Aug 06

What it Takes to Start Your Own Online Casino Business

What it Takes to Start Your Own Online Casino Business

If you’ve spent any time gambling in an online casino, you may have noticed a few things. For one, the games are extremely entertaining. There are hundreds to choose from, with rules and themes to appeal to anyone and everyone. With so many online casinos vying for your membership, there’s clearly some healthy competition in the industry. Perhaps most important of all, you’ve recognized that the house has a distinct advantage in every game.

If casino games are designed to win more money for the house than they pay out to players, wouldn’t it make sense to play on the side of the house? And what better way to do that than to own the house? With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at how to start and online casino. It’s not easy, and it’s certainly not cheap, but if you’ve got the means and the drive, it may very well be worth your time and effort.

What it Takes to Start Your Own Online Casino

While the concept above – the casino always wins, so I’ll just open my own casino – is a common theory, it’s not necessarily a realistic one, which is why most people don’t do it. The truth is, there’s a lot that goes into opening an online gambling site; much more than most people realize. It’s a lengthy, step-by-step process, and an expensive one at that. The very first thing you’ll need to do is…

Register and Host Your Online Casino Domain

The first step is to choose a domain name. It should be something quick and catchy, and directly to the point. The shorter the name, the more likely people are to remember it. Betfair, LeoVegas, PokerStars – they all meet this easy-marketing requirement.

Once you choose your domain name, you need to register it with a domain registering service. Then you have to pay a server to host it.

Even if you don’t intend to launch your casino for a year or two, registering the domain should come first. Search engines take into account the longevity of a domain when indexing. Simply put, a website created two years ago ranks better than one launched two weeks ago.

Apply for an Online Gambling License

This is going to be the most expensive step, by far. Your operation must be licensed to garner any respect from the iGaming community. Where you obtain your license from will directly impact the cost and reputability of the operation.

Some jurisdictions, like Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, pretty much anywhere in Central America, offer very little in the way of regulation. You pay a smaller fee, but sacrifice the respect of strict player protections. Obtaining a license from the Malta Gaming Authority carries much more respect, as you’ll have to comply with their high standards. But, you’ll also pay a lot more for that license.

Also consider which countries you want to accept players from. Black markets, including much of the US, require lax regulation, but could get you into trouble down the line. To accept players from the UK, the world’s most productive iGaming market, you’ll need a UK license, which comes with the strictest standards, and highest price tag. A Maltese license will grant you access to most legal markets, including Canada.

Every license comes with fees. Expect them to be in the five-figure range. Then there’s financial reporting and taxes to be considered. Think very carefully about which way you want to go here, and do your research.

Employ One or More Casino Software Suppliers

Every online casino needs an assortment of games to offer their players. There are dozens of highly respected content studios to choose from. You may wish to go with a single platform with a large portfolio of games. Or, you could employ a collection of software brands to offer more diversity. Just keep in mind, you’ll pay a separate fee for each casino suite you integrate. Then there’s always the option of going beyond csaino games and into the field of poker, bingo, sports betting, etc.

Another thing to consider is just how involved you want the software supplier to be. There are generally three options.

  1. Casino Games Only: Employ the casino suite only, granting you a license to supply its games.
  2. Games + System Platform: This option comes with the casino suite license, plus a back-end platform that administers and manages player account services.
  3. The Whole casino Package: If you take the full package, you’ll get the casino suite license, the player account system, plus integration of security features, software certification, and a dedicated customer support / tech support team.

The more you want, the more you’ll pay for it, but the less you’ll be responsible for managing in the long run. Choose a full package from a major content supplier like eCOGRA-certified Microgaming, and you can rest assured everything that needs to get done, will get done.

Payment Processing – Choose Your Banking Methods

As any avid online casino gamer knows, the security and availability of payment methods is paramount to attracting new player sign-ups. Today, iGamers expect a wide selection of banking options for deposits and withdrawals.

Some players are very picky, and will only use eChecks, or Paypal, or Instant Banking methods like Interac or Citadel. Others are esteemed supporters of the cryptocurrency movement. If you want to cater to these types, you have to supply a long list of trusted payments to hit all niche players. And of course, credit and debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) are a must.

Once again, consider your options, do your research, and know your intended customers.

Catering to the Mobile Generation

Ten years ago, the mobile casino movement was hardly a quiver. Today, it’s rushing ahead like a locomotive. You don’t have to build a mobile app for your casino, but you could miss out on an entire generation of would-be customers if you don’t.

