How many times have you been to a casino? How many times did you walk away with a profit? If you answered ‘Never‘ to either of these questions, the following gambling tips are for you. I’ll provide the most basic casino strategies any novice gambler needs to know before placing a wager.
Please be aware that this is not intended as a complete or comprehensive list of casino strategies. It’s merely a guide for beginners to help avoid many of the common mistakes new gambler tend to make before they gain a little experience on the gaming floor.
How to Bet On The Slots
The vast majority of today’s slot machines are multi-line and/or multi-coin games. Novice players walk up to these machines with dollar signs reflecting in their eyes, having no clue what all those paylines and coins actually mean, or what to do with them.
First of all, a multi-payline slot should always be played at full lines. If it has 25 paylines, all 25 need to be activated to have the best chance of winning. That means you have to be careful what size coin you play, because that amount will be multiplied by 25 when you press spin (one credit per payline). For instance, a $0.01 bet will cost $0.25, whereas a $1 bet will cost $25 per spin.
In multi-coin slots, you will be able to choose whether you want to insert 1, 2, or 3 – sometimes up to 5 – credits per play. There is usually a benefit to betting the max number of coins, with the payout for higher winning combinations being higher at max bet.
Maybe a 3-reel slot with three 7’s on a line pays 25 credits for 1 coin, 50 for 2 coins, 75 for 3 coins and 100 for 4 coins, but when betting 5 coins, the payout is not a direct multiple, but much higher – maybe 200 or 250 coins. Therefore players must bet max to have the best odds of walking away a winner.
When to Hit 12 in Blackjack
It’s the worst hand a blackjack player can be dealt – the dastardly 12. If you hit, you could bust. If you don’t hit, you’ll probably lose anyway. But hey, it’s no sweat.
The most basic casino strategies tell us exactly when we should – and should not – hit a 12. It’s this simple:
If the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6 – Stand.
If the dealer is showing 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K or A – Hit.
That’s right, it’s almost always better to hit a 12. When the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6, it’s more likely that the dealer will bust. And what a great feeling that is to beat the dealer with a 12! Any other time, the odds may be against you overall, but probabilities state a Hit is the better move.
Roulette Gambling Tips – Don’t Fear the Field
There’s a wide variety of bets to be made on the roulette table. Yet most beginners will stick to just two kind of bets – straight bets on a single number (pays 35 to 1), and even money bets (black/red, odd/even, high/low).
It can be a lot more interesting, and equally rewarding, to place bets on groups of numbers in the middle of the betting table. You could wager on a group of 3 numbers, 4 numbers, 6 numbers, a columns of 12, or progressive groups of 12.
Each of these bets – straight bets, even money bets, grouped number bets – may offer a different payout for winning, but they all come with the same 2.70% house edge. The most basic casino strategies wouldn’t deter a novice from making these wagers.
The only thing you should never do is play American Roulette (the one with the Single Zero and Double Zero). This nearly doubles the house edge to 5.26% on every wager.
High Card Flush is one of the newest poker-derived card games to hit land-based casinos in recent years. Today, I’ll teach you how to play High Card Flush, including the complete rules of the game and standard bonus side bet pay table.
High Card Flush: Background Info
High Card Flush is the brain child of Galaxy Gaming. It made its debut appearance at Harrah’s Casino in Laughlin, Nevada in the summer of 2011.
It was such a unique variant, that it earned the title of ‘Best Game‘ a the 2012 Cutting Edge Table Games Conference in Las Vegas. By 2013, it was popping up at casinos all over North America, and has since moved abroad to Europe.
You can find High Card Flush available at several major casinos in Canada, including Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
How to Play High Card Flush: Rules
High Card Flush is a relatively simple game to learn and play. It’s creators boast the dealer friendliness of the game, as it takes less than 10 minutes for a new player to fully absorb the rules.
The game is played with a 52-card deck, and can accommodate up to 6 players at a table. Before a new game begins, each player must place an Ante bet. This wager can be as low as the table minimum, generally $3 to $5, or as high as the maximum. The size of this bet will determine the size of any Raises made thereafter.
The Deal: The dealer will deal out 7 cards to each player, and himself. All cards are dealt face down. Each player will look at his or her own hand and come up with the highest ranking Flush they can manage.
