Aug 20

Future looking bright for Canada’s largest casino firm.

Future Looks Bright for Canada's Largest Casino Firm, Great Canadian Gaming

The executive board members of Great Canadian Gaming (GCG) are putting on their shades after last week’s gleaming revenue report highlighted excellent second quarter results with a brilliant outlook for the next half of 2019. Revenues and shares were up, divestments and projects were completed, and new partnerships were forged.

GCG Chief Executive Officer Rod Baker is particularly pleased with the company’s performance over the last three months ending June 30, 2019, and is looking forward to a very bright future – especially in Ontario, where a powerful focus is resulting in the most growth. He believes its the company’s “disciplined approach” to fortifying GCG’s infrastructure with strategic expenditures that’s driving the firm ahead at such a phenomenal pace.

Revenues Soar for Canada’s Largest Casino Firm

In the financial highlights segment of last Tuesday’s GCG second quarter (Q2) 2019 earnings conference call, Baker noted a 20% increase in revenue, rising from $295.2 million in Q2-18 to $354.4 million in Q2-19. He attributed the boost in revenue to a variety of rationale:

  • One extra month of operations at properties in the company’s West GTA Gaming Bundle, compare to the same time period last year.
  • Additional revenue from newly introduced table games at Woodbine Casino.
  • Additional revenue from expanded gaming opportunities at Elements Casino Mohawk.
  • Heightened revenue from East Gaming Bundle following grand openings of Shorelines Casino Peterborough (Oct. 15, 2018) and Shorelines Slots at Kwartha Downs (Dec. 19, 2018).

GCG’s expenditure budget for the Ontario Gaming Bundle was nearly doubled year over year from $12.7 million to $23.6 million in Q2-19.

Revenue also rose in the British Columbia market, but the increase was attributed primarily to a single occurrence – a labour disruption at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver “that resulted in limited gaming and hospitality offerings for a portion of 2018.”

Shareholders earnings were a topic of much rejoicing during the conference call. GCG’s investors experienced net earnings of $48 million ($0.81 per common share) during the second quarter, an increase of $7.4 million ($0.15 per common share) YoY.

H2-19 Strategy: Spend Money to Make Money

“2019 is a year of significant capital expenditures as we build our infrastructure in Ontario to execute our strategic plan,” explained CEO Baker. “We have already accomplished several major milestones in the first half of the year including the new building addition at Great Blue Heron Casino and the gaming expansion at Elements Casino Mohawk. For the remainder of 2019, we continue to work towards completing several developments in Ontario, particularly at Elements Casino Flamboro and Elements Casino Grand River, which will include expanded gaming and new food and beverage offerings that we expect to complete by the end of 2019.”

Baker also spoke of the two-phase opening of Pickering Casino Resort, the first of which is scheduled to occur in Q1-20. The first phase will include gaming and dining venues. The timeline for the second phase has yet to be determined, but it will include “premium nongaming amenities”, like a hotel, retail stores, entertainment venue and additional dining options.

In closing, Baker credited the company’s recent and ongoing success to its “disciplined approach to use of capital opportunities and to explore opportunities that will improve our business and increase value to our shareholders.”

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Aug 16

Court of Appeals decides GotSkill’s skill-based games are gambling, therefore illegal in Ontario.

Games of skill versus games of chance – is there really that much of a difference? Ontario Superior Court Justice Andras Schreck thought so last year. Turns out, he was wrong. The Court of Appeals overturned his decision this week regarding a collection of popular skill-based gaming cabinets from the company GotSkill.

The new decision is not being taken lightly – not by the executives at GotSkill, nor the owners of more than two hundred local bars and clubs where the games were installed. Despite their outrage, there’s absolutely nothing that can be done, except for removing the now illegal games, of course. According tot he appellate court’s decision, GotSkill has no grounds to appeal this decision, making it unquestionably final.