Now You Must Build It…

With all these steps out of the way, it’s time to put all the pieces together. You may want to hire a web design team for the website, as well as a mobile app developer. That’s more money going into your project. And once you get the casino up and running, you’ll need to factor in software and licensing renewal fees, plus additional costs like marketing and employee salaries.

As I said, this will be an expensive venture. There are cheaper routes, but as the old adage goes, “You get what you pay for”. Like any successful business, the more you’re willing to invest into a quality product, the more you’re likely to get out of it.

If learning how to start your own online casino business was enough to make your head spin, maybe it’s not the right choice for you. Maybe playing those online slots and table games, despite their slight disadvantage to the player, weren’t so bad after all?

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

Jul 02

Is there a trick to playing online slots? What you need to know.

Online casinos aren’t the shady, unreliable, slow-loading operations of decades past. At the turn of the century, internet gamblers didn’t really know what they were getting into. Now days, iGaming is a global industry, embraced by the tech-savvy, secured by government regulation. The games that were once questionably partisan are now certified fair by respected watch-dog services. Slot machine jackpots aren’t just for show. Multi-million dollar payouts really do happen. With the clandestine smoke of yesteryear cleared, and player apprehensions faded, there’s really only one question left. Are there any real tricks to beating online slot machines?

Is there a trick to playing online slots

Is There a Trick to Playing Online Slots?

I’ve been asked this more times than I can count. The answer is, “Yes and no”. It really depends on what you mean by “trick”. If you’re asking if there’s a way to swindle, deceive, or conspire against the online casinos to win money – to somehow cheat the system or trick a digital machine into paying more prizes – then the answer is a steadfast, “No”.

Not only would that be fraud, which is rightly illegal (and the very thing people were so upset with rogue online casinos for doing in the late 1990s), it would be impossible to succeed without getting caught. Technology is far more advanced these days. There are security systems monitoring everything that goes on at online casinos. If a game’s software malfunctions, by chance or by tampering, the payout is void. Leave any trace of evidence, and you’ll be in deep trouble before you know it.

Then there’s the noble variety of winning slot tricks…

Honorable Tricks to Beating Online Slot Machines

These aren’t deceptive tricks at all. They are the kind that come with great knowledge of the way iGaming software works. These tricks will increase your chances of winning, but will not break any laws or breach any moral codes in the process.

With that in mind, it’s important to understand that you cannot increase a slot machine’s payout percentage above 100%. The payout percentage is the theoretical return to player (RTP), a figure that represents how much a machine will return in winnings, compared to how much players bet on that machine. For example, a 97% RTP slot would pay back 97% of it’s intake (i.e. $97 for every $100 wagered).

That’s a theoretical figure, of course, and only holds true in the long-term, over the course of millions of spins. In the short term, a machine could pay more or less than its intended RTP – in some cases, a lot more or less. This is how players are able to beat casinos.

The other thing you need to understand is what “fair” means in the casino industry. Players like to think that “fair” means they have a 50/50 chance of winning or losing. That’s not the case. Fair simply means the casino isn’t cheating. Remember, casinos are businesses, and businesses have to make money. Thus, a 97% RTP slot machine guarantees, over time, that the casino will earn a 3% profit on all bets made on that game. And if the casino wins, then the players must collectively lose. Some will win, sure, but more will lose than win. And that is what is considered “fair”.

With this knowledge in tow, let’s take a look at 3 valid tricks for playing online slot machines.

#1 Know the RTP Before Playing Online Slots

This is one of the greatest advantages of playing slot machines online. Land-based casinos rarely reveal the RTP of their slot machines. They might say they have 98% RTP slots, but they won’t say which slots pay that high. It could just be a single slot, mixed in a sea of low-paying games. Online casinos, on the other hand, will almost always reveal the RTP of each game. If you find one that doesn’t, don’t play there. You can always find a better casino that does.

It should be your right as the customer to examine a game’s payout percentage, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you should play or not. The best slot machines are always going to be the ones with the highest RTP. A game that pays out at 97.2% is more likely to be profitable than a game with a 94.3% RTP. Knowing what we know about the “fairness” of casino games, at the very least, you should be able to play a higher RTP slot machine longer than a low RTP slot, before your bankroll runs low.

