Sep 09

Influence of sports on Canada slot machines online and on land.

Influence of Sports on Canada Slot Machines Online and On Land

You wouldn’t think sports betting and traditional casino games, like slot machines and table games, would have much in common. Yes, they’re both forms of gambling. And yes, both can be enjoyed at most of the world’s casinos; especially here in Canada, since single-game betting was legalized earlier this year. But the similarities end there… or do they?

In truth, sports have impacted the casino gambling market quite a bit. We’ll take a look at the influence of popular Canadian sports on different types of gambling, and how it’s helping to attract more players to the tables and machines; not just in land-based casinos, but online as well.

Sports in Canada Slot Machines Online and On Land

This is the most obvious casino gaming genre influenced by fan-based sports. Think about the types of athletics Canadians enjoy most. Of course, we absolutely love ice hockey. Seven of the NHL’s 32 teams are based in Canada. We’re also big basketball and baseball fans, home to the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies, and the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays. We don’t have an NFL football team, but we do host our own Canadian league, the CFL, and many of us enjoy watching (and betting on) American football, too. That’s not to mention soccer, tennis, golf, etc.

These are just the most popular sports in Canada. And if you’ve been to any casinos lately – especially the online variety – you may have noticed just how many slot machines integrate these sports themes into their gameplay.

Sports Themed Online Slots

Basketball Slots - Basketball Star

All the major gambling software companies have built slots for NHL fans. We have Break Away by Microgaming, the Ice Hockey Slot from Playtech, Hockey League and Hockey Hero by Pragmatic Play and Push Gaming, respectively. There are far more basketball themed slots to choose from; Microgaming’s Basketball Star, iSoftBet’s Slam Dunk, Playtech even has a license-branded slot machine called Dennis Rodman. Dozens of baseball themes exist as well. I’ll never forget the first time I came across Microgaming’s farcical 3-reel gem, The Umpire Strikes Back.

Even Table Games Incorporate Sports Themes

Surely you’re familiar with roulette, but have you ever played Touchdown Roulette? It’s a standard American roulette game with a side bet that goes into play if the ball lands in 0 or 00. If this happens, a simulated football game is played using four spins of the roulette wheel. Each qualifying player chooses a team – red or black – and the results of the next four spins determine which team wins.

There’s an exciting Touchdown Blackjack game, too. It’s a traditional game of blackjack on the surface, played hand by hand. At the same time, players start on the 20 yard line, gaining yardage for successful splits and doubles, or losing yardage when the dealer gets blackjack. Once a touchdown is scored, the player can kick the extra point and start another drive.

The most interesting sports-themed table game I’ve seen yet is Evolution Gaming’s Live Football Studio. It’s not the football we’re used to, but rather European football; a.k.a. soccer.

Sports Themed Table Games Live Football Studio by Evolution Gaming

What they did was take the traditional Asian table game, Dragon Tiger, and gave it a sporty twist. Instead of betting on Dragon or Tiger, players bet on the Home Team or Away Team. Otherwise, the rules are identical. What makes it really interesting for football/soccer fans is that the background displays live games, assuming any are actively being played. It’s especially fun when a big game is on. The crowd (of online players) really tends to get involved as the dealer commentates on the live game.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Jul 23

Anticipating the launch date for legal sports betting in Canada.

FAQ & Expected Launch Date for Legal Sports Betting in Canada

Like most major countries of the world, sports is a very big deal here in Canada. We love our ice hockey, just as Brits love soccer, Australians love Aussie rules, and Americans love baseball (and basketball, and football, and boxing – I could go on.) It doesn’t have to be hockey, though. Like Americans, we Canadians are drawn all sorts of major sporting leagues, from CFL and NFL football, to NBA basketball. (Go Raptors!)

Now, like so many other major countries, Canadians will soon have a legal and locally regulated means of betting on sports. Not just low-odds parlay bets, either, but real, bettor-friendly, single-event wagers. The kinds of bets that attract genuine sports fans. We’re talking about everything from game winners and point totals, to futures and live in-play betting.

Speaking of futures, now that the government has legalized single-game betting, what’s the future look like for Canadian sports fans?

Canada Sports Betting FAQ

This FAQ will answer some of the most common questions, including how soon we can expect live and online sportsbooks to launch in Canada. But first…

Is Single-Game Sports Betting Really Legal in Canada?