GotSkill’s Skill-Based Games are Gambling in Ontario

Ontario Appellate Court says GotSkill's Skill-Based Games are Gambling, Illegal

If you’re one of the countless fans of GotSkill’s gaming cabinets, present throughout locations all over the province, don’t be surprised if these games are missing from your favorite bar or restaurant the next time you visit. Following a legal battle that’s been ongoing for more than a year now, the machines have been declared to be in violation of Ontario’s gaming laws.

According to the Court of Appeals, Justice Schrek made one critical error in his evaluation of the company’s SkillBet cabinets last year. He had determined that players of superior skill would be capable of beating the game, winning more money from the games then they paid to play them. Based on this assumption, he decided that they did not fall under the definition of a game of chance, therefore were not illegal.

The Appellate Court disagreed with this theory based on the fact that only those of exceptional skill could consistently beat the games. The average player, on the other hand, would be reliant more on chance than skill to win, thus losing more than they win. Therefore, the amusements could only be defined as games of chance.

When the appeal was filed earlier this year, GotSkill was confident that another ruling would go in their favor. They weren’t the only ones, either. Many more bars chose to install the skill-based gaming cabinets, while some retailers who already offered the games upped their number of installments by 2-3 times. You can imagine their disappointment now, following an unimagined outcome.

Despite its former confidence, GotSkill did state months ago that if the appeal did not return a decision in their favor, it would result in an abundance of job losses for the company. So far, there’s been no word from corporate as their heads are surely still reeling from the news.

Furthermore, the courts have not issued a timeline for removal of the skill-based games from local area bars and clubs. It’s safe to assume the machines will be made inoperable before the month is out.

AGCO Won’t Tolerate Illegal Gambling in Ontario

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which filed the appeal back in January, is pleased with this latest turn of events. They feel that their rules in regards to gambling in Ontario are very strict, and must not be violated lest the public well-being be put at risk.

AGCO regulations expressly prohibit gambling in bars and restaurants. Gambling is confined to commercial casinos and charitable gaming venues, all of which must obtain authorization from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG). Only First Nations casinos may operate without an OLG license, and even they must abide by certain restrictions.

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Jul 10

Canada iGaming firm The Stars Group is teaming with New York’s Akwesane Mohawk Casino for live and online sports betting; online poker to follow?

Stars Group Signs w/ Mohawk for New York iGaming

The legalization of sports betting in New York has caused quite a stir, not just in the Empire State, but across the border into Ontario and Quebec, Canada. New York happens to have a few tribal casinos near its borders, granting rather convenient access for Canadian sports fans to enter the country and place all the wagers their hearts desire.

Here in Canada, it’s not illegal to bet on sports, but it is highly restrictive. We are forced to make bets with long odds – parlays, they’re called. Multiple picks, and they must all win, or the bet is lost. For years, many Canadians have trusted offshore gambling websites to place the bets they really want. But now – or rather, very soon – New York will present the same single event betting opportunities we crave, live and in person.

Oddly enough, it’s one of our own who will operate the first sportsbook across the St. Lawrence River. The Stars Group (TSG, formerly Amaya Inc.) of Toronto have inked a deal with the Akwesane Mohawk Casino Resort to run the property’s upcoming sports betting business.

Canada iGaming Firm TSG Signs with NY’s Akwesane Mohawk Casino

Canada's TSG to supply Sportsbook for NY's Mohawk Casino, Poker to Follow?

TSG’s benchmark contract gives the Canadian firm a foothold in the budding iGaming business of New York. The group’s contract gives them operational rights over an online sportsbook for the property, and will also see them performing support services for the casino’s retail sportsbook.

TSG’s newly appointed CEO, Robin Chhabra, comments:

“We are excited to announce this agreement with Mohawk, which further strengthens our market access as we work to build our Fox Bet business into one of the leaders in the emerging U.S. online betting and gaming market.”

