May 18

Where to Begin: The most played casino gambling games in Canada

If you’re new to casino gambling, you may be wondering where to begin. Don’t feel bad – every gambler has a “first time” experience. We all had to start somewhere. Most people are far too intimidated to sit at a live dealer table right off the bat, leading us to the slots or video poker machines, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Building up a little confidence first can be a good thing.

For he most part, I believe casino gambling is an experience best enjoyed for entertainment value. To get the most entertainment out of it, you need to try a little bit of everything. Not all at once, mind you, but to get a good grasp of what’s out there, and what you enjoy most, you’ll need to spread your wings.

For beginners, I generally recommend starting out with the most popular types of games. That way, you’re most likely to find something genuinely exciting, without limiting yourself too much.

The Most Played Casino Gambling Games in Canada

You can’t go wrong playing the most popular casino games in the country. They may not all be your cup of tea, but there’s surely something fun for every Canadian on this list. After all, they are the most played games for a reason. So, without further ado, here they are…

#1 Slot Machines

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #1 Slots

Don’t look so surprised! Yes, these games draw the intimidated newbies like moths to a flame, but it’s not just their solitary nature that makes them so approachable. Slot machines are just plain fun. Manufacturers endow with them with incredibly attractive themes – everything from tropical destinations and unimaginable wealth, to hit TV shows and Hollywood films.

If there’s anything out there you genuinely love, you can bet there’s a slot machine themed around it. With crystalline graphics, enthralling animations, and exciting features, it really is hard to deny the entertainment value in a good old fashioned (or digitally modernized) slot machine.

#2 Poker

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #2 Poker

It’s true – Texas Hold’em (and other variants) draws a vast crowd of Canadian players to the felt; or the virtual felt, as the case may often be. There’s something about competing against other players like yourself that makes poker so intriguing.

Sure, the games are fun on their own, but when you know you have this much control over your destiny – when you know that your level of skill, the decisions you make, and your ability to convince someone that you have the best hand (whether you really do or not) is far more impact on your odds of winning than pure luck – it’s easy to see the appeal for live and online poker in Canada.

#3 Roulette

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #3 Roulette

None can deny the exponential thrill that takes hold when that wheel starts spinning. Your bets are on the table, and their fate is entirely up to the speed, weight, and trajectory of that little ball, bouncing and bobbling around the wheel’s many numbered columns. The adrenaline pumps ever faster as it finally makes its descent into that fateful pocket. Then, with wide-eyed wonder or the inevitable pangs of disappointment, we place more bets only to see the process repeated.

The thrill of anticipation is by far the main attraction of roulette. However, there are some things you should know before you choose this game. First and foremost, pay attention to the number of zeroes on the table and wheel. If there is a zero (0) and double zero (00), it’s the American version. It has the worst house edge of them all, 5.26%. If there’s just a single zero (0), it’s the European version, featuring a house edge of 2.7%. Better still, if it has a single zero (0) and features the La Partage rule, it is French Roulette, which features the lowest possible 1.35% house edge on all even-money bets, and 2.7% on all others.

#4 Blackjack

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #4 Blackjack

Just as roulette is loved for its simplicity, lacking any real strategy (aside from gamer selection) to increase your odds, blackjack is loved for the opposite reasons. In blackjack, players do have some control over their fate. A player’s decisions can make or break their experience. That doesn’t mean the smartest players will gain an edge over the house. The rules make that virtually impossible (without some fancy card counting techniques). But a smart player can easily achieve a house edge of around 0.25%.

It’s this knowledge that makes blackjack such a popular casino game in Canada. Not necessarily the strategic knowledge itself, but the knowledge that such strategy exists. Even knowing it’s available, you’d be surprised how many players don’t employ even basic strategy. The majority play on gut instinct. While professional may scoff at such behavior, there’s something to be said for the increased entertainment value of playing off the cuff, so to speak.