Note that players are only competing against the dealer (aka the ‘House’), not the other players at the table.
There are two levels of evaluating the highest Flush hand.
Number of Cards: The highest ranking Flush will be the hand that has the most cards of the same suit in it. For instance, a 5-card flush will always beat a 2-, 3- or 4-card Flush.
Rank of Cards: If the number of cards in a hand is equal, the highest card in each Flush is evaluated. High card wins (i.e. Ace beats King, King beats Queen, etc). If the two highest cards are equal value, the next two highest cards are compared, and so on.
Before any cards are revealed or compared, the player must decide whether to Surrender or Raise.
If the player believes their hand won’t beat the dealer, they can Surrender their Ante bet and Fold the hand. Otherwise, they must place a Raise. The size of the Raise will be a multiple of the Ante, and depends on how many cards their Flush contains.
- 2-card, 3-card, or 4-card Flush: Raise = 1x the Ante
- 5-card Flush: Raise = 2x the Ante
- 6-card or 7-card Flush: Raise = 3x the Ante
When all players have made their decisions, the dealer will flip his cards and create the highest ranking Flush possible. What happens next depends on the rank of the dealer’s hand.
Dealer Must Qualify: The dealer’s hand must qualify to be compared to each player’s hand. In order to qualify, it must rank as a 9-high, 3-card Flush or better.
If the dealer’s hand does not qualify, all remaining players (who did not Surrender) will receive even money on their Ante bets. All Raise bets will Push (returned to the player).
If the dealer’s hand does qualify, it is compared against all remaining players’ hands.
If a player’s hand ranks higher than the dealer’s, the player wins. The Ante and Raise bet are each paid even money.
If the dealer’s hand ranks higher than the player, the dealer wins. Both Ante and Raise bets are lost.
If the dealer and player have the exact same ranking hand, it’s declared a Push (tie). Both Ante and Raise bets are returned to the player.
High Card Flush Rules: Bonus Side Bet
There is also a Bonus Wager that players can choose to make before a hand begins. This bet wins only if the player’s hand ranks high enough to match any Flush or Straight Flush hands available on the corresponding Bonus Pay Tables.
Flush Bonus Pay Table
- 7-Card Flush – Pays 300 to 1
- 6-Card Flush – Pays 100 to 1
- 5-Card Flush – Pays 10 to 1
- 4-Card Flush – Pays 1 to 1
Straight Flush Bonus Pay Table
- 7-Card Straight Flush – Pays 8000 to 1
- 6-Card Straight Flush – Pays 1000 to 1
- 5-Card Straight Flush – Pays 100 to 1
- 4-Card Straight Flush – Pays 60 to 1
- 3-Card Straight Flush – Pays 7 to 1
For nearly two full years, daily fantasy sports betting blew up the headlines from Europe to North America. Then suddenly, in November 2016, following the announcement of an intended merger between DraftKings and FanDuel, it got quiet. Now, in preparation of the merger, more fantasy sports are being added to FnDuel’s line-up.
According to a report from Yahoo Finance, FanDuel announced this week that it will be adding Fantasy Golf to its repertoire. The news comes two months after the operator declared the integration of English Premier League (EPL) soccer in its daily fantasy sports betting roster. Those two additions marked the first new sports added to the FanDuel offering in three years.
Early Amalgamation of FanDuel, DraftKings
The general assumption is that FanDuel is making an effort to more closely mirror the existing offerings of its soon-to-be partner, DraftKings. The companies have managed to keep quiet their intentions following the impending merger, but industry experts have predicted the two will surely combine their operations into a single platform.
Over the years, DraftKings has historically presented its users with a notably wider range of daily fantasy sports offerings. Both operators have provided the most popular major league sports, such as MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL, throughout their existence. But DraftKings pushed the envelope early on with additional betting options on sports like golf, mixed martial arts (MMA), NASCAR and soccer (Champions League, EPL and MLS).
Conversely, FanDuel has always maintained a platform that focuses on the industry’s primary money makers. In 2015, Chief Executive Officer Nigel Eccles explicated FanDuel’s then-current position.