The terms of the agreements are extensive, giving Stars Group the right to launch its online poker and online casino offerings as well, if and when New York takes the next step to legalize those iGaming activities. TSG is, of course, the owner of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room. And if more casinos sign sportsbook contracts with major operators like TSG, maybe it will help motivate New York legislators to move in that direction, based on the success in neighboring New Jersey, if nothing else.

At this point, it’s been widely speculated that New York will become the fifth US state to regulate online poker. No doubt Stars Group is banking on it, hoping to tap into yet another lucrative market on US soil. For the time being, their focusing on the growth of their US sports offers via another recent partnership with Fox Sports, which has the two brands collaborating on the production of Fox Bet.

PokerStars Events Getting Closer to Home?

It’s worth noting that single-event bets aren’t the only thing off limits to Canadian players. PokerStars is another area of legal contention in the Great White North. While the operator claims to accept Canadian customers, it’s no secret that their doing so teeters of the border of unlawful internet gambling.

Canada’s iGaming laws are known to be far less restrictive than our neighbors to the south. The only thing we must abide by is the law that states no entity with a physical presence in Canada may provide gambling services without a provincial license to do so.

With Toronto being home to TSG headquarters, and having no license from any provincial regulator in the country, Canadian players would be wise to keep their distance from the online poker room. But what about PokerStars Live? If the New York casino were to open a live branded poker room so close to the border, it could open the flood gates for Canadian poker pros to hit up new PokerStars sponsored events a lot closer to home. It’s all speculation for now, but I have no doubt the gears are turning in the minds of TSG executives.

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May 13

OLG “closing the gender gap” in live, online gaming technology.

OLG “Closing the Gender Gap” in Live and Online Gaming Technology

Women have enjoyed a strong presence in the work force for more than half a century. Their roles, however, have yet to catch up to that of men, especially when it comes to higher positions of power, or more tech savvy roles. It’s a recognizable problem, and one that’s receiving more attention in the Canadian business world.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has been taking a closer look at gender equality in recent years. The province’s gambling regulator mapped a resolution, putting the plan into effect in 2018. Now, 12 months into the project, their efforts are proving fruitful.

Women in Live and Online Gaming Technology

In April 2018, OLG began a new movement they termed the Gender Strategy. Prior to the project, the corporation’s 2017 employee dockets revealed only 22% of their technology department was staffed by females. Over the next year, a strong focus was put on ensuring that women had equal employment opportunities within the field.

Slowly but surely, the the gender gap began visibly shrinking, and by April 2019, 29% of the technology department was staffed by female employees. An increase of 7% may not seem like a huge difference, but in the grand the scheme of things, it puts OLG’s tech staff 5% ahead of the national average in employing women.

Even more impressive is OLG’s managerial staff numbers. On the senior leadership level, the number of women in higher positions rose 14%. Having made such an impressive leap in gender equality, OLG was the obvious choice as presenting sponsor of the 2019 #movethedial stories event, held last month in Toronto.

Inspirational Commentary of OLG’s Executive Women

Two of OLG’s leading ladies, Wai Yu and Jessica Ylanko, spoke at the event. Both were enthusiastic about sharing their valuable experiences with the corporation over the years.

OLG Senior Vice President, and Chief Digital, Marketing and Customer Experience Wai Yu

Ms. Yu was promoted to Senior Vice President, and Chief Digital, Marketing and Customer Experience at OLG, in August of last year. It might be the Gender Strategy program that helped get her recognized, but it was her long-term expertise that earned her the position. She spent 6 years as Board Director of the Information Technology Association of Canada (2010-2016), and another as Chairman of that Board (2017), before moving into her current role at OLG.

As an industry facing shifting demographics and advances in technology, OLG is focused on transforming how it engages with customers… Transformation is hard, especially in tech, but we shouldn’t be afraid of the challenge. I’m excited to help OLG become the customer centric, digital enterprise it wants to be in the future.”