Yes! On June 22, 2021, The Senate passed Bill C-218, otherwise known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. Exactly one week later, on June 29, 2021, the measure received Royal Assent, officially enacting it into law.

The Summary of the legislation reads:

This enactment amends paragraph 207(4)‍(b) of the Criminal Code to make it lawful for the government of a province, or a person or entity licensed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of that province, to conduct and manage a lottery scheme in the province that involves betting on a race — other than a horse-race — or fight, or on a single sport event or athletic contest.”

Wait – was sports betting illegal before?

Not exactly. It was illegal for any provincial regulator to provide anything more than multi-pick, parlay betting. Provinces have done this for years, promoting it as a sports lottery. And it was illegal for any Canadian-based company to offer any form of gambling without provincial authorization. However, there’s nothing illegal about placing bets with international sports betting websites. So long as they have no physical presence in Canada, they are not bound by Canadian law.

The only real difference before and after the passage of Bill C-218 is that Canadians will now be able to place single bets with locally licensed and regulated sportsbooks (not just the international variety), and our own government will profit from it.

Will All Provinces and Territories Adopt Single-Game Sports Betting?

Most likely, yes, with the sole exception (maybe) of the territory of Nunavut. Nunavut is the only region that may choose to refrain, simply because commercial gaming has never been authorized there.

At present, Canada’s 10 provinces, plus the Northwest Territories and Yukon, offer the current parlay-style sports lottery. Most of of them also provide casino games and lotteries, either online, on land, or both. It would certainly make sense that these jurisdictions would want to work quickly to convert to single-game sports betting in the digital and retail space.

Will There Be Online Sportsbooks in Canada?

Absolutely! As previously stated, most jurisdictions already promote a locally operated online gaming portal. There’s no doubt that the new rules will be applied to both retail and online sports betting operations. In fact, some provinces were so eager for legalization, they were prepared for launch the moment the law went into effect.

British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC) has already made clear its intentions to launch an online sportsbook the moment they are legally capable and prepared to do so. It says it right on their iGaming portal, PlayNow.

Is There a Launch Date for Sports Betting in Canada?

This is the question everyone wants answered – when will single-game betting arrive in Canada? Unfortunately, no one is talking about actual dates yet. In fact, regulators aren’t talking much at all, except to say that sportsbooks are coming. That leaves us with little more than the obvious speculation that a launch could and should occur sometime this Fall.

Why in the Fall, you ask? Well, for one, regulatory guidelines and licensing stipulations must still be written, and there isn’t a lot of summer left to work with. Second, provincial regulators are hoping to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible, because as the old saying goes – “time is money”. And third, the 2021-22 NHL season gets underway October 12. This should light a big enough fire beneath local legislators to get the job done, post haste.

What Commercial Sportsbooks are Coming to Canada?

There’s little doubt that all of Canada’s provincial iGaming portals will launch a sportsbook. What makes this new legislation so interesting, however, is that commercial operators are being given permission to compete – not just in the retail market, like casinos, but in the virtual market. Never before has Canada’s online gambling industry been allowed to host competition within jurisdictions.

It’s too early to devise a definitive list of what companies are going to compete in this upcoming market, assuming provinces choose to let them. Licensing guidelines have yet to be finalized, and until they are, license applications cannot be submitted for appraisal. Even then, there are no guarantees – except maybe one. Canada will cater to its home-town-hero sports betting brand, theScore Bet.

Of all the commercial operators looking to expand from the US market into Canada, theScore is the only one with roots deeply embedded in the Great White North. Another highly-likely competitor is PointsBet. That company recently launched an all new Canadian Operations team, appointing CEO Scott Vanderwel and CCO Nik Sulsky. If nothing else, PointsBet’s determination to penetrate the market is indubitably clear.

Here’s a list of operators you can expect to see opening Canadian sportsbooks (in order of most-probable), and why we think they’ll be approved to do so.

theScore Bet – Based out of Toronto, theScore runs one of the nation’s most popular sports media brands. This company might as well already have the license in hand.

PointsBet – These guys have set up an entire Canadian division for their company, complete with executive figureheads. They’ll stop at nothing to get a foot in the door.

DraftKings – This brand already operates online and mobile DFS betting in Canada, and is a respected member of the Canadian Gaming Association.

FanDuel – This is another brand that already operates online and mobile DFS betting in Canada.