Average Slot RTP and Where to Find It

The industry’s more reputable iGaming software labs will list each game’s RTP within its pay table info. If you don’t see it there, try going to the manufacturer’s website (Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, etc.) and look up the game title. Again, if it’s not easy enough to find, don’t play. It’s their loss, not yours.

The average RTP for online slots these days is about 96.15%. Anything above that is good – the higher the better. The only exception is progressive slots. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah, for example, is networked across a wide selection of games with RTPs ranging from 88.12% to 93.45%. Having a million dollar jackpot seed and an average hit rate of $6m every 8 weeks, it’s understandable that the RTP would be lower.

#2 Play High Volatility Slots, Carefully

Today’s slot machines have what we call “volatility”, or “variance”. A high-volatility slot machine does not hit winning combinations very often. However, when it does, the payout for those wins tends to be a lot better. A low-volatility game, on the other hand, will pay out very frequently, but in very small amounts – most often smaller than the amount you’re betting per spin.

The reason you should stick to slot machines with a high variance (or at least a medium variance) is because low-volatility slots are more likely to drain your bankroll dry. The wins you do hit won’t be very significant, which (purposely) convinces most players that they should just keep going. As they do, their bankroll slowly bleeds out. They get a good deal of entertainment for their wagering dollars, as the game tends to last longer, but the chance of profitability is slim to none.

If entertainment value is your goal, by all means play the low-volatility slots. But if you really are hoping to strike a big win, it’s the high-volatility slots you should be playing.

Remember, I said to play these games “carefully”. That’s because your bankroll is going to drop faster between winning spins. Make sure you have enough money to play with that you can spin the reels at least 100 times (i.e. minimum $100 bankroll at $1 per spin). Anything less, and the probabilities are stacked against you.

#3 Don’t Get Greedy, a Small Profit is Better than None

You have to go into your online casino experience with realistic expectations. Set a reasonable profit goal, maybe 15-20%. That might sound low, but when you consider the casino is happy to earn just 1-3%, not only is 15-20% more than reasonable, it’s actually rather high. Even blackjack players, who play games with average 0.5% RTP or better, rarely expect to make more than 10% in a session. Fortunately, slot variance makes it more reasonable to shoot for up to 20% profit.

If you hit your win margin, cash out and walk away. This is the most neglected trick to playing online slots. Most people get caught up in the excitement of the win, and lose sight of the real goal – to actually win something. If you keep going, you’re only helping the casino to reach its inevitable long-term goal of beating you.

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

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.

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

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!

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

Mar 24

Live dealer casinos feeling the crunch of COVID-19 closures.

Live Dealer Casinos Now Feeling the Crunch of COVID-19 Closures

When news of the Corona virus first erupted, none could conceive of the disruption it would soon cause to everyday existence; not just in our home towns, but on a global scale. When the phrase “social distancing” became a household term, everyone began looking for ways to conduct their daily activities online. That included entertainment verticals, of course.

Online gambling was thought to be a perfect solution for those who already enjoy the occasional casino rendezvous. However, most online casino games are RNG-based. They are computer generated, offering no source of social interaction. Live casinos, on the other hand, are virtual mirrors of the table games played at land-based casinos, where real people gather virtually, and communicate digitally, as they play.

This particular iGaming vertical has harvesting more players than ever before in the last week. Now, it looks like this form of virtual gambling entertainment may not be around much longer.

Live Dealer Casinos Feel the Crunch of COVID-19 Closures

On Monday, March 23, news came down the pipeline that Evolution Gaming, the world’s premier producer of live casino games, had been ordered by the Georgian government to cease operations at its live casino studio in Tbilisi, Georgia. This marked the first – and at present, only – known mandatory closure of a live gambling studio.

A statement from Evolution Gaming confirmed the situation:

The Tbilisi studio adheres to current guidelines regarding social distancing and the company has taken an extensive number of infection prevention measures in the studio. Evolution Gaming is in close contact with local authorities in order to verify the taken measures and to be able to reopen the studio. The situation is developing, and Evolution will adapt continuously.”

Evolution stated that the vast majority of its operation would continue, as the Tbilisi studio represented just one of its 8 live studios around the world. It was a message meant to reassure audiences, but one that was surely given with a foreboding grain of salt as it predicated a similar future for its remaining properties.

Latvian Gov. Considers Suspension of Gambling Licenses

Today, evidence of that impending future is coming to light, slowly but surely. Word has it that the Latvian government is considering suspending the licenses of all its gambling operators. No official announcement has yet been made. It’s only a consideration at this time, but one I’ve no doubt will come to fruition in the coming days.

