Aug 20

Future looking bright for Canada’s largest casino firm.

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

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

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

Revenues Soar for Canada’s Largest Casino Firm

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

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

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

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

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

H2-19 Strategy: Spend Money to Make Money

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

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

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

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Aug 16

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

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

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

GotSkill’s Skill-Based Games are Gambling in Ontario

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGCO Won’t Tolerate Illegal Gambling in Ontario

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

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

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Jul 10

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

Stars Group Signs w/ Mohawk for New York iGaming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PokerStars Events Getting Closer to Home?

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

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

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

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May 13

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

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

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

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

Women in Live and Online Gaming Technology

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

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

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

Inspirational Commentary of OLG’s Executive Women

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

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

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

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

OLG Digital Marketing Manager Jessica Ylanko

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

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

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Apr 24

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

Sports Wagering Lobbyist to give Canadian Politicians an Earful

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

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

theScore Hires Professional Sports Wagering Lobbyist

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

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

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

Capitalizing on NA’s Love for Pro Sports Betting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Apr 04

At last, Gateway pins down a location for Ontario’s newest casino in Wasaga Beach.

It’s been a full year since Gateway Casinos & Entertainment won the bid to operate the ‘Central Gaming Bundle‘ of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG). As the region’s commercial casino service provider, Gateway earned the day-to-day managerial rights of one of Ontario’s most popular gambling establishments, Casino Rama Resort, as well as the OLG Slots at Georgian Downs. Moreover, the company was awarded responsibility for constructing a new casino and entertainment complex in the community of either Collingwood or Wasaga Beach .

It wasn’t long before Gateway decided on Wasaga Beach as the host municipality for the upcoming facility. However, the debate over where to build the casino has been raging for months. Finally, in a press release issued just hours ago, Gateway has announced the location of its upcoming Wasaga Beach casino.

Ontario’s Newest Casino Coming to Wasaga Beach Roundabout

At Last, Gateway Pins Down Site for Ontario's Newest Casino in Wasaga Beach

Gateway Casinos has submitted a proposal requesting permission to build the new gaming and entertainment facility on a 7.5-acre parcel of land in Wasaga Beach’s west end, flanking the Mosley Street roundabout at Lyons Court and Beachwood Road. Local and provincial officials will be looking over the proposal this week.

There’s little doubt that the necessary approvals will come swiftly, at which point Gateway can complete the acquisition of the plot and begin hiring crews for the construction phase of the property. The proposed casino would feature a range of slot machines and table games, along with a host of other amenities and attractions for guests.

No specifics are being leaked just yet on what the site will look like. The overall size and scope of the development will be discussed in the coming weeks, detailing the range of new employment opportunities, plans for food and beverage amenities, and other local economic investments. No doubt Gateway will put its stamp on the community with its signature MATCH Eatery & Public House and The Buffet dining options.

Assuming provincial and municipal approvals are met in a timely fashion, construction of the new casino – likely to be named Gateway Wasaga Beach – is expected to begin sometime this spring.

Town Leader Praises Efforts for New Wasaga Beach Casino

None were more pleased by the announcement than Nina Bifolchi, Mayor of Wasaga Beach. On behalf of the community, she welcomed Gateway to the area with open arms and emphatic praise.

“We are thrilled that Gateway has settled on a site that will best meet its business needs and we look forward to the construction phase starting,” said Mayor Bifolchi. “We know that Gateway has a tremendous track record in its industry, they are truly leaders, and we look forward to a strong and positive relationship with them in Wasaga Beach.”

Keith Andrews is the Senior VP and Managing Director for Gateway Casinos Ontario. He offered the enthusiastic sentiments of his company in a brief statement.

“We are very pleased to announce that we expect to soon be able to move forward with our plans to build an exciting new casino and entertainment destination in the Town of Wasaga Beach,” he said. “We look forward to receiving all the necessary provincial and municipal approvals and concluding the land transaction so we can start construction as quickly as possible.”

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Mar 29

Victims file class action lawsuit in Casino Rama hack.

Victims file Class Action in Casino Rama Hack, up to 200,000 Impacted?

While British Columbia continues to deal with its never-ending casino money-laundering scandal, Ontarians are still reeling from a casino hacking incident that resulted in the sensitive personal and financial information of nearly 11,000 individuals being publicly posted on the world wide web for all duplicitous eyes to see. The incident occurred at one of Ontario’s most popular gambling establishments, leaving players, staff members and even vendors fearing for the security of their identities.