Caesars – A global brand, this one owns and operates Caesars Windsor in Ontario, one of the largest integrated resort casinos in the country. It’s also an active member of the Canadian Gaming Association.

Hard Rock – An American based company, they own and operate the famous Hard Rock Vancouver in BC, and will soon open another Hard Rock Casino in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. They’re also is a member of the Canadian Gaming Association

BetMGM – Because Wayne Gretzy said so

What Sports Will Be Available for Betting?

Sports availability is sure to mimic the major events already available in certain US states. As we’ve seen there, variety will surely differ from one operator to the next. You can expect to find all major sportinging events and tournaments, including the following:

  • Baseball (MLB)
  • Basketball (NBA)
  • Football (CFL, NFL)
  • Golf (PGA Tour)
  • Hockey (NHL)
  • Olympic Games
  • Soccer (European, MLS)
  • Tennis (Grand Slam)

What is the Legal Age to Bet on Sports in Canada?

The legal age to gamble in Canada varies from one province and territory to the next. The following alphabetical chart shows the appropriate age for sports betting across the country.

Provinces and Territories of CanadaLegal Betting Age
Alberta18
British Columbia19
Manitoba18
New Brunswick19
Newfoundland & Labrador19
Northwest Terrorizes19
Nova Scotia19
Nunavut19
Ontario19
Prince Edward Island19
Quebec18
Saskatchewan19
Yukon19

What Payment Methods will be Available?

Like the sports categories themselves, availability of banking options will be determined by each operator. No doubt, debit cards will top every list, just as they do now on Canada’s provincially run iGaming portals. Canadian exclusive payment methods like Interac eTransfer are sure to get some attention, along with major web wallets like Paypal. If the US market is any indication, Canada’s sportsbooks may also look to employ the versatility of a Play+ prepaid gaming card.

All in all, I believe the payment options list for most Canadian sports betting sites will look something like this:

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Play+ Prepaid Card
  • Interac Online
  • eCheck EFT
  • Online Bill Payment
  • Paypal
  • Web Cash
  • PayNearMe

Can I Still Bet at International Online Sportsbooks?

Yes. From a legislative perspective, there is still no reason Canadians can’t do their online betting with offshore operators. It’s never been illegal before, and recently enacted amendments to the law don’t change that. All they’ve done is make it legal for provincial regulators to offer the same single-game sports betting options we’re already able to access via international websites. If you’ve established a report with one of those operators, building your way up the VIP ladder as a loyal member, there’s no reason to stop now.

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

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%.

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

Apr 23

Canadians go wild for new wildlife slot machines at online casinos.

Of all the different genres of casino games, there’s nothing that quite compares to slot machines. They are the most popular of all games in the world, occupying vastly more floor-space than all other gambling amusements combined, despite the fact that a slot cabinet takes up far less space than any single blackjack, baccarat, craps or roulette table ever could. More importantly, slots are so unique that they are capable of being developed with limitless styles, themes and payout schedules. They are the only casino games available that can pay out millions of dollars for a single play, for a cost of nothing more than pocket change.

New Wildlife Slot Machines at Canada Online Casinos

Slot machines with a wilderness motif have long captured the hearts of Canadian gamblers. Not only do we love the outdoors, we have access to an abundant variety of nature’s finest; for many of us, right outside our doorstep. IGaming studios like IGT, the world’s largest creator of physical and digital slot machines, are catering to that distinct love with more new wildlife themed slots than ever.

Kodiak’s Roar Slot by WMS / IGT

Kodiak's Roar Slot

Kodiak’s Roar is a new 5×4 reel, 1024 ways video slot from the creative minds of WMS, subsidiary of IGT. It’s loaded with features, has a max payout potential of x2,500, and offers a medium-high volatility that any true slots fan can appreciate. Its 96.2% RTP is on point with today’s average for online slots.

Aesthetically speaking, Kodiak’s Roar has a lot to offer wildlife fans. It’s main symbol is, of course, the roaring Kodiak bear. A calmer, watchful Kodiak is the wild. Other nature-themed symbols include a moose, owl, red fox, and the bear’s favorite afternoon snack, salmon.

