people didn’t. Instead, they went to one of thousands of the world wide web’s online gambling review websites and trusted the information they found there. But iGaming affiliates are comparable to the online casino industry. Some sites are safe, and some are not.

Some affiliate reviews sites are great. They’re honest, diligent in their reviews, and updated regularly with helpful information. Others are biased, lacking any integrity, saying anything and everything they can to get players to click their links. And why wouldn’t some do this? Let’s not forget, just like the casinos, affiliates are looking to make money. So if you can’t trust every casino, you can’t trust every review, either.

The good news is, thanks to the increasing rate of iGaming regulation in some parts of the world, no one has to go through all that trouble anymore. In fact, the whole process can be narrowed down to the evaluation of one single item.

Jurisdiction of License and Regulation

Kim Kardashian Playing Poker with Mirrored Sunglasses

If you want to know if an online casino is safe, go to its website, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for the licensing info. The jurisdiction in which an operator is licensed and regulated is more telling than Kim Kardashian playing poker in mirrored sunglasses… yeah, she really did that.

There are good jurisdictions and bad ones. Any province of Canada (B.C., Ontario or Quebec) is good. Each hosts its own self-regulated iGaming website, but you must live in that province to access its home-grown gambling operation. Any US state that regulates iGaming is also good, but the same stipulation exists. Outside of these, you’re looking for any country in Europe.

If you come across a country name you don’t know, look it up on Google or Wikipedia to find out where it is. There are several small island nations off the coast of Europe that North Americans may not be familiar with, and several of them make good business out of licensing iGaming operations. So if you’re not sure, look it up! It only takes a couple of seconds.

Safe Licensing Jurisdictions

The UK is top of the line. UKGC sets the standard for bet practices, player protection, anti-fraud and anti-money laundering, the works. Malta and Isle of Man are right up there, too. Gibraltar, Alderney, Estonia, Cypress, Latvia – pretty much anywhere in Europe. France, Italy and Spain are also top-notch, but they are ring-fenced like Canada, so you can only access those sites if your physically located within their respective borders.

The same goes for any direct regulation by a US state. Acceptance of American players means nothing. If a US-facing operator isn’t regulated in the US, it can’t possibly be licensed and regulated by a responsible authority. Which brings us to…

Lax Regulatory Jurisdictions

Anything that doesn’t qualify under the description above is not a jurisdiction that you can put 100% trust in. Costa Rica, Curacao, Panama – places like these love to dole out licenses and collect fees for them, but they take no responsibility for the legitimacy of the companies they license. They offer little, if anything, in the way of a legal framework.

Costa Rica, for example, has only one rule – do not accept players from within Costa Rica. Anything else goes. Operators can appear one day, disappear the next, taking all player account balances with them. So long as they don’t violate that one rule, Costa Rica’s government won’t do a thing about it. There are absolutely no player protections in place; no one to turn to if the worst happens.

Similar licenses are sold in Panama. Curacao isn’t as bad, but it’s not much better, either. The fact that Curacao licensees can accept American players is very telling. Look at it this way. If it’s illegal for people in New York to gambling online, and a Curacao licensed site is accepting New Yorkers, it’s pretty clear the regulations aren’t all that tight.

Double Check the Credentials

Once you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the online casino’s homepage and determined where it is licensed, you can go one step further to make sure the license is genuine. The safest online casinos will provide a logo for the licensing jurisdiction, and link it back to their licensing info on the regulatory body’s website. Clicking this logo should prove the license is valid and active.

If there is no clickable link or logo, you can take a moment to look up the regulatory authority’s website. For instance, if it’s in Malta, search for “Malta Gaming Regulator”, or “Malta Gaming License”, etc. These searches will lead you directly to the Malta Gaming Authority, found at www.mga.org.mt.

Then, from the regulator’s website, you should be able to search for the casino name or the owner/operator company, generally listed in the copyright info (bottom of homepage).

Of course, if you’re not finding the information you’re looking for – no license info, no name of owner/operator, no valid license number – if any of this is difficult to find, you know it’s time to move on. Don’t waste your time on a website that isn’t making this search easy for you. Remember, it should be a quick, one step process. If the website seems like it has something to hide, it probably does. It’s not a safe online casino.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Sep 18

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.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 05

Microgaming procures games for Quickfire platform from Canada online slots maker, Old Skool Studios.

Microgaming Employs Canada Online Slots Maker Old Skool Studios

For 25 long and illustrious years, Microgaming has enjoyed the elite status of being the internet gambling industry’s oldest and most reputable digital software firm. The company has produced and distributed internet slot machines, table games and other wager-based amusements since 1994, building upon the world’s most comprehensive desktop and mobile iGaming platform. They call it Quickfire, and it’s employed by more than one thousand online casino website operators.

On the very opposite end of that spectrum is a small, little-known company by the name of Old Skool Studios. Like Microgaming, this firm too produces digital gambling software of the highest quality. Such high quality, in fact, that this minuscule firm attracted the notice of Microgaming, earning itself a rightful place in the coveted Quickfire portfolio.

Microgaming Employs Canada Online Slots Maker

Microgaming’s Quickfire platform is already loaded with four titles direct from this hometown studio. Following a contract with the Isle of Man iGaming juggernaut in 2016, Old Skool wasted no time installing its first installment, a steampunk game known as Epic City. In early 2017, a classic detective mystery, La Rouge, was added. A few months later came an interactive skill+chance game, Jewel Quest Riches, followed by their latest release, Temperance, in mid 2018.

Play Online Slot Machines from Canada Firm, Old Skool Studios

According to Old Skool Studios, each of these games has its own niche-target appeal. La Rouge and its Starlite Bonus showcase their creative storytelling capabilities. The skill-based elements in Jewel Quest Riches offers a superior level of engagement. Epic City’s Power Bonus draws players in with an unparalleled degree of immersion. Temperance is equipped with a unique Pachinko Gamble feature that highlights differentiation between games.

Why Haven’t we Heard of Old Skool Studios?

Old Skool hasn’t made a big name for itself in the digital entertainment industry. It’s not because they haven’t been around for years, nor because they haven’t produced a variety of premier quality content, but rather because almost everything they produce gets published under another company’s logo.

Old Skool Studios have been in business since 2011. We as players may not be familiar with the name, but other iGaming businesses sure are. Their long list of clients include social gaming giants like Zynga and GameHouse, major iGaming brands like LeoVegas, Mr. Green, and Unibet, and software distributors like Microgaming, IGS and Neowiz. They were even contracted by Microsoft in 2013 to develop three steampunk apps for Windows Mobile.

What surely impressed Microgaming the most was Old Skool’s focus on the player experience. The Old Skool team believes that, while it’s true “good games start with solid math”, a more important factor is that “great games also start with a strong narrative”. As such, the company strategy is to engage customers with great games that “immerse, entertain, and give you reasons to come back”.

Play Real Online Slot Machines from Canada

Who knew you could play online slot machines from Canada, in Canada, at Microgaming powered gaming sites? According to local laws, no company with offices in Canada can provide real money iGaming services inside Canada without authorization from the province in which those games are available. Old Skool skirts this clause because it’s not directly offering the games to Canadian players.

This company is only manufacturing the digital games. They then sell those games to offshore companies – companies with no physical presence in Canada – letting those companies offer them to Canadians (and players everywhere else Microgaming casinos are available).

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,