OLG Digital Marketing Manager Jessica Ylanko

Ms Ylanko, a self-described ‘strategic thinker in the digital space’, has spent more than two year’s as OLG’s Digital Marketing Manager. After receiving a B.A. In Communications and Media (2008-12) and a Post Graduate Degree in Advertising (2012-13), she began working for OLG as an Account Coordinator in 2014, Account Manager in 2015, and transitioned to Account and Project Manager in 2016, leading up to her current position.

Its been fantastic working at an organization where it’s not unusual for me to work on a project with an all-female team. The trust and support we get from our leaders have allowed us to innovate in ways that our customers are really responding to.”

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Apr 26

Experts warn legal sports betting to feed match fixing crisis.

Experts Warn Legal Sports Betting to Feed Match Fixing Crisis

Competitive sports are a fascinating thing. Athletic contests, from feats of strength, to races, to team exhibitions, have existed as long as mankind has walked the earth. And for all that time, we’ve suffered the compulsion to pick a favorite – a likely winner – one we’re so confident in that some of us are willing to stakes something we hold dear upon it.

Thus is the nature of the timeless pastime we call sports betting. Sure, some of us are pure fans of the game, watching and cheering on our favorites for no other reason than our passion for the sport. But there’s no denying, a little action certainly raises the bar of exhilaration for viewers.

It’s not just the chance to win money that excites us, but the unpredictability of it all. We may truly believe we’ve picked a winner, but deep down, we know anything can happen, and it’s that uncertainty that drives the adrenaline ever faster through our veins as the game clock winds down.

Take away the unpredictability, and you take away everything that gives a sport meaning. No one will watch anymore. None will wager. The players will lose their drive. Teams will disband. Without unpredictability, sports will cease to exist.

As irrational as this sounds, it is not so preposterous when you look at the bigger picture; at what’s taking place behind the scenes all over the world. And now that the legalization of sports betting is spreading rapidly through the veins of North America, experts are becoming more concerned than ever.

Legal Sports Betting to Feed Match Fixing in Sports

For decades, the most persuasive argument against the legalization of sports betting has been the fear of rampant match fixing. It’s a foul enterprise that’s been present for ages. The prohibition on sports gambling wasn’t enough to prevent it, and now experts say the lifting of such bans could become the catalyst for the eventual demise of sports integrity.

Who are these so-called experts? They are Richard McLaren and David Howman, both speakers at the Symposium on Match Manipulation and Gambling in Sport, held in Toronto earlier this week.

Symposium Details Organized Crime, Doping and Match Fixing in Sports

Richard McLaren, a Canadian law professor and CEO of McLaren Global Sport Solutions, authored a state-sponsored report on the Russian match fixing crisis in 2016. David Howman, a New Zealand barrister, is the former director of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA, 2003-16), and current chair of the Athletic Integrity Unit.

Together, the two men described a sobering environment in which match manipulation is becoming more prominent than doping. These two factors combined are now the most alarming issues threatening the integrity of sports all over the world.

Multiple cases of match fixing have been identified in tennis for the last few years – especially at the lower amateur levels, where athletes hardly make enough money to cover their cost participation – but never so many incidents as were unearthed in 2018. More recently, a pair of snooker players were banned for match fixing and failing to report corruption. Just two months ago, a soccer referee received a lifetime ban for accepting bribes to manipulate matches.

Organized Crime Syndicates to Blame

Howman pins the problem on organized crime syndicates. “I have done a lot of work in the general sport integrity area and I can quote you what I am told by people who work in that more general business, including enforcement agents,” he said. “They all say the biggest threat to sport integrity is organised crime.”

Andy Cunningham, Director of Integrity for Sportradar, a company that monitors and analyzes patterns in sports betting, reporting its intelligence to more than one hundred governing sports authorities, accentuated Howman’s message.

“We saw it coming at WADA and I raised it during my term there as a significant issue that needed to be countered by world sport, because the bad guys involved in pushing dope and steroids are the same bad guys involved in match manipulation,” said Cunningham.