The hacking of Casino Rama took place back in November of 2016. Some perceived that Casino Rama was doing the right and ethical thing – being a “good corporate citizen” – by informing tens of thousands of people that their information may have been compromised. For many of the casino’s employees, patrons and vendors, however, sympathy was far from their mind. They immediately contacted the legal team of Charney Lawyers, who initiated a class action lawsuit just three days after the incident.

The Casino Rama Hack

On November 4, 2016, Casino Rama was informed that it had suffered a grievous breach in security. Its internal computer network had been hacked, compromising the names, addresses, income and employment information, credit files, gambling losses and other details of their customers, employees, and vendors.

The casino reported the incident to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Then, Casino Rama sent out a mass email to all customers, staff and vendors informing them of the situation; that their sensitive information may have been compromised, and that they’re working with the OPP, RCMP and OLG to rectify the matter.

On November 11, 2016, the hacker made good on his threat to post the sensitive information on a public website. Approximately 10,900 individuals were victimized in the cyberattack. The hacker posted a total of 4.5 gigabytes worth of data, and threatened to publish a further 150 gigabytes of data.

New Evidence Leads Request for Class Action Extension

The case had been trudging along ever-so-slowly up until late January 2019, when Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner released the findings of its investigation into the matter. The investigator’s report concluded that:

[Casino Rama] did not have reasonable security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to records of personal information.”

In light of this new “evidence”, the plaintiff’s legal team is now seeking to expand the class action to as many as 200,000 victims, seeking $60 million in damages. Lead attorney, Ted Charney, was in court on Thursday pleading the case. He argued that the victims go far beyond those impacted by the publication of sensitive data; that past and present employees, vendors and patrons, including those in the voluntary self-exclusion program, should be included as well.

“Thank goodness we now have the commissioner’s report,” Charney told the court. “We have evidence now that a substantial number of patrons had data on the two servers. There’s some basis in fact that their information wasn’t adequately protected.”

Defense Paints Casino Rama as “Good Corporate Citizen”

Lead defense attorney Cathy Beagan-Flood contends that the plaintiff’s proposed extension to the class is far too broad; that only 10,000-11,000 were impacted, and therefore should be included. She also disputes the validity of the Ontario privacy commissioner’s report, stating:

The (privacy commissioner) did not have all of the information. The evidence is that the non-Windows servers would not have been vulnerable.”

Beagan-Flood contends that the information of many more patrons and employees were stored on non-Windows based systems that were not vulnerable to the cyberattack. She goes on to paint Casino Rama as a “good corporate citizen” that should not be punished for making the quick and ethical decision to send out emails to tens of thousands of people, warning them they may have been effected by the Casino Rama hack.

Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba expects to deliver a decision on the motion to extend the class action in May.

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Nov 30

Legal challenge puts new casino in Sudbury on ice.

Legal Challenge puts Gateway's Plans for a New Casino in Sudbury on IceThe people of Greater Sudbury, Ontario have been promised a fantastic new community gathering space to be called the Kingsway Entertainment District. Funding for the project is coming from Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, estimated to cost $55.5 million. With Gateway at the helm, it would, of course, include a new gambling facility, to be called Starlight Casino Sudbury.

Some love the idea. Some despise it. Even Sudbury City Council has shown mixed feeling for the concept. But that didn’t stop them from voting in favor of granting initial municipal approval for the project. And now, following a legal challenge from adverse parts of the community, even Gateway admits the new casino “may not be completed…at all”.

Gateway Displays Doubt for New Casino in Sudbury

On November 20, 2018, Gateway Casinos filed documentation with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding many of its Ontario gaming properties. Within that near-500-page document (found on page 12) is an assessment of Sudbury Downs Slots; the property Gateway gained in its $79,349,000 acquisition of Ontario’s Northern Gaming Bundle in December 2016, and the very one it plans to relocate in its construction of the Kingsway Entertainment District.

The current Sudbury Downs Slots facility is attached to the Sudbury Downs racetrack in Chelmsford, 23km northwest of downtown Sudbury. Its 33,000sq.ft. gaming floor is home to 427 slot machines. Gateway’s lease on the property is good through March 31, 2020—right about the time the company had hoped to complete construction and hold the grand opening of the new casino property on the Kingsway on Greater Sudbury.

Now, it seems the whole process is guaranteed to be delayed. Whether the delay is short-term or long-term, temporary or permanent, is yet to be decided.