“When we looked at our data, we said, you know what, 80% of our revenue comes from NBA and football; it’s more important that we go deep there,” said Eccles. “If [DraftKings] have 100% market share of a sport that only has 1% of the total market, hey, okay. I’d rather have 80% market share of 80% of the market.”
FanDuel Changes Its Tune on Fantasy Golf
His tune changed this week when Eccles told Yahoo Finance that smaller, niche markets like fantasy golf, “always kind of slipped to the bottom of the pile.” He added that the daily fantasy sports betting company “had been looking at golf for over a year.”
When questioned about the ambiguous legality in North American markets, US and Canada, he said that’s why FanDuel “took our time” in implementing the new product.
“We were mindful of the regulatory environment, but now we have states passing laws and really setting the boundaries of what we can and can’t do. We think there’s a golf product we can do that would be compliant with that and be an awesome experience,” he enthused.
DFS Betting On Golf Illegal In US?
Despite the positive changes in US state-by-state regulations regarding daily fantasy sports betting, there’s still an undertone that fantasy golf, in particular, may be seen as illegal gambling. The problem is that a single tournament on the PGA Tour does not technically encompass the requirements of “containing multiple events”.
That stipulation is clearly defined in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which DFS operators leaned heavily upon two years ago when arguing the legality of daily fantasy sports betting.
Professor Marc Edleman of Baruch University, an attorney who’s consulted with DFS operators in the past, opined that fantasy golf “is still a problem, from a technical legal perspective.”
He believes that regulators, especially in New York, “are either not cognizant of the problem, or are choosing to overlook it.” But that stance may not last forever. Edleman said, “it is ambiguous at best as to whether a single golf tournament constitutes multiple events.”
A slot machine’s reels are its most prominent features. They spin gloriously to their individual stops, telling us if we’ve won – anything from a massive jackpot, to a small chunk of change, to nothing at all. The reel speed – or speed at which the reels spin – has no effect on the outcome. However, the same can’t be said of a player’s experience.
I overheard a conversation the other day at my local casino in which two ladies – friends I assume, as they were seated side by side playing the slots – were questioning the reel speed of their machines. One slot machine’s reels were spinning noticeably faster than the other.
They questioned whether that might have any effect on the game play, or more importantly, if it could effect their chances of winning on each game.
Can Reel Speed Effect Payouts?
The truth is, the outcome, or payout percentage, is not effected by the reel speed. The way these machine’s are programmed, each result is determined by a random number generator (RNG) that triggers the moment the Spin button is pressed – not as the reels are coming to a stop. No matter how fast they spin, the end result will be the same.
A lot of the older slot machines, which can still be found in casinos around the world, actually give players the option to choose the speed they want the reels to spin at. There aren’t too many of these left, comparatively speaking, but they do exist.
In fact, the ladies mentioned above didn’t realize this, but one of the machine’s did have a reel speed selection feature (which is why is what spinning a bit slower), while the other (the one that was spinning faster) did not. I was inclined to point that out to them before I moved on my way, not wanting to seem like a creep who listens in on old ladies’ conversations at the casino.
Does Reel Speed Matter?
If you happen to find yourself playing a slot machine with the option to change the reel speed, I highly recommend choosing the lowest setting. Not because it will increase your odds of winning, but it will decrease your odds of losing your entire bankroll.
You see, every slot machine has a ‘Hold‘ percentage – the amount of money it keeps from players, on average, over a period of time. Players who get lucky enough can win money, but those who don’t – which is, unfortunately, the majority – will inevitably lose.
If you have a $100 bankroll, and are spinning slower reels at 5 times every minute for $0.25 per spin, you could theoretically lose your entire bankroll in 1 hour and 20 minutes. That would necessitate losing every single spin, though. That should never happen, and if it did, I would hope you would choose a new slot machine after no more than a few minutes of play.
Today’s faster slot machines, especially those known as ‘rapid fire‘ slots, can have players spinning up to 20 times per minute. That’s once every 3 seconds! At that rate, your $100 bankroll could be wiped out in as little as 20 minutes.
As every responsible gambler knows, slot machines should be enjoyed as an entertainment opportunity. We don’t play them expecting to win money. We play them because it’s fun, and affords a chance to win money. Thus extending your entertainment dollar to cover as much time as possible is crucial having a great game experience, win or lose.