According to Interpol, an estimated $500 billion per year is wagered on sports – a hard figure to come by when it includes both legal and illegal wagering activity. Nonetheless, it presents a tasty smorgasbord for match fixers, who making untold amounts of money manipulating the outcomes of everything from the highest rungs of World Cup matches to the lowly Canadian Soccer League (CSL).

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Apr 24

Sports wagering lobbyist to give Canada’s politicians an earful.

Sports Wagering Lobbyist to give Canadian Politicians an Earful

The push to legalize sports betting in Canada rages on this week as the region’s premier sports news authority, theScore, is taking matters into their own hands. The Toronto-based company has hired a professional government relations expert to lobby on behalf of its company and countless sports fans across the nation.

Making the rounds at federal and provincial government hearings is one way to get your message out. Hiring a professional lobbyist who’s spent years navigating that complex environment is the better way. Such experts know how to find a champion for the cause, capable of finding ways to root the issues in their political priorities.

theScore Hires Professional Sports Wagering Lobbyist

Executive members of sports media firm didn’t have to go far to find the best man for the job. Also nestled in the heart of Toronto is Pathway Group, headed by co-founder and President Peter Curtis. He has decades of experience working with and within all levels of government, and is beyond qualified for the role.

Mr. Curtis’s experience in politics speaks for itself, from his teenage years when he walked into a campaign office in Dundas for the first time, to his current position of Executive Vice President of the Ontario Liberal Party.

Last week, Mr. Curtis made his latest mission quite clear. On behalf of theScore, the government relations aficionado filed a registration with the federal Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying. The brief filing declares his intention of “lobbying (to) legalize sports betting”, and pin-points his political targets as Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office.

Capitalizing on NA’s Love for Pro Sports Betting

theScore has spent the last year attempting to capitalize on North America’s desire to bet on sports in a legal capacity. Months from now, the company plans to become the first media brand to launch its own online sportsbook, based out of New Jersey, USA. No doubt the firm would like to be able to follow that same path in its home base of Canada.

Originally founded in 1994 as Scorescope, the company started out as an alphanumeric scrolling ticker that displayed sports scores during regularly scheduled television shows, even during commercials. It was an enormously successful brand that evolved into the national, 24-hour Headline Sports channel in 1997, and theScore Television Network in 2000. Then in 2012, Rogers bought out the parent company, rebranding it Sportsnet 360.

That same year, John S. Levy founded theScore Inc., essentially relaunching the brand under its own representation. It’s since become a primary source of sports media in Canada, and a prime candidate for capitalizing on what is sure to become an extremely lucrative market, if and when Canada legalizes sports wagering.

Last month, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli wrote a now-famous letter to his federal counterpart, Bill Morneau. Within, he called “single event sports wagering…one of the fastest growing categories of gambling entertainment.” adding a glaring statistic that “90 per cent of the sports dollars wagered in Nevada sportsbooks are on single events.”

This gave Ontario yet another nudge, leading to its decision to “establish a competitive market for online gambling” within the 2019 budget proposal; one that includes hopes for legal single-event betting. The response from theScore came swift and adamant.

“theScore has always embraced the fact that sports betting is part of the overall fan experience,” said founder and CEO John Levy. “It is finally time for jurisdictions across Canada to adopt common sense sports betting regulation.”

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Apr 08

Canada’s favorite sports league partners with UK betting giant.

Canada's Favorite Sports League NHL Partners with UK Betting Giant

This story is starting to get old. It seems like every time I turn around, there’s another reason why Canada should legalize sportsbooks and single-event betting. Well, here’s another one for you. The National Hockey League (NHL) has signed a new sponsorship deal. As of last week, UK-based bookmaking giant William Hill became the official sports betting partner of the NHL.