Evolution Gaming has been headquartered in Riga, Latvia since the company’s founding in 2006. Its oldest and largest studio is located in Riga Old Town. If the Latvian government goes through with this proposed plan, it could spell a quick domino effect of closures for all of Evolution’s live dealer casinos.

Don’t mistake the meaning in this. It’s not just Evolution Gaming that would be effected by the COVID-19 related suspensions. Playtech, NetEnt, Microgaming, every live casino operator licensed from here to Malta could soon feel the crunch of Coronavirus closures.

If and when it does come to it, we here at RealMoneyGambling.ca support the effort to protect the health of live dealers and all other staff members at these operations who’ve worked so hard to give us this unique entertainment vertical. To you, we say thank you. Go home, stay inside, stay safe, and we look forward to your return when the strange days of this global pandemic come to an end.

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

Mar 17

Lowest house edge casino games and where to play them.

Different types of casino goers are attracted to different types of games. Some like fast paced games, while others like to take their time. Some enjoy single-player amusements, while others enjoy the communal atmosphere of multi-player games. Sometimes it’s not about the game play or atmosphere, but the odds of winning that draws a player to the action.

I don’t necessarily recommend choosing your games based solely on the house edge you face. Doing so implies disregard for the entertainment factor. If you’re not enjoying the games, you’re violating the most important rule of responsible gambling – to have fun, since the odds are never really in your favor. Then again, finding a game you enjoy that’s among the lowest edge games – that could be something worth looking into.

Lowest House Edge Casino Games

The following is a top-10 list of the casino games with the lowest edge. Having a low house edge means, in contrast, that the game has a high return to player (RTP). Please understand that the RTP is theoretical. It is based on mathematical probabilities, and as such, only applies in the long term.

Note: The RTP is, quite literally, the opposite of the house edge. If the house edge is 5%, the RTP is 95%. Together they make 100%.

Top 10 List of the Lowest House Edge Casino Games Online & On Land
  1. All Aces Video Poker – 0.08%
    All Aces is a video poker variant found at online casinos powered by Microgaming software. It’s house edge of 0.08% is so low that, over the years, many Microgaming casinos have decided to remove it from their menus. In order to achieve that fantastic 99.92% RTP, you’ll need to make every decision strategically. Learn more…
  2. Blackjack – 0.18% to 0.35%
    Blackjack is known for its low house edge, but there are dozens of rule sets offered at land-based and online casinos. The trick is to find the best games, where the edge does not exceed 0.35%. 1x2Gaming’s Bonus Blackjack and Red Queen Blackjack offer a super low edge of 0.18%, but isn’t the easiest to find. Microgaming’s Vegas Single Deck Blackjack comes in at 0.31%, and is available at hundreds of online casinos.
    Note: I’m not listing any other blackjack games here, although there are plenty with ~99% RTPs that could have occupied the list. Those above are the best – I’ll leave it at that.
  3. Spanish 21 / Pontoon – 0.40%
    Spanish 21 (a.k.a. Pontoon) is a game characterized by the removal of all 10s from each deck. In exchange, a host of player-friendly rules are applied. So long as the dealer is required to Stand on Soft 17, you’ll play against an edge of just 0.40%. (Note that Dealer Hitting Soft 17 increase edge to 0.76%).
  4. Jacks or Better with 9/6 Full Pay – 0.46%
    Another good video poker variant that’s widely available is Jacks or Better. Check the pay table. If it features a 9/6 Full Pay, you can achieve the optimal 99.54% RTP.
  5. Baccarat, Banker Bet – 1.06%
    Betting on the Banker hand in baccarat is as easy as dropping a chip on the table. It begets a decently low house edge of 1.06%.
  6. Baccarat, Player Bet – 1.24%
    Don’t want to bet on the Banker hand? Place your chip on the Player hand instead for a 1.24% house edge.
  7. Craps, Don’t Pass/Come – 1.36%
    They said it’s wrong to bet against the shooter, but who are “They” anyway? A bet on Don’t Pass or Don’t Come offers with a higher RTP of 98.76%.
  8. Craps, Pass Line/Come – 1.41%
    If you prefer to bet with the crowd, for an added 0.5% to the edge you bet the Pass Line or Come wager in craps.
  9. Pai Gow Poker – 1.46%
    This is one of those games you’ll either love or hate. If you find the 1.46% edge appealing, give it a try.
  10. Pai Gow Tiles – 1.50%
    Please know that this is not the same as Pai Gow Poker. Played with 32 dominoes, it is one of the world’s oldest casino games, reserved for casinos in the Eastern hemisphere prior to the online gambling revolution. It’s 1.50% house edge makes it a unique choice among the industry’s lowest house edge casino games.