All wagering operations are strictly regulated in Canada. Gambling firms must undergo rigorous inspection to receive approval to operate in any province. Industry leading NYX Gaming Group Ltd (NYX) proudly announced it has passed examination, and has received approval to supply its services in three Canadian provinces.
Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, NYX Gaming is a developer and supplier of omni-channel gambling services that include bingo, casino, lottery, poker and sportsbook offerings. NYX has contracts with major interactive gaming operators all over the globe.
According to a press release, the recent authorization to provide Canada gambling services will see NYX integrating various wagering systems in the provinces of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Quebec.
NYX Approved in 3 Canadian Provinces
The announcement confirmed that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has officially named NYX as a registered “Gaming Service Provider”, licenced by the Gaming Policy & Enforcement Branch. The GPEB is responsible for oversight and regulation of the BCLC and all of its registered operators and suppliers, ensuring that each is in full compliance with the region’s Gaming Control Act.
The Nova Scotia Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division gave NYX the thumbs-up to become a registered “Lottery Equipment Supplier”, operating under the provisions of the NS Gaming Control Act and Atlantic Lottery Regulations. NYX will have the opportunity to supply equipment, including tickets, ticket print machines, ticket checking machines and other lottery related mechanism to the southeast province of Canada.
Gambling could get a lot more interesting in Quebec soon, as well. The announcement relayed NYX Gaming’s new role as an “Approved Gaming Supplier” to Loto Quebec, manager of all the province’s authorized gambling activities, including casino and slot machines.
Loto Quebec has achieved the world’s highest possible Level 4 rating from the WLA as a responsible lottery system, and is – for lack of a better term – very picky about their suppliers. To be approved here is a big deal, as was evident in a statement from NYX Gaming CEO, Matt Davey.
“Satisfying the comprehensive conditions set out by the gaming regulators and authorities across these Provinces is testament to our long term strategy to operate at the highest levels in regulated gaming worldwide,” said Davey.
“The approvals pave the way to expand our footprint with gaming content and sportsbook services across Canada. Our underlying product focus is now the cornerstone of our new operating model and strategic vision,” he continued.
“Since our initial public offering at the end of 2014, the journey at NYX has been underpinned by our view on the technology, content and capabilities required to capitalize on the pace of growth in regulated online gambling worldwide. We look forward to providing world-class content and technology across these Provinces and working closely with their respective gaming regulators and authorities.”
NYX Online Gambling Services Coming to BC, Quebec?
BC and Quebec run their own regulated online gambling websites, PlayNow.com and EspaceJeux.com respectively. While its fairly certain that NYX Gaming will provide its wagering systems to the region’s land-based gaming establishments, it’s possible that BCLC and Loto Quebec could integrate the supplier’s online gambling platform into their current digital Canada gambling offerings.
Whether or not the contract transcends land-based supplication cannot be confirmed at this time, but Davey did hint in his statement that “regulated online gambling” could be among the services provided.
NYX Gaming offers a complete suite of desktop and mobile gambling products, including casino, poker, sports betting, bingo, lottery ans social gaming platforms. Nova Scotia does not currently authorize online gambling, but could this be a foreshadowing of change to come in the southeast Canada gambling market?
Throughout the ages, many governments have elected to legalize various forms of gambling as a means of generating tax dollars. This is nothing new, nor uncommon. A more peculiar and markedly egregious style of regulation, however, permits the operation of things like live and/or online casino games, but forbids locals to patronize them.
This form of regulatory design has become strangely popular among some governments, especially those where conservative religious beliefs are deeply ingrained into society. For example, Israel allows operators of online casino games to base operations within their borders, but prohibits them from accepting Israeli punters.
A similar situation exists in Australia, where operators are permitted to host online gambling activities. Obtaining a licence to do so, however, comes with the stipulation that Aussies may not deposit or wager on casino or poker games. Only sports betting, horse racing and lotteries are legal forms of online betting for locals.