#5 Baccarat

Most Played Casino Gambling Games #5 Baccarat

I’m convinced that the popularity of baccarat (pronounced bah-kuh-rah, not back-a-rat) has everything to do with its depiction in Hollywood films. There’s nothing more dramatically suspenseful than watching James Bond play baccarat (aka Chemin de Fer) in so many of Ian Fleming’s iconic 007 films. – Casino Royale (1953), Dr. No (1962), Thunderball (1965), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), For Your Eyes Only (1981), and Golden Eye (1995).

The game itself is somewhat complicated to learn, and yet extremely simple to play. The way the cards are dealt, and the hands are built, is based on a complex system of rules. But you – the player – do not need to understand the rules to partake. All you need to know is how to place a bet. Drop your chips on the Banker, or the Player, or if you’re feeling particularly lucky, the Tie bet. That’s all you have to do. The dealer will take care of the rest.

As for strategy, the best thing you can do is bet on the Banker – always. There’s a 5% commission on all winning Banker bets, but the rules of the game still give the Bank hand a slight advantage, reducing the house edge to 1.6%. The Player hand carries a 1.24% edge. Don’t bother with those Tie bets either. They come in at a dastardly 9.5%.

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Jan 18

How to play Fast Poker online (even though you shouldn’t.)

Learn How to Play Fast Poker Online, Even Though You Probably Shouldn’t

New casino games are, well… nothing new. They come along all the time. Game inventors are constantly looking for the next big thing. Most games never even make it to the casino floor. Of those that do earn a trial run, most of them fail. Some new games skip the land-based option altogether, earning their stripes in the digital realm. Such is the potential fate of Fast Poker, a new online card game from SmartSoft Gaming.

How to Play Fast Poker Online

The first thing you need to know is that Fast Poker is a house-banked casino game, not a player-versus-player poker game. You won’t be competing against the dealer, either. In fact, Fast Poker is more like a video poker game, where players win for achieving a high enough hand rank. The difference is that you get to choose which cards to place in your hand, rather than being randomly dealt cards from the top of a shuffled deck.

Here’s what you need to know…

The game is dealt from a 20-card deck, consisting of four of each 10, J, Q, K and Ace. This set up increases the chances of being dealt high ranking hands – especially the highest paying a Royal Flush. All 20 cards are dealt face down at the top of the screen. The object of the game is to achieve a hand rank worth of a payout (see Fast Poker Pay Table below)

Fast Poker Rules & Game Play

  1. The game begins when you choose a bet size (0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20) and press the Play button.
  2. From the 20 face down cards, you will select five cards to build you hand. Your chosen cards will turn face up and move to the bottom section of the screen, labeled Your Cards.
  3. Once all five cards are selected, they will automatically settle in the highest ranking hand position. If the hand ranks high enough for a payout, you win the corresponding amount displayed on the pay table. If not, you lose your bet.
Learn How to Play Fast Poker Online

How to Win – Fast Poker Pay Table

There are only five winning hands in Fast Poker, with payouts ranging from 2x to 100x the bet. Winning hands, values, and the probability you’ll receive them, are as follows:

5-Card Hand RankPayoutProbability
Royal Flush100:10.026%
4 of a Kind20:10.516%
Full House10:13.096%
Straight3:16.579%
3 of a Kind2:112.38%
Anything ElseLose77.40%
House Edge = 11.64%

The Good – The Bad – The Ugly

What’s good about this game is the overall entertainment value. I think allowing players to choose their own cards gives them a sense of control, increasing the overall enjoyment. It doesn’t change the odds in any way, mind you, but it does make players feel better. A happy player is a repeat player.

What’s bad about this game is the probability of actually winning. As you can see from the pay table above, odds are that 77.4% of your hands will be losers. That’s more than 3/4 of all games that will end in either a pair or two pair, both of which are losing hands. Only 12.6% will result in a 3 of a kind or anything better, worthy of a win.