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

Feb 28

Things to see in Nevada when you’re over the Las Vegas Strip; Reno, Carson City, Silver Springs, and everything in between.

Things to see in Nevada when you’re over the Las Vegas Strip

If you’re not from around the area, you probably don’t realize just how much there is to see and do in Nevada. Everyone visits Las Vegas to see the casinos and myriad culture-shock of crowds along the Strip, but rarely do they ever take the time to see anything else. It’s like going to Disney World. There is so much to take in, you could spend a whole week there and never experience even half of it.

Once you get over the Vegas vibe, don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s nothing left to do or see in the Silver State. It is a beautiful place with a more diverse landscape than most people realize. From desert valleys, to mountainous terrain; deep canyons to breathtaking lonesome highways; this is not the kind of holiday you want to rush your way through.

Things to See in Nevada (besides the Las Vegas Strip)

There’s a fantastic, triangular region in West Nevada that can deliver the most amazing experience, without ever coming close to the fast-paced stress of the Vegas Strip. Whether you’ve been there so many times (or even once) that you’re over the sights and sounds of Las Vegas Boulevard, or you have no desire to step foot into what some consider a cesspool of anxiety, this out-of-the-way Nevada holiday will inspire and relax you to the core, and still provide a chance to do a little Vegas-style gambling. Our adventure starts in…

Reno – The Biggest Little City in the World

Reno Nevada
Now entering Reno, Nevada

Surely you know something of Reno. It is the third most famous gambling city in the United States, after Las Vegas and Atlantic City. What I was surprised to learn over the years is just how few people actually know that Reno is in Nevada. I did a little survey of this among ten purely random people – people I didn’t even know – and only 3 of them knew. Go figure?

Yes, Reno is a city on the western edge of Nevada, situated along the border of California just north of Lake Tahoe. It is quite literally a miniature version of Las Vegas. It even has a mini-Strip – they call it The Row – made up of its three major, inter-connected casinos – Eldorado, Circus Circus and Silver Legacy. There are plenty of other interesting things to see and do in the Midtown District, so take your time and enjoy it. When you’re done there, rent a car and hop on Interstate 580/Highway 395 South, where you’ll embark on a picturesque, 40 minute drive to…

Carson City – Modern Take on a Historical Treasure

Kit Carson Trail, Carson City, Nevada
Kit Carson Memorial - Carson City, Nevada

Carson City is the capital of Nevada, so it’s got a big city atmosphere. However, it’s also got a tremendous amount of historical sights and natural wonders to behold. If you like trains half as much as I do, the Nevada State Railroad Museum is a must. The Kit Carson Trail is a museum and national park all mixed into one – bring a picnic lunch, then head over to the Shoe Tree Brewing Company to unwind. If you’re more interested in the nature scene, Washoe Lake and Skunk Harbor are well worth the visit. Spend the last of your evening at one of the local bed and breakfasts – far better than any hotel you’ll find in the city – then get up bright and early for your next drive to…

Virginia City – A Town atop a Century Old Silver Mine

C Street Virginia City, Nevada - Almay Stock Photos
C Street in Downtown Virginia City, Nevada - Almay Stock Photo

Did you ever see a John Wayne movie? How about Wyatt Earp or Gunsmoke? Better yet, Bonanza – it was filmed on location. Entering Virginia City is like stepping into one of those historical towns, straight out of an old western. The drive out, which takes about half an hour via US-50 East and NV-341 W/342 N, is similar, but is clearly marred by the effects of time and modernization.

For instance, you’ll drive through Silver City, which may sound like something special – and believe me, at one time it was – but is now barely more than a fueling station and diner along an old desert road. Back in 1861, when the Sierra was brimming with silver, this bustling 4-hotel city had a population of 1,200. Now, and for many decades past, the population is listed at around 170 – a Ghost Town since 1869.

From there you’ll pass through the Devil’s Gate, a famously narrow, craggy pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and into Gold Hill, a small town with a similar history of desolation. A minute or two further along sets your destination, Virginia City.