Australians can, however, patronize land-based casinos in the country. Crown Perth, Crown Melbourne, Jupiter’s Casino, Gold Coast – these are just a few of the prominent gambling destinations, as well as the slot machines (or pokies, as they call them) that riddle pubs, clubs and hotels throughout much of the country, that are perfectly acceptable for locals.
Costa Rica was one of the first popular licencing jurisdictions for operators of online casino games, and was also among the first to stipulate that locals could not participate. Historically, the jurisdiction has never really enforced any regulations upon its licencees, except that one.
Hypocritical Laws of Canada
Canada has similar laws, but is widely viewed as a grey-market when it comes to online gambling. Several jurisdictions host provincially-run online casino, poker and other gambling pastimes. Offshore operators are deemed illegal, but current laws do little to stop Canadians from accessing them.
The nation takes no issue with playing host to online gambling operators and software suppliers that aren’t authorized to provide their services to Canadians, so long as they comply with that rule.
PokerStars, for instance, has been based out of Montreal, Quebec ever since Amaya Gaming purchased its parent company in 2014. Since then, PokerStars has complied with local laws, staunchly refusing to accept Canadian poker players.
Land-Based Casinos Not For Locals
The situation gets even stranger when it comes to land-based casino laws. In some countries, like Singapore and Vietnam, casinos are geared solely towards tourists.
Singapore casinos are considered some of the most elaborate in the world, catering to high-rolling VIPs with designer suits and exorbitant bankrolls. Locals are strictly forbidden from even entering the country’s two integrated resorts, which include Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.
In Vietnam, locals are clearly fans of gambling, but they aren’t allowed to do so on native soil. Instead, they are forced to travel across the Cambodian border to get their wagers on, or visit one of the region’s equally shady underground gambling dens.
When Religion Plays A Role
From a religious perspective, it makes a bit more sense, albeit it a highly hypocritical stance. In Jewish society, for example, gambling is frowned upon as a degenerative activity. Money is meant to be made and spent on needful things, not squandered on what will inevitably (in their opinion) become a downward spiral into addiction.
Thus Israel chose to maintain its prohibition against gambling, invoked in 1977 and updated in 2005 to include online casino games. Being ever vigilant in the pursuit of wealth, however, collecting taxes from native iGaming operators seems to fall just within their range of moralistic values.
For centuries – ever since man discovered it was possible to train these wild beasts – horse racing has been a favorite pastime worldwide. It’s not just fun for breeders and jockeys, but especially for live and online sports betting enthusiasts, who enjoy the expectant thrill of making some quick cash.
Horse racing isn’t just a big deal in Canada. It’s become an extremely popular form of sports betting all across the globe. According to statistics, it’s most prominent in the countries of Australia, Canada, China, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
What is it that makes horse racing so incredibly popular throughout much of the modern world? There’s no single answer to that question. In fact, there are at least three very good reasons for it.
Speed, Speed and More Speed
Guys love speed. I’m sure a lot of ladies do, too, but anything that moves fast tends to draw the attention from the male population. Cars, planes, trains, horses – we guys loved to play with these things growing up. It only makes sense that we continue to be attracted to fast moving objects as we get older.
But it’s not just the speed of the horses themselves that gamblers enjoy. It’s the speed at which the races take place.
Sports betting on things like football, baseball, or basketball; it takes hours for the matches to conclude. A horse race generally lasts anywhere from 40 to 300 seconds. It’s a lot more exhilarating than spinning the slots reels or a roulette wheel, but doesn’t last so long that we become immune to the thrill.
Odds Increased in Strategic Sports Betting
If you’re betting for fun and the money doesn’t really matter, pick a pony and let it ride. If you’re really out to win, though, horse racing gives us the opportunity to increase our odds by doing a little research.
The breeding background and past performances of racing horses are very well documented. One can go online and find a wealth of information on all the ponies for a particular race, just as easily as they can log onto an online sports betting site to place their wagers.
Strategic betting is much easier in horse racing than it is in most other sports, where a game’s initial probabilities can easily be effected by things like injuries and turnovers.
More Bettors Means More Money
Because of the pari-mutuel engine, the more popular horse racing becomes, the more money bettors stand to win by wagering on it. Betting on a horse race isn’t like betting other sports. You’re not taking specific odds on a team or contestant. The amount you win depends entirely on how much money was wagered on the race overall, and how many people placed winning bets.