Last but not least, the ugly part – the house edge of 11.64%. Players can only expect to win back 89.36% of their wagers. That’s as bad as most Las Vegas slot machines, and the reason we say you probably shouldn’t play Fast Poker online at all.

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Jan 04

Curious Comparison: Online Slots vs. Virtual Video Poker Games

Curious Comparison: Online Slots take on Virtual Video Poker Machines

Online Slots vs. Video Poker Machines

Slot machines are beloved for their speed, unparalleled ease of play, and, despite a relatively low cost of play, the ability to win a life-altering sum of money in a matter of seconds. Video poker is also capable of paying massive multipliers, but you’ll need a little more knowledge than ‘how to press a button’ to do it. Let’s take a closer look…

Slot Machine Savvy

Slots are by far the easiest game to play in a casino. Online or on land, the requirements are the same. Choose an amount to wager, spin the reels, cross your fingers. A few seconds later, the results are in. You win some, and you lose some. That’s all there is to it.

Slot machines can also be confusing, though. The truth is, at least one-third of all slots players don’t really know what they’re doing; or rather, why they’re winning or losing. They just know that, if they keep pressing the spin button, they might win. Few players actually bother to read the pay tables, which detail all the winning combinations, their respective value, and in many cases, the average return to player (RTP) the game will pay back.

Why don’t so many players know about this? Because they don’t need to (refer back to the previous paragraph). Anyone interested in learning more can check out this UNLV paper on How Slot Machines Work.

Virtual Video Poker Games

Video poker takes a bit more knowledge and understanding of the game to play. Most of these machines revolve around on five card draw poker. After placing a bet and pressing the Draw button, you are dealt 5 cards. You can tap on any card you want to Hold (keep), then press Draw again to discard the others and replace them with new ones. If you finish with a worthy hand – usually a Pair of Jacks or better – you win. If not, you lose.

The winning conditions are laid out before you in the pay table, detailed right on the main screen. You’ll see what hands are worthy of a payout, and how much that payout is for each. So, while you are required to make decisions in these games, it’s not exactly a brain strain. Any player with a basic knowledge of poker can do it.

Slot machines are the most common of all casino games. Most players love them. Some are so draw to these virtual reel spinners, they’ve never even tried anything else. If there’s any other gambling machine worthy of your attention, it would have to be video poker. These two games a have a lot in common, yet they are very different in nature and appeal. We’ll take a look at what draws players to slots and video poker games, and what features should be considered when choosing between them.

What’s Better – Slots or Video Poker?

This is a decision every player must make for themselves. If you prefer the mind-numbing blur of ‘spin to win’, slot machines are your best bet. If you’d rather have some strategic control over the outcome of your game, you’ll want to choose virtual video poker games. If you’re serious about winning, we suggest giving this next article a read:

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Apr 03

Is postponement in the cards for the 2020 WSOP schedule?

Is Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

An unprecedented series of events flipped the world upside down in March 2020. Covid-19 went from a shocking news story out of China to a global pandemic that’s got everyone huddled in their homes; some voluntarily, some by government mandate. That includes the countless professional and amateur poker players who flock to Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas each year to attend the world’s most prestigious poker festival of them all – the World Series of Poker.

Last year, more than 182,000 people turned out for the 2019 WSOP, registering for one or more of the 90 events in the 50th anniversary edition of the poker tournament series. This year, just as many – if not more – were expected to attend. But with the current situation, it’s not certain what’s going to happen when it comes time to “Shuffle Up and Deal!

Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

Seth Palansky, the WSOP’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, has been on the phone with numerous media outlets in the past week or so. The biggest question on the interview docket is an obvious one:

Will there be a 2020 WSOP?

There are only three possible answers to this question. It can either be held, canceled, or postponed. Unfortunately, that’s a question Mr. Palansky has been unable to answer. According to the WSOP spokesman, that’s not going to change for a while. He doesn’t expect organizers to come to a decision before May.