Safari Sam 2 by Betsoft

Safari Sam 2 Slot

If you prefer something a little more off the beaten path – or at least, farther from home – Betsoft’s new Safari Sam 2 might do the trick. Launched in April 2021, it’s a suped-up sequel to the original 2012 release. This 5×3-reel video slot takes players on an adventure into the wild plains of Africa. It comes with a medium volatility, max payout of x505, and an average RTP of 96.3%. All this can be yours for a bet range of $0.20 to $100 per spin.

The game’s 3D animated graphics are a big selling point, following the adventures of Safari Sam and his trusty female sidekick. It comes with two main features – Call of the Wild and Free Spins. Call of the Wild is random, filling up to 4 reels with all wilds. 3, 4 or 5 Acacia Tree Scatters award 7, 12 or 20 free games, during which Call of the Wild triggers on every spin.

Shimmering Woods Slot by Play’n Go

Shimmering Woods Slot

Step into the Shimmering Woods, where magical crystals grow, delighting the enchanted creatures of the forest. Released in March 2021 by Play’n Go, this traditional 5×3 reel slot comes with 243 ways to win, a medium-high variance, and a profit-potential of x25,000 the bet size. Unfortunately, the RTP comes in on the low side at just 94.2%.

The base game is all about the beauty of the forest and the radiant crystals that grow from its foliage. During free spins, the reels have the potential to split from 5×3 to 5×6, boosting the paylines to as high as 7,776 ways to win, multiplied by a Cascading Wins feature.

Buffalo Hold and Win by Booming Games

Buffalo Hold and Win Slot

Netxt up on our wily wildlife-themed slots list is Buffalo Hold and Win, an adventurous 5×3 reel, 25 payline video slot with the ability to pay up to x1,000 coins in a single play. This is a high volatility slot, so the wins don’t come often, but when they do, they tend to pay in large amounts. However, it does have a slightly below average RTP of 95.91%.

The buffalo theme is one the online slots industry has put through the ringer more times than just about any other theme. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand – players demand it, so developers keep on supplying it. This one’s packed with free spins, a hold and win bonus game, and a quick hit feature.

Jaguar Super Ways by Bad Dingo

Jaguar Super Ways Slot

Bad Dingo is a small, independent studio that teamed up with Yggdrasil to build interactive slot with the latter’s patented SuperWays slots feature. Jaguar Super Ways draws players deep into the jungle, where wild cats and exotic creatures rule the land. It’s default 5×3 reels can expand up to 9×9, increasing to as many as 387,420,489 ways to win. A relatively generous 96.25% RTP combines with a medium volatility to award a massive max win of x22,457 on a single spin, costing anywhere from $0.40 to $10 per play.

Jaguar Super Ways runs on the Cacading Wins mechanic, exploding all winning symbols to fill the reels with new ones, creating up to 15 simultaneous wins on a single spin. While that’s enjoyable to watch when luck befalls, this game really falls back on its Super Ways feature – by far the most prominent aspect of the game. Jaguar paws randomly appear across the reels to trigger the feature, highlighted by a 3×3 Mega Paw symbol and the ability to open up all 9×9 reels and max pay ways.

Jaguars Super Ways was launched exclusively at Unibet Casino on April 1, 2021, and makes its way to all Yggdrasil powered online casinos on May 21.

Mega Moolah (Safari) by Microgaming

Mega Moolah Jackpot Poised to Pay at least $12.7 Million

This last one’s not new. In fact, it’s one of the oldest surviving slots on the iGaming market today, released by Microgaming circa 2006. It’s the industry’s most celebrated, highest-paying, millionaire-making progressive. The Mega Moolah is the harbinger of safari-style wildlife slot machines at online casinos, responsible for paying more than $1 billion in progressive prizes to date.

You can learn more about Microgaming’s famous Mega Moolah and other progressive online slots here.

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Mar 01

MP Waugh’s sports betting bill passes second reading with 303-15.

Waugh’s Sports Betting Bill Passes Reading 2 with 303-15 Vote

Canada is one step closer to legalizing single-event sports betting. Last week, a measure that had spent years undervalued in the political arena received near-unanimous consent in the House of Commons. I’m referring, of course, to MP Kevin Waugh’s (Conservative, Saskatoon – Grasswood) Bill C-218, introduced last year in an ongoing effort to decriminalize wagering on single sporting events. With C-218 garnering nods from 303 of the 318 members of the House of Commons, there’s only one step remaining before the bill becomes law, and virtually no opposition to stand in its way.