Timeline for Starlight Casino Sudbury Indeterminable

In its SEC filing, Gateway notes that, regarding the “initial municipal approval for the relocation” of Sudbury Downs Slots to the Kingsway location:

…an appeal of that decision has been filed in the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal by certain individuals and community groups which, if successful, would delay the proposed relocation pending further appeals or court challenges.”

If all goes according to best-case scenario, the first tribunal hearing should occur sometime next summer, with a ruling to come in September 2019, “at the earliest”. That’s an at-best assessment, though. Tribunal hearings are always subject to potential extensions, delays, and subsequent challenges.

Gateway concludes in its risk factors for hopeful investors that a number of its Ontario casino properties –including the intended future home of Starlight Casino Sudbury—may suffer temporary, if not permanent, delays.

The expansion, rebranding and/or relocation of the Cascades Casino Langley, Chances Mission, Dresden Raceway Slots, Point Edward Casino, Western Fair District London Slots, Sudbury Downs Slots, Hanover Raceway Slots and Gateway Innisfil may not be completed on a timely basis, on anticipated terms or at all.”

If the new casino in Sudbury does come to fruition, on time or not, the gaming floor would be a bit smaller at 32,000sq.ft. However, it would contain a wider variety of gambling amusements, upping the slot machines to 600 and throwing in a selection of 21 table games. The property would also offer visitors a steakhouse, buffet and sports bar.

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Nov 27

Canada Online Sportsbooks & Casinos: One thing leads to another

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

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

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

Best Canada Online Sportsbooks Aren’t in Canada

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

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

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

One Thing Leads to Another…

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

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

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

We Need Good Online Sportsbooks in Canada

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

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

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Jun 13

Ultimate new user guide to online casino gambling in Canada.

Canada Online Casino FAQs for New PlayersGambling is an extremely popular pastime in Canada. In 2000, right around the time internet casinos were starting to blossom, an international study revealed that 70% of Canadians participate in some form of gambling each year. With the rise of online and mobile gaming options, that number is sure to have increased.

Those of you seeking to venture into that realm surely have a lot of questions. Is it legal? Can I access offshore websites? Are there convenient banking methods, and are they secure? Today’s ultimate new user guide to Canada online casino gaming will answer these questions, and more.

Is Online Casino Gambling in Canada Legal?

Yes, it is. Gambling is legal in every province and territory of Canada. There are no specific laws that discriminate between land-based and online gambling. Therefore online casinos are perfectly legal, too.

There are two basic types of online casinos for Canadian players. There’s the provincially regulated variety, and the offshore variety. Only the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec host provincial casino sites (plus online lottery in the Atlantic regions), and you must live within the respective province to access them. Offshore casinos accept players from various countries, with Canada typically included.

Are Offshore Online Casinos Legal?

Yes, they are. Despite the efforts of provinces to change that fact, there is no law preventing Canadians from accessing internationally regulated gambling websites. It is equally legal for an international gaming operator to accept Canadians, so long as they follow one express rule.

The Criminal Code determines what types of gambling can be legal. The only way an online casino would be illegal is if it has a physical presence in Canada, but does not acquire a provincial licence. By remaining offshore, and opening no offices on Canadian soil, no laws are being broken.

How Do Deposits and Withdrawals Work?

Most online casinos offer a wide range of deposit methods. Credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, online payment processors (EcoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, etc.), bank transfers, instant eChecks—these are all common options. The key is to pick the one that best suits your needs.

They are incredibly secure, as well. So long as you choose reputable gaming websites, and keep your own computer or mobile device secure, you have nothing to worry about.

Are Online Casino Winnings Taxed?

Typically no, Canadians do not pay taxes on any gambling winnings. The Canada Revenue Agency states, “an individual may be subject to tax on income derived from gambling itself, if the gambling activities constitute carrying on the business of gambling”.

Therefore, the only players who pay taxes are those that gamble ‘professionally’. If you gamble regularly, and make consistent profits from it, then you may be subject to taxation. But as a casual player, no.

You can learn more about the minutiae of Canada gambling taxes here.

Can I Play in CA$?

Yes, usually. If you play provincially regulated Canada online casino games, all wagers are in Canadian Dollars. If you choose to play at internationally regulated websites, some of them do offer CA$ deposits and withdrawals. Be sure to skim over the banking options and payment details to see if it’s available.

The major benefit to online casino gambling in Canada’s own currency is the avoidance of foreign exchange rates. Although relatively inexpensive, currency exchange fees do add up over time, taking away from cash that should be part of your bankroll.

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