Don’t misunderstand. This move has nothing to do with convincing the Canadian federal government to legalize sportsbooks. That’s just a sideline perk that’s bound to raise political eyebrows in the Great White North. The real purpose is, of course, to make monumental bundles of cash for William Hill, the NHL, and the tax coffers of US states where betting on sports has been legalized.

Betting on Canada’s Favorite Sports League

There’s no question that ice hockey is the number one sport in Canada. Like soccer in Europe, or football in America, the NHL gets more attention from Canucks than any other sport by far. We love the game so much, many of our teams glorify their fans with names like the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Vancouver Canucks.

Just because single-event betting isn’t expressly legal in the country doesn’t mean that fans aren’t wagering on the games. We love to make the games a little more interesting, just like people in the rest of the world where single-event action is legal. We just have to go a little further to place those bets – specifically, to international online sportsbooks.

The Canadian government is well aware of this. Provincial leaders, in particular, are hoping for a change to sports betting laws. The launch of legal sportsbooks in Canada would stop millions upon millions of dollars from flowing offshore each and every year, putting that money right back into the communities from which it was wagered. That’s what parlay-style sports lotteries – the only legal means of betting on sports we have now – do for each province. But those bets have terrible odds, in turn generating terrible participation levels.

How Might William Hill Partnership Help?

In the past, professional sports leagues had no interest in sports betting. In fact, they were dead set against the idea of people betting on their games. It was believed that a legal sports betting regime would promote duplicitous dealings like match-fixing. Now, however, it’s been determined that regulation shines a much brighter light on the activity, better serving to protect sports from underhanded dealings. It also helps leagues to generate a larger viewership base by increasing fan participation.

The fact that the NHL – Canada’s number one sports league – is in support of legalization, sends a clear message to all people of Canada, from class-A citizens up to federal-grade politicians, that sports betting is not the enemy.

This isn’t the NHL’s first foray into betting partnerships, either. Last November, the National Hockey League signed a contract with daily fantasy sports giant FanDuel Group. DFS hasn’t been so controversial in Canada; a moot issue that’s considered legal simply because it’s not expressly illegal. That same cannot be said of single-event sports betting, where punters put action on the outcome of a single sporting event.

A Montreal Canadiens fan, will PM Justin Trudeau favor legal sportsbooks in Canada?

Let’s not forget that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent years playing hockey in college and has proven his fandom for the sport ever since. He’s expressed his loyalty to the Montreal Canadiens on numerous occasions, and certainly seems to enjoy discussing NHL trades more than hard-line politics with the media. But is he acquiesce to legalizing sportsbooks in Canada? Only time will tell that tale, and whether the NHL’s willingness to play along will have any impact on the ending.

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Nov 27

Canada Online Sportsbooks & Casinos: One thing leads to another

Canada Online Sportsbooks & Casinos: One Thing Leads to AnotherThe largest, most populated provinces in Canada have recognized the need for a competitive, internet-based gambling market. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec each offer their residents a safe and secure, home-grown online casino venue, complete with a wide range of gaming options. For Canadian casino fans, it’s more than enough. But what about those who also enjoy sports betting?

The argument has been circulating for years, but never so vigorously as it has since May of this year. That’s the month the US Supreme Court overturned a 26-year old law banning sports betting across most of the country.

Canadians are no longer content to play their Pro Line parlay tickets. They want good odds, on single event bets, and they know exactly where to get them. And while they’re at it, they’re taking advantage of other online gambling needs that they could have gotten right here in Canada. But why should they?

Best Canada Online Sportsbooks Aren’t in Canada

The law may not permit Canadians to bet on single sporting events here at home, but there’s no legal recourse for betting over the internet with internationally regulated sportsbooks. Logging onto these websites gives punters access to all the games they could ever desire to bet on, in all ways imaginable, and then some.

For years, a small margin of Canadian sports fans used offshore sportsbooks to place their bets. Now that it’s legal to do so for our neighbors to the south, the attraction is so much stronger. And with mobile gambling set to surpass traditional desktop betting, it’s more convenient than ever before, as well.