Wait… What Happened to Gov. Bill C-13?

Since November, everyone with an interest in the widespread legalization of sports betting in Canada has been awaiting the results of Government Bill C-13. That bill, introduced late last year, was a near copy of MP Waugh’s Private Member Bill C-218, which had been on the docket since February 2020. Assuming the Saskatoon MP’s legislation had been all-but forgotten, federal figureheads introduced a higher level bill to get the job done.

The first reading of Bill C-13 passed in November 25, 2020, and support was overwhelming. It marked the first time Canadians felt genuine hope that sports gambling would finally receive the legal expansion they believed it deserved. All eyes were on Parliament Hill, awaiting the new bill’s second reading slated for February 25, 2021. But before that day came, something unexpected occurred.

MP Waugh—who had decided to hold onto his measure beyond the introduction of Bill C-13, partly because its verbiage was slightly different, and also as a back-up plan, “just in case things did not proceed” as hoped—was afforded an opportunity to debate C-218 among his political colleagues. That spontaneous deliberation led to a second reading and vote on Wednesday, February 17.

Round 2: MP Waugh’s Sports Betting Bill Wins 303-15 Vote

The House of Commons displayed rare bipartisan approval for the sports wagering law. The measure was approved by an overwhelmingly popular vote of 303 to 15. And with that, Bill C-13 was no more.

The question many are pondering now is this: After all this time, what was it about Waugh’s debate that convinced so many of his colleagues to favor passage of the single-event sports betting law?

Most likely, it was the MP’s citing of statistics, which attribute lack of legalization to billions of dollars funneling offshore; money that could be so much better utilized to fund local communities and infrastructure.

“We believe, through the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), that it’s a $14 billion dollar industry that Canadian provinces and Canadians are not getting any benefit from,” MP Waugh told news media. That number derives from CGA’s estimates that Canadians spend $4 billion a year at unregulated offshore betting sites, and $10 billion more with illegal domestic bookmakers.

“We don’t get any taxes through organized crime,” Waugh said. “We don’t get any taxes through organizations like Bodog and Bet365 – the offshore sites.” If Bill C-218 makes it into the law books, Waugh said it will grant provinces, “the much-needed money to give back to sports, culture, recreation and hopefully addictions programming, which I am certainly championing along with this bill.”

How Long Before Single-Event Sports Betting Becomes Legal in Canada?

According to MP Waugh himself, single-event sports wagers could be legal as early as Spring. He believes the review, third reading, and final vote in the Senate could occur by the end of May. But it will be a bit longer before Canadians see live and online sportsbooks welcome straight bets on their favorite sports teams.

Passage of Waugh’s sports betting bill would provide provinces with the legal route to script regulations for single-event betting, which they’ll have to do before they can start the process of accepting, reviewing and approving licenses for vendors and operators of sports betting services. Some company’s, like Canada’s locally owned theScore, along with DraftKings, FanDuel and others, are already preparing for the legal shift, which could realistically see this type of sports betting on the market before the year is out.

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Jan 27

Daily Fantasy Sports Apps – Get ’em while they’re hot!

Daily Fantasy Sports Apps – Get ’em While They’re Hot!

Ten years ago, only hard-core sports fans were familiar with the term “daily fantasy sports”, (or DFS for short). Fantasy sports in general have been around for about three decades, but the truncated variation (i.e. “daily”), which caters to the appeal of instant gratification (as opposed to a season-long wait), didn’t really take off until around 2012. That was the year DraftKings showed up to compete against FanDuel, bringing DFS into the limelight. It was a big market, filled with big opportunities, but not one that the world’s largest casino corporations had much interest in. That is, not until now…

Casinos Buying Up Daily Fantasy Sports Apps

The appeal for DFS mobile apps is greater than ever before. This week alone, two of the largest casino conglomerates this side of the planet spent millions of dollars to get in on the lucrative daily fantasy betting market; a trend that’s expected to continue alongside the growth of the online sports gambling industry in the United States.

Bally’s Scoops Up Monkey Knife Fight

On Monday, it was announced that Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corporation has acquired DFS App Monkey Knife Fight. Bally’s, which owns a dozen casino properties across seven US states, invested $90 million in the all-stock takeover of the daily fantasy brand.

This marks just one of many recent acquisitions for the growing gambling company. Other major moves include the purchase of Bally’s Atlantic City, a partnership with media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group, and the pending acquisition of Bet.Works sports betting software.