That’s a long wait for the countless poker players who are surely waiting for a decision. The 2020 WSOP was originally scheduled to run from May 26 to July 15, with a record-setting 101 gold-bracelet events on the roster.

To date, World Series executives have already pulled the plug on 10 WSOP Circuit events since March 13, when the global pandemic first led to social distancing. Future Circuit events schedule through May have already been scratched off the menu, as well. It only makes sense that the official WSOP bracelet series would be either canceled or postponed, but to date, officials refuse to make the call.

“We Don’t Need to Make a Decision Now”

Last week, in an interview with Jim Barnes of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Seth told the poker community that no decision will be made until it has to be, and until then, it will remain business as usual.

“We keep our heads down, keep planning in place,” said Palansky. “We don’t need to make a decision now.”

Further comments pointed towards potential postponement. Palansky said that the WSOP is normally unable to reschedule, due to the Rio in Las Vegas having a packed convention slate. Now, with many conventions being canceled, he says it could give them enough wiggle room to run the tournament series at a later date.

But again, no official word has come down, nor does he expect it to anytime soon. In another interview with CardPlayer Magazine this week, he reiterated his previous statements.

“Everyone’s health and safety is paramount in the decision making, and there is no need to make a decision today,” said Palansky.

As for what might impact the decision of organizers in weeks to come, he said:

There are a plethora of factors to consider, especially when you conceptualize alternatives. That said, the only factor that matters for the WSOP, for it to be held as planned, is the health and safety of guests and staff. So, if we can’t host an event like we have in the past 50 years in Las Vegas, where everyone can participate safely and without risk, we won’t.”

Seth added that contingency plans are being discussed everyday, but as the situation constantly changes and evolves, it’s impossible to come up with a definitive solution at this time. His best prediction for a final answer to the mystery of the 2020 WSOP schedule is early May, at best.

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Mar 31

Three worst online casino game ideas that bombed.

What Were They Thinking? Worst Online Casino Game Ideas that Bombed

The online gambling industry is unique in many ways, one being that each internet casino presents limitless borders. An operator can pack in as many games as it wants and never run out of space. As such, virtual gaming floors are the perfect forum for testing out new game ideas.

In the last two decades, we’ve seen a lot of new games rise to ultimate glory. Microgaming’s 243 ways to win slots were a smashing success! Lottery-style sit-n-goes, first introduced by French operator Winamax in 2013, revolutionized internet poker. Live dealer casinos, debuted in 2003 by Playtech and perfected by Evolution Gaming in 2006, solved the lack of realism in RNG-based gambling.

Worst Online Casino Game Ideas that Bombed

Not every game created is an instant success. In fact, just like land-based table game inventions, the majority of them die on the virtual gaming floor – some faster than others.

7-Card Stud video poker was a perfect example. It made the games more complicated than they needed to be. Similarly, 7-reel slot machines failed to attract players, who found them to confusing to keep up with. Duplicate Poker turned players off by elimination the luck factor entirely. Yes, poker players love the skill element, but without the marginal influence of the luck of the draw, no one wanted to play anymore.

Those games were historically bad ideas, but none more so than the three games I’m about to tell you about. These titles died so quickly, today’s players may have completely missed their short-lived appearance.

#1 Showtime Hold’em Poker

Showtime Holdem Poker

Showtime Poker was an online poker variant introduced by PokerStars in May 2018. It was conceived under the premise that players believed it was “about time poker players show their folded cards”. At the end of a hand, all mucked cards would be revealed.

PokerStars wanted this game to take off like a rocket! They were so enthused about it that they contracted some of their most famous pros to build hype by streaming Showtime Poker tables on their live Twitch feeds.

There were two major problems with this format. Pro players hated it, because it forced them to give away their game play secrets. Amateurs hated it because they don’t give a crap about seeing mucked cards. End result – everyone hated it!