The end result is simple. With no good online sports betting in Canada, more and more people are accessing international betting sites than ever. But that’s only part of the problem. International sportsbooks aren’t just taking a toll on our Pro Line ticket sales. They’re detracting from the clientele at those provincially run online casinos our government officials spent so much time and money establishing.

One Thing Leads to Another…

So many of today’s premier online gambling websites are a multi-channel affair. Take Unibet for example. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your iGaming needs. There’s Unibet Sports, Unibet Casino, Unibet Poker, Unibet Bingo, etc., etc., etc. A lot of today’s major brands offer the same multi-channel set-up. When a Canadian joins one of these websites to gain access to good online sports betting odds, what’s to stop them from using the other verticals?

Think about it. Bob from Ontario could use Unibet Sports to bet on the Toronto Blue Jays, and then log into PlayOLG.com for his blackjack gaming, but why should he? Bob is a busy man. With Unibet, he could make a single deposit into a single account, then bet on both with just a few taps of his finger. Bob would also have access to larger deposit bonuses, bigger tournaments and a throng of additional promotions that home-grown operators simply can’t stack up to.

The only argument Canadian provinces can pose is that Bob should game with them, because his losses will end up in the provincial tax coffers. Bob doesn’t want to hear that. Bob wants to hear that. He doesn’t want to hear how his losing will benefit others. He wants to focus on winning. And with offshore online sportsbooks and casinos, his odds of winning are so much better.

We Need Good Online Sportsbooks in Canada

As you can see, the need for more liberal sports betting laws goes so much deeper than most of our government officials, and even regulatory bodies, realize. It’s not just sportsbook revenue we’re losing out on. It’s not just a mere fraction of Canadians taking advantage of offshore internet gambling websites.

One thing leads to another, and the problem will only get bigger. Instead of missing out on higher revenue, provinces are going to start losing revenue all across Canada. Online sportsbooks are what the people want, and until the government gives it to them, they’re going go out and get it—along with everything else they want to wager on—elsewhere.

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Nov 15

IGT brings its electronic bingo games to Ontario, Canada.

IGT brings its Robust Electronic Bingo Games to Ontario, CanadaInternational Game Technology (IGT) is one of the oldest manufacturers of gambling amusements in the world. The company has pioneered a number of gaming innovations over the decades. They develop every form of gaming known to man—both for land-based and digital; online and mobile casinos. With a fantastic reputation for quality and excellence, it’s no wonder Canadian regulators have time and again chosen IGT when looking to expand their gaming services.

Ontario, like British Columbia before them, chose IGT’s impressive portfolio of interactive slots and table games to power the launch of their provincially-run online casino in 2015. Now, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) is looking to IGT once again to propagate their latest installment of electronic bingo.

According to a press release on Wednesday, IGT will be working with lotteries all over Canada. E-Bingo games are first being debuted in Ontario, with installments at a dozen gaming facilities.

IGT Electronic Bingo Games in Ontario, Canada

IGT announced yesterday that they’ve “recently launched first-of-its-kind electronic bingo content for the Canadian market.” The initial, localized release is taking place in Ontario under the supervision of the OLG.

The pilot program features the introduction of numerous IGT E-Bingo titles, available exclusively at 12 OLG-authorized charitable gaming centers. They include games like Bengal Eyes, Golden Rooster, Pharaoh’s Legacy, and others.

“Launching electronic bingo content in Canada represents a meaningful growth opportunity for IGT and its customers,” explains IGT’s Regional VP for Canada, David Flinn.

“IGT’s Canadian bingo portfolio complements the company’s existing solutions portfolio for the region, and is anchored in titles that have been localized to meet the needs of our customers and their players.”

Canada E-Bingo Not What You Might Think…

Now Available in Ontario, Canada: E-Bingo by IGTWhen you hear the word “bingo”, you probably think of a traditional bingo game. We picture cards with numbers, daubers, bingo callers, etc. An electronic version of that would bring to mind an automated game, probably something similar to Keno, except that we don’t pick our numbers first. That’s not at all what Ontario players are now privy to.