Monkey Knife Fight is a DFS mobile app that offers free play and paid betting services. The app currently has about 180,000 registered members, with approximately 80,000 users who deposit real money to play. Bally’s intends to expand Monkey Knife Fight’s presence to serve 37 US states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

Caesar’s Buys Control of SuperDraft

This morning, word came down that Caesars Entertainment has invested in SuperDraft, another DFS betting app with good potential. Caesars operates more than 50 casino properties in North America, and a dozen more in Europe and Africa. Like Bally’s, Caesars is hoping to expand its presence in all legal US online betting verticals.

The company’s investment in SuperDraft makes Caesar’s Entertainment a minority equity holder, earning the company just enough control to integrate the SuperDraft system in all its iGaming portfolios. If all goes well, the agreement gives Caesars the option to purchase 100% stake in the DFS company at a later date.

SuperDraft isn’t as established as Monkey Knife Fight. In fact, it was probably Bally’s acquisition of the latter that drove Caesars to quickly secure the minority stake in SuperDraft, with the option to buy 100% later on.

Last November, SuperDraft founder and CEO Steve Wang estimated his daily fantasy sports app’s number of total registered users to be about 80,000, with 15,000 active paid accounts. In a statement following the agreement with Caesars, Wang expressed a positive outlook for the company’s future.

“SuperDraft is now well-positioned to accelerate its growth with financial staying power while broadening its consumer appeal with bigger contests and better rewards to players of all interest levels,” said Wang.

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Jan 25

What happened to Nova Scotia gambling awareness funds?

What Happened to Nova Scotia Gambling Awareness Organization?

All across Canada, gambling is big business, especially for the provincial governments that profit from it. Gambling proceeds make up a remarkable portion of the revenue that funds education, health and community projects all across the country. It makes sense that, while gambling addiction is a concern, governments would want to keep that money rolling in. But some people were outraged to learn, months after the fact, that Nova Scotia has quietly done away with direct funding for its long-time gambling awareness program.

No More Funding for Nova Scotia Gambling Awareness

The program in question, Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia (GANS), is no in operation. The NS government didn’t mention it was doing away with the organization. In fact, no one seems to know exactly when GANS was stricken from the legislative record. What we do know is that it’s gone, and it has been for a few months, at least.

Bruce Dienes is the chair of a non-profit group, Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, that strives to minimize the social harms of gambling within the community. Dienes said he learned of GANS dissolution in the fall of 2020, and that regulations for the program were officially altered in October.

When Dienes contacted the Department of Health and Wellness to inquire about it, he was told that “new information” had surfaced, indicating that the relationship between gambling and mental anguish, depression and anxiety, is far broader; the idea being that the funds once allocated for the prevention and treatment of gambling would better served funding the broader mental health spectrum.

Consolidating Nova Scotia’s Mental Health Budget

The government’s media relations advisor, Marla MacInnis, confirmed that GANS funding will be pooled into the province’s overall mental health and addictions budget, which comes to around $300 million per year.

“Problem gambling often occurs with other mental health and addictions issues, and due to the stigma, people often initially seek help for other issues,” MacInnis defends the government’s decision. “It’s best if people can access support that addresses these issues together.”

Dienes disagrees. “The idea that this is new information is ridiculous,” he said. “We’ve known this for decades.” He believes the choice to do consolidate funding was a much more calculated one, primarily aimed at resolving the “profound lack of funding for mental health in Nova Scotia.”

Research Favors Problem Gambling Services

Igor Yakovenko is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Dalhousie University. He says that, according to research, one of the common barriers between problem gamblers and treatment programs is a lack of information; especially information regarding where to turn for help in the first place. In his expert opinion, Yakovenko believes harm reduction and problem prevention programs are the most effective resources for curbing and curing addiction.

“We need services and public health resources that minimize problems from developing in the first place or, if you’re already gambling, they prevent you from escalating that gambling,” Yakovenko told CBC News.

This comes on the heals of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation’s (ALC) intent to expand its New Brunswick online casino to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The ALC’s online casino presents gamblers with the ability to wager amounts up to 40x higher (up to $100 per play) on online games compared to legal restrictions that limit a single bet on VLTs to no more than $2.50. All things considered, some would say there’s no better time for programs like Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia to remain funded and heavily promoted.

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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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