#2 Live Casino Slot Machines

In 2011, the creative minds at Evolution Gaming believed they’d had an epiphany. Live casinos are a perfect playground for table games, but they were unable to accommodate players of the most popular casino games on the planet – slot machines. Enter stage right, live dealer slots.

This bold introduction was meant to revolutionize the live casino industry. Evolution put a lot of thought and detail into its debut, going so far as to replace virtual reels with actual spinning wheels. A dealer would host the game, offering commentary and providing live chat interaction with players.

What went wrong? Well, slots players enjoy traditional slot games for a reason. They like the singularity. They like controlling the pace of the games. Turning slot machines into a social affair was unnecessary, uninvited, and unwelcome.

Of worthy mention, live dealer slot machines are attempting a comeback this year, although I don’t expect the results to be any different.

#3 Virtual Reality (VR) Gambling

VR Casino Gambling

This is one concept most of you will remember. It wasn’t long ago, around 2015-16, that the virtual reality movement made its push. The concept was spot on. Throw on a headset and enter a virtual casino world, where your real-life actions transfer into the virtual realm in the most realistic digital casino games ever imagined exist!

Yes, it was quite a concept, but it did not catch on, and for one very simple reason. The technology necessary, and availability of that technology, has not yet reached mainstream households. That’s not to say that VR gambling doesn’t still have a chance in years to come.

Microgaming was making mobile games back in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the first smartphones appeared. Who wanted to play slots on a flip phone? No one. Another five years would pass before the mobile gambling revolution actually gained a foothold, and now, it’s the number one way to play over the internet, and enjoy all the new online casino game ideas that developers are constantly spitting out – the good and the bad.

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Mar 26

Play Games Online: It’s good for your mental and physical health!

Play Games Online – It’s Good for Your Mental and Physical Health

I don’t think I have to explain the “physical” side of that statement right now. The world is currently in the grips of a global pandemic as the novel coronavirus – COVID-19 – bears down upon us. Everything from public schools to non-essential life-sustaining businesses are closed. Millions of people are going online to file for unemployment, and at the same time, looking for ways to entertain and amuse themselves and their families without leaving their home.

There’s not a parent today that hasn’t heard it’s vital we “limit screen time” for our children. Some advise no more than 30 minutes a day looking at a screen. I think we can all agree that everyone, no matter the age, is using screens far more than 30 minutes a day, and we have been since long before the term “social distancing” became a household phrase. Now, screen time may be the best thing for us – not all of the time, but a generous portion of it.

Play Games Online – It’s Good For Your Health!

As it turns out, online gaming can be extremely good for your physical and psychological well being. Yes, the physical aspect is that you can play games on a computer, smartphone or tablet while practicing social distancing. You don’t have to interact physically with anyone, or even leave your home, to do it. But what are the psychological benefits?

Let’s take a look…

  • Entertainment: The most obvious benefit to your psyche is the entertainment value. No one likes to be bored – especially children! Online games give us something fun and interesting to do while we wait for answers to the coronavirus crisis.
  • Interaction: Being locked up inside all day – and all night – has left billions of people all over the world craving for human interaction. We can call our friends and loved ones, and video chat with them on Facetime or some other video-conferencing app, but there’s only so much to be said in a basic conversation. Playing online games with each other enhances the interactive experience ten-fold.
  • Stimulating Brain Function: There are many games out there that are specifically designed to enhance brain function and motor skills. Other games do this naturally. A match-3 jewel game trains our brains to recognize patterns. Crossword puzzles keep our eyes, and our vocabulary, sharp. Online casino games like blackjack, video poker and Texas Hold’em, give us the opportunity to invoke mathematically and probability driven strategies. Even something as seemingly ineffectual as Angry Birds puts our cognitive mentality to work, considering the best trajectory for one-shot success. Many of these games can be played socially against other players, providing the same interactive entertainment mentioned above.
  • Stress Reduction: These are strange times we live in. There’s no denying an elevated rate of stress and anxiety among the global population. Games have forever been a go-to for stress relief. Recent studies have shown that those who play games online – particularly video games – are able to combat stress. If it can work for a 15 minute break during the work day, it can work at home during these unprecedented times.
  • Quality Family Time: I think we can all agree that quality time with the family doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. COVID-19 has certainly changed that. Families are digging out dusty board games, shuffling up decks of cards, and downloading digital PC and console video games more than ever. Fortnite’s 4-man squads aren’t just made up of school mates these days, but families. I can personally attest to that!