The thoroughfare dividing the boardwalks of downtown may be paved with asphalt now, but the buildings along this stretch still bleed of the past. Remove the colorful but deteriorating paint, and the 150 year old hotels, saloons, and trading posts remain virtually untouched. Make sure to arrive early – by high noon, the Wild West tourists come piling out of the woodwork!

Nevada US-50 – The Loneliest Road in America

Nevada Route 50 Loneliest Road in America

If you still have some time, head back south to US-50 and bear east. Forget destinations – you don’t have one. Your path is one of uncertainty and contemplation. Just keep driving for as long as you feel like it. This stretch of road is what’s known as The Loneliest Road in America. It goes on for miles and miles – all the way to the country’s east coast, in fact – but the Nevada expanse goes on for nearly 400 miles. It can take around 7 hours to reach Utah, but the breathtaking views will last a lifetime.

Of course, odds are you’ll get tired of that drive within half an hour or so, at which point I recommend stopping off in Silver Springs. Once you pass Stagecoach, you can’t miss it. It’s hard to miss anything that exists out here in the middle of nowhere – but again, that’s they beauty of it. There’s not a whole lot to do in this small town, but there is a cozy little Silver Springs Airport that will fly you back to wherever you came from.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , ,

Feb 18

The UKGC has issued the temporary license suspension of Matchbook, a long-time online sports exchange and casino operator that vows to achieve compliance and a swift return.

UKGC Suspends License of Matchbook Online Sports Exchange & Casino

It’s no secret that the UK Gambling Commission has no patience for remote operators who fail to uphold its guidelines. It is universally recognized as the strictest online gambling authority on the planet. That’s bad news for operators with any misconceived notions of getting away with a lax regime; at the same time, great news for members of any UKGC-licensed operation, knowing they are well protected against everything from social harms to criminal activity.

The Commission has proved its intolerance for licensee failures time and time again. UKGC officials are constantly doling out fines to operators who’ve been found guilty of non-compliance. The severity of those fines continue to rise, not just with time, but with loss of patience for repetitive transgressions. However – and I’ve pointed this out on several previous occasions – it’s extremely rare, practically unheard of, in fact, for the Commission to actually suspend an operator’s license.

That point of interest makes this latest news all the more brow-raising. As of this morning, Tuesday, February 18, 2020, the UKGC has officially suspended the license of Triplebet Limited, d.b.a. Matchbook.com.

Online Sports Exchange & Casino License Suspended

Matchbook Sports Betting License Temporarily Suspended

A brief press release issued this morning by the UK Gambling Commission confirms that Matchbook has, indeed, lost its license; at least, temporarily. The suspension of Triplebet LTD’s license prohibits the Matchbook from facilitating any remote gambling activities, effective immediately.

According to the UKGC’s official announcement:

The Gambling Commission has undertaken a Licence review under s116 of the Gambling Act 2005 (“the Act”) into Triplebet Limited t/a Matchbook (operating licence no 039504-R-319407-011).

Pursuant to section 118(2) of the Act, the Commission has determined to suspend the above operating licence insofar as it pertains to the operator’s ability to offer remote facilities for pool betting, betting intermediary and to operate a remote casino.”

The Matchbook website is still up and running, as the operator has been instructed to continue settling any open wagers placed prior to the license suspension, and honoring withdrawal requests of customer accounts.

What the UKGC notably failed to mention was any innuendo into the reasoning behind their sudden course of action. There is no hint of why Matchbook is under investigation. The Commission simply directs any customer questions concerning the issue to Matchbook’s support team (email support@matchbook.com or call 0203 642 6867).

Matchbook Vows Swift Resolution and Return

Just as the UKGC was publishing its news of the license suspension and investigatory review of the operator, Matchbook was scurrying to get an email off to its customers warning them of the site’s impending fate, and reassuring them that the operator will be back up and running as swiftly as possible.

The email that went out this morning to all UK customer’s reads:

Today the United Kingdom Gambling Commission has taken the decision to temporarily suspend the operating licence of Triplebet Limited (t/a Matchbook).

As a result, from 23.59 on 17 February 2020 we will be briefly closed for all betting and casino activity in the United Kingdom. During this time we will continue to settle all open positions and you will have access to your account to withdraw your funds.

Matchbook has been in regular contact with the Gambling Commission and has agreed a path forward where it will deliver on a number of conditions. We will be back soon and we are committed to providing a betting exchange which adheres to very high standards.”