Electronic bingo is incredibly similar to a slot machine. In fact, it’s so keenly mirrored, many players fail to notice the difference. These games look like slot machines, they play like slot machines, they even pay out like slot machines. The only difference is what decides whether the reels turn up a winning combination or not.

Over to the side of the machine, on the far right, there’s a slim line graphic that depicts a small bingo card, with a range of bingo numbers below. As the reels spin, bingo balls are quickly called, and the card is marked. The amount of numbers that match determine if the play is a win, and if so, how much it’s worth. But the players rarely pay attention to this. Instead, they see the mimicking of slot machine action as symbols appear on a set of reels on the main screen. If the bingo card was a win, the symbols will depict a win of equal value on the reels. If not, the symbols will not line up a win, resulting in a loss.

Electronic bingo games give gaming centers that are only authorized to provide Class II gambling games (i.e. bingo) the ability to provide their customers with what looks and feels like a slot machine experience. If the pilot program goes well, you can expect to see a whole lot more IGT E-Bingo games in Canada.

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Nov 07

USA and Canada slot machines market a gold mine in 2018.

American and Canadian Slots Sales on the RiseThe global gambling industry has had its fair share of ups and downs. Whether by natural disaster or tumbling economic design, the pitfalls can be devastating for casinos and their game suppliers. Conversely, when the waves are cresting, the celebrations abound, worthy of uncorking the finest Boërl & Kroff Brut.

That’s where the slot machine manufactures that supply the North American market are right about now. According to the latest research report by the experts at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, American and Canadian slots sales are up. They attribute the launch of several new and renovated casinos across the region has a lot to do with it.

USA & Canada Slot Machines a Gold Mine in Q2-2018

According to the report, the second quarter of 2018 has been the most lucrative for slots manufacturers servicing in the North American casino sector. Sales are up 15.7% across the USA and Canada combined.

North American Gambling – USA and Canada Slot Machines a Gold MineEilers & Krejcik point to the expansion of new casinos across the continent as the most pertinent source of increasing distribution. Just a few short years ago, an economic recession forced several casinos to close their doors, especially in New Jersey. In 2014 alone, the number of Atlantic City casinos dropped from 12 to 7, and continued to decline over the next two years.

Now, as the economy climbs out of recession, there’s been a resurgence in land-based casinos. Two new resorts opened in Atlantic City in June 2018; Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock Atlantic City. MGM Resorts opened the doors to it latest integrated resort property, MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, in August 2018.

North of the 49th parallel, more new casinos are opening their doors and widening their floors. The two largest private gaming companies in Canada, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment and Great Canadian Gaming, have procured one contract after another to build new casinos, or expand the size of existing ones, from Vancouver, British Columbia to Toronto, Ontario.

Gateway’s renovated and rebranded Starlight Casino at the West Edmonton Mall (Edmonton, Alberta) opened in September, followed by GCG’s launch of Shorelines Casino in Peterborough, Ontario in October. Those properties alone added about 1,000 new slots games to the gaming equipment invoices.

More Room for USA & Canadian Slots

Last month, everyone who is anyone in the gambling industry was in Las Vegas for the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E). Todd Eilers and Adam Krejcik were, of course, among them. The two made some bold predictions at G2E 2018, including the prediction that there’s vast room for continued growth in the USA and Canada slot machines market.

“There are 106,000 slots currently installed in 10 legal route markets in North America,” Eilers told the crowd of attendees. “We believe there is untapped potential for an additional 200,000 to 300,000 incremental games.”

He also notes that of the total $6.9 billion in global gaming equipment sales last year, an estimated 81% ($5.59bn) was linked directly to slot machine installments. Eilers estimates the overall figure is on pace to reach $7.1 billion by the end of 2018.

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