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Mar 13

Internet Casino Gambling: Can I win real money at online casinos?

Internet Casino Gambling: Can you win real money at online casinos?

As a long-time iGamer, it seems strange to me that people still ask this question. Online casinos have been around so long, the industry itself is of legal gambling age! They actually started popping up in the mid to late 1990s. But alas, I do realize not everyone has been spinning digital slots reels and flipping virtual cardboard as long as I have, so let’s start from the top…

“Can I win real money at online casinos?”

Yes! There are thousands of internet gambling sites that permit customers to deposit money, make real wagers, and withdrawal their winnings as cash. But it’s not as easy as all that. You can’t go to Google, search “online casino”, click the first link you see and start playing. You can’t even type in “real money online casino” and get the right links these days.

In the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain (in brief) how the system works, how to know if you’re eligible to gamble online, and how to find the right sites to do it safely, securely, and fairly.

Internet Casino Gambling – The Basics

There are two types of internet casinos. The first and most common is a “social casino”. Their games are free to play, but will never award real money. Most of them are mobile phone apps with in-app purchases. You can pay cash for chips, but you can’t trade your chips back for cash. This is not gambling.

Online gambling can only be only done at “real money casinos”. They won’t offer the option to register your account via Google or Facebook. You have to fill out an inclusive registration form, complete with your real name, real address, real date of birth, etc. Once you do this, you’ll need to make a deposit from a financial account or credit/debit card belonging to you.

Once you’re account is funded, you’ll get a nice bonus of some sort to enhance your bankroll. You can then browse the full menu of casino games – slot machines, table games, video poker, etc. you’ll have the option to play the games for real money, or for free in demo/practice mode.

How do I know if it’s legal for me to gambling online?

Every jurisdiction has its own laws that apply to online gambling. They come in three distinct varieties:

  • Expressly Legal: These are explicit laws that specifically address the act of gambling online to be legal. Certain European countries (UK, France, Spain, Italy, etc.) and US states (New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, etc.) have these laws in place. These laws will define the age requirements for gambling in their respective jurisdictions.
  • Expressly Illegal: Like the section above, these are express laws that specifically name the act of gambling online – or certain forms of gambling online – to be illegal. In these jurisdictions, residents are not permitted to participate in real money online casino games. Australia, for instance, explicitly legalizes online sports betting, but expressly prohibits online poker and casino gambling.
  • Not Expressly Defined / Grey Market: The term “grey market” applies to a jurisdiction in which the laws do not explicitly permit or prohibit an activity. In short, it is not illegal, therefore it is legal. Canada is a perfect example.
    The laws in Canada are so unclear that it is considered legal to gamble online at offshore casinos, as well as the government-run casinos of certain provinces. The only ones that are truly “illegal” are online casinos operating within Canada, but without the regulatory consent of their local government.

If you’re still not sure, check with your local authorities for clarification.

How to Find Real Money Online Casinos

This has been one of the most frustrating problems for novice players. As I mentioned above, you can’t just search for a relevant key phrase on Google and expect to find one. While there are around 4,000 gambling sites online, there are literally millions of affiliate websites competing for your traffic. Thus, these affiliate sites will appear in the search engines long before an actual casino operator does.

The best advice I can offer is to be very specific in what you’re searching for, because most affiliate sites cater to anyone and everyone. Look for operators that apply to your situation. They should accept players from your country, process deposits and withdrawals in your preferred payment methods, offer the games you like most, etc. If they don’t fit your needs, they’re no good to you.