When all is said and done, I’m hopeful the UKGC will publish its findings, along with any sanctions against the company, and the reasons behind them. Until then, it’s worth noting that Matchbook has been in good standing with its customers and licensing authorities for many years. The online sports exchange and casino has been in operation since 2004, and by all accounts, has every intention of being back in business as quickly as UKGC investigators will allow.

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

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 31

The best casino game for beginners (Hint: It’s not slot machines!)

The Best Casino Game for Beginners

Preparing for your very first foray into a casino can be very intimidating. Casinos are often massive properties, lined with opulent décor, glimmering chandeliers, fancy carpets and elaborately dressed employees. For so many of today’s first-timers, walking into a resort-style casino can feel like entering a fine dining establishment in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

Of course, the casinos don’t really care what you’re wearing, so long as you’ve got cash in your pocket, and a willingness to spend it. But the anxiety for a newcomer is real. Even playing your first casino game at an online gambling destination can set your hairs on end. If you aren’t familiar with the rules of any games, all of these fears become magnified tenfold.

The logical answer might be not to go to the casino. Common sense might tell you to hold off, learn some games first, better prepare yourself for the experience. But what if that’s not an option? I remember my first visit to a casino all too well. It was an impromptu choice, spurred by a group of friends who all decided we should go. Two of them had been before. Three of us had not. As a newbie myself, it was overwhelming, to say the least!

I did what so many first-time casino goers do. I stared in horror at the massive gaming floor, then went straight to the slot machines, where I stayed until almost all my money was gone. It was fun, yes, but I had no idea what I was doing. Within 20 minutes, I’d blown through $80. I spent the next half hour walking around, pinching my last $20 as I watched other people play games I had no clue about. So, if you want to avoid mimicking this tale of majority boredom, might I recommend…

The Best Casino Game for Beginners

Baccarat is the Best Bet for First-Time Casino Goers

If you ask most people the easiest game to play in the casino, they will say it’s a slot machine. Yes, push a button and cross your fingers does seem easy, but there’s so much more to those games. Did you ever try reading a video slot’s pay table? Page after page of symbols, line info, features, payouts, etc. They really aren’t so simple. The easiest game of all – one that features a far better return to player (RTP) than slots – is baccarat.

Baccarat is a card game that you don’t really have to play. All you have to do is choose where to place your bet – kind of like roulette, but again, with a higher RTP. The dealer will take care of everything else. Let’s take a quick look at how the dealer plays out hands.

The Rules of Baccarat

The object of baccarat is for one hand – the Player hand or Banker hand – to be closer to a total of 9. The closest to 9 wins. Each hand starts with two cars. If the total value of those two cards exceeds 9, 10 is subtracted.

For example, a hand of 3+8=11. You can’t exceed 9, so you subtract; 11-10=1. The new hand total is 1. If the cards are 4+5, the total is a perfect 9. Or, if the cards are 10+8, we subtract 10 for a total of 8.

There are certain situations where the dealer is required to give the Player and/or Banker hand a third card, depending on the totals of the first two cards. These are known as “house rules”, and give the Banker hand a slight advantage (51%) over the Player hand. But don’t worry, you can bet on the Banker Hand, too. Or, you can bet on the two hands resulting in a Tie.

Baccarat Odds, Payout and House Edge

Knowing the odds of winning each bet, the payout for winning it, and the house edge involved, will help you choose where to place your bets. The “odds” are the probability of winning each bet. The payout is the amount you’ll get back for winning, compared to what you’ve wagered on it. The house edge is a combination of odds and payouts that determines how likely the casino is to beat you on that bet. Hence, the lower the edge, the better the bet.

Note: You’ll notice that a winning Banker bet pays 1:1, -5%. The casino collects a 5% commission on all winning banker bets to offset the fact that the Banker hand will win more often. If it weren’t for the 5% commission, the casino would lose money on these bets in the long term.

Baccarat Bet Odds Pays Edge
Banker Hand 45.85% 1:1, -5% 1.06%
Player Hand 44.62% 1:1 1.24%
Tie 9.53% 8:1 14.36%

The low edge of 1.06% on Banker and 1.24% on Player bets makes this not just the easiest casino game, but the best casino game for beginners. It offers a communal table game experience, is easy to understand, and can sustain a modest bankroll far longer than slot machines.

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