Use those affiliate links to make a short list of possible candidates, but you don’t have to take their word at face value. After all, affiliates are looking to make money, and to be honest, most of them don’t care about the players nearly so much as they do the profit. You can protect yourself by performing a bit of due diligence on the sites you shortlist.

Here’s a bit of reading material that should help you out with this.

If you find the above challenge too daunting, you can always skip all that and do your online gambling at Royal Vegas. Don’t trust me just because I said it. Trust me because Royal Vegas is 20 years old, employs the industry’s oldest and most respected software brand, Microgaming, is licensed in the immensely respected European jurisdiction of Malta, and offers upwards of 1,000 games, including live dealer casino games. Internet casino gambling doesn’t get any safer than that.

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Mar 03

A quick look at the current financial ups and down of the world’s biggest online gambling companies.

Ups and Down for the Biggest Online Gambling Companies in the World

No company rides the wave of success forever. Even the biggest and brightest names of an industry suffer hardships now and again. Every wave has its crest and fall. It’s the companies that recover from each crash that attain ultimate success. The online gambling industry is a perfect example.

According to the latest revenue reports from all over the globe, major brands like Flutter Entertainment, Playtech and Gamesys are all experiencing the ups and downs of the pivotal waves of finance. Some are looking up; some are stumbling; others are recovering from errors of the past.

Ups & Downs of Biggest Online Gambling Companies

This week saw a trio of major iGaming operators and software vendors riding those waves. Ireland’s Flutter Ent announced a boost in cash flow, while Isle of Man-based Playtech reported a marginal loss. At the same time, London-based Gamesys is appreciating a bit of breathing room as that company crawls its way back out of debt.

2019 Revenue “Flutters” Skyward 14%

The head honchos at Flutter Entertainment have a lot to be grateful for as last year’s final revenue tallies come in. Following a strain of good fortune (including a pending merger with Pokerstars owner, The Stars Group), the Irish company, owner of Paddy Power, Betfair, Sportsbet.com.au, Adjarabet, FanDuel and others, proudly announced a 14.3% boost in revenue year over year.

The most notable increases came in sports betting and casino gaming, both online and on land. Sports betting operations were up 13.1% to £1.67 billion. Land-based gaming revenues rose 18.5% to £473 million. Online gaming jumped 6.1% to £1.01 billion. All told, the company pulled in £2.4 billion in 2019.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson called the results a “testament to the quality of our products, brand and team.”

Playtech Records Net Loss Near €20 Million

The board room was less cheerful at Playtech headquarters this week, where the financial officers reported a total loss of €19.6 million on the year. It wasn’t all bad news, though. Overall, revenue was actually up an impressive 23% to €1.51 billion, thanks largely to a 56%, €900 million boost in B2C revenue.

Playtech Chairman Alan Jackson gave an optimistic statement that notes the strategically added expenses associated with “entering newly regulated markets, signing new customers, expanding existing relationships and continuing to innovate with new product launches.” Such elements combine to reflect the expected cost of “laying the foundations for our future growth,” said Jackson.

Gamesys Pays Down 7% of Debt

Last year, JPJ Group (JackpotJoy) purchased the flagging software brand, Gamesys Ltd, with hopes of revitalizing the once successful product. So far, so good. This week, the company reported a principle payment of £40 million on its loans, reducing its previous debt of £484.7 million by 7% ahead of their annual financial report, due March 17. The payment is expected to save Gamesys £2.7 million in interest payments this year alone.

Gamesys CFO Keith Laslop comments: “As we’ve stated previously, a key strategic goal for the Board is to have our long-term leverage ratio in-line with our peers… today’s paydown is an important first step in attaining that goal.”

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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.

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

Jan 09

Realistic impact of Canadian online betting with international sites.

The Realistic Impact of Canadian Online Betting with International Websites

It was more than two decades ago now that the online gambling industry skidded across the proverbial tarmac to its launch. Times were far different in the 1990s. Computers, and the internet in particular, were still striving for mainstream household status. Security technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is today. Legal restrictions were virtually non-existent. At that time, everyone who trusted internet gambling enough to partake in its immaturity did so with operators all over the world.

Today, with global online and mobile gambling businesses generating billions of dollars each year, most governments are encouraging – if not legally mandating – residents to do their iGaming with a locally regulated operator. Odds are, if you live in a jurisdiction where internet gaming is legal, your government is taking steps to keep your wagering dollars within their jurisdictional borders.

Canada is one such nation. Every province that delivers a home-grown iGaming service (all but Alberta and Saskatchewan) encourages local play. The difference between Canada and some other jurisdictions, including numerous European and US states, is that Canadians can gamble at any website they wish. In Canada, iGaming is legal for players whether the online casino is locally regulated, or internationally operated. Freedom of choice is fantastic, but as is true of most things in life, every choice you make has an impact.

Canadian Online Betting with Offshore Sites

Our government tells us we should never gamble with offshore websites. So what is it that makes these websites so bad? According to provincial governments, there are three primary problems. We’ll take a look at these claims and dissect the reality of each situation.

#1 No Benefit to Provincial Coffers (True)

First and foremost, offshore sites aren’t providing our provinces with any revenue. The government has stated many times that millions of dollars are flowing offshore due to Canadians gambling with international websites. There’s no arguing with them on this one. They are 100% right.

If you lost $100 at BC’s PlayNow online casino, that money goes to the BC Lottery Corp, which reinvests it back into BC communities. If you lose $100 at Maltese-licensed Royal Vegas Casino, that money never sees the Canadian light of day again.

#2 Lack of Regulation / Player Protection (False)

Canadian provinces say international gambling websites are not regulated, and that they do not protect players from the potential harms of gambling. To address that first point, international gambling sites are, indeed, regulated. They just aren’t regulated here in Canada. The most reputable ones are regulated in European jurisdictions (UK, Malta, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, etc.), where player protections are actually more strict than Canadian law.

For instance, in the UK, licensees are required to monitor all gambling activity and intervene when at-risk behavior is detected, encouraging players to take a break and think about the potential consequences of their spending. Voluntary self-exclusion and deposit limits can be set by players. Regular software audits and fairness certification is mandatory. This is hardly different from the GameSense program promoted by most Canadian provinces.

#3 Offshore Gambling Sites are Illegal (False)

On several occasions, our provincial government’s have gone so far as to say international gambling websites are illegal. Anyone with a basic understanding of the English language, and the patience to read the relevant text in the Criminal Code, knows that’s not true.

Online casinos games, poker games, bingo games, etc. – these are not illegal. We can play them at Canada’s land-based casinos, as well as some of the nation’s provincial online casinos, so long as we are physically located in the province that offers them. We can also play them at international gambling websites, despite those claims.

Province’s like to call them illegal because it is illegal for them to offer some of those games. Take single-event sports betting for example. The Criminal Code says single-event sports betting cannot be authorized or presented to Canadians. It is illegal to do so. However, the law does not states Canadians can place single-event sports bets. The penalty of law lies with the receiver of the bettor, not the placer of the bet.

Offshore betting sites are not bound by Canadian law. If single-event sports betting is permitted in the country that regulates the website, it can be offered to Canadian players without consequence. Therefore, it is perfectly legal for Canadians to bet on sports, so long as the bets are placed with an international sportsbook.

What’s Better – Domestic or International iGaming?

That is a question that can only be answered by the person doing the gambling. If your home province offers an iGaming website that meets all of your needs and wagering desires, by all means, utilize its services. At the least, your losses will go back into the community. If you want more from your iGaming experience, so long as you only gamble at reputable, strictly regulated websites, you will be perfectly protected, and are not doing anything illegal.

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