Thus, when a great deal of people bet on a race, the prize pool grows to enormous heights, ensuring a bigger payout to those who pick the right ponies. For this reason, its a good idea to place your wagers at the track, or at a popular online sports betting site where lots of wagers are going to come in.
Thousands of desktop and smartphone casinos exist in today’s digital gambling market. Logically speaking, they can’t all be top-tier sites. Only the most prestigious, well-built and finely tuned operations can claim such status.
In the last few years, mobile casino popularity has grown to phenomenal heights. Desktop gaming sites are still well-visited, and won’t be disappearing from the iGaming realm anytime soon. But with the majority of the world’s population carrying one touch-screen mobile device or another, smartphone casinos are becoming the primary focus of the industry’s software developers.
The shift to mobile began just a few years ago, and surprisingly, most of the sites that once ruled the roost in desktop gaming have found themselves descending the proverbial ladder. It’s not that they aren’t converting their systems to support gaming on smartphones and tablets. It’s that they’re forced to take a backwards approach to it.
They’ve started with a stellar desktop platform, and that’s good. But ordering their programmers to transition that technology to something that’s ultimately compatible with all the major mobile phones and tablets – Android, Apple iOS, Windows Phone, etc. – that’s obviously easier said than done.
The key was to convert all desktop web pages to HTML5. However, as these operators began boasting that their platforms were fully optimized for mobile, the inevitable bugs began to rear their ugly heads. An error here, a miss-sized page there, a menu that didn’t agree with the programmer’s tap-to-open language.
Best Smartphone Casinos Built On Mobile
While all of these mishaps were being untangled, new smartphone casinos were appearing. These websites were being designed with a mobile-first approach, ensuring that their platform loaded seamlessly on all devices before they ever went live.
In 2012, a new mobile casino called LeoVegas hit the market. New gambling sites don’t often get a lot of attention. It can take years to establish a distinguished reputation, especially in a business such as this one. But by using the exact strategy described above, LeoVegas didn’t just make waves, it crashed upon shore, employing a phenomenal marketing campaign that drew countless players and decimated the competition.
LeoVegas Proves Mobile-First Works
The company’s mobile strategy was enormously successful, earning LeoVegas a trophy case full of awards over the next few years. It started when EGR Nordic Awards named them ‘Best Innovation in Casino‘ in 2013, followed by ‘Best Mobile Product‘ in 2014.
The next year, LeoVegas took home EGR Nordic Awards for ‘Slots Operator of the Year‘ and ‘Affiliate Program of the Year‘, as well as the ‘Grand Prize Award‘ from the GP Bullhound Summit.
In 2016, LeoVegas scooped seven more awards, including EGR Nordic’s best ‘Mobile Operator‘, ‘Casino Operator‘ and ‘Nordic Operator‘ awards. International Gaming Awards named them ‘Online Casino Operator of the Year‘, Gaming Intelligence awarded them with ‘Casino Operator of the Year‘, and EGR bestowed them with dual titles of ‘Best Mobile Marketing Campaign‘ and ‘Best CRM Campaign‘ of 2016.
One of the companies lead managers explained why he thinks LeoVegas has become on of the best smartphone casinos in the world.
“I think what makes LeoVegas different is that we had mobile in mind before we launched as a website,” he said. “Most companies do it the other way around. They launch the website with desktop in mind and then have a problem to solve when they realise they have to offer a mobile version as well…
“Because we were always thinking ‘how will this look on mobile?‘ or ‘will this create a problem on mobile?‘ from the very start, we were prepared for all that already when the app came.”
Throughout history, we’ve learned that what the government takes away, we will find a way to get back. Prohibition of alcohol didn’t stop people from drinking. Making marijuana illegal didn’t stop people from smoking it. We merely found different ways to obtain these things.
In Quebec, the government has decided that limiting the number of slot machines, or video lottery terminals (VLTs), in low-income areas will help promote responsible gambling and reduce the rate of problem gambling among the lower classes of society. But how effective will this be when Quebec online casinos are readily available?
Online gambling isn’t even illegal. There are plenty of offshore gaming sites that invite Canadians to play for real money, and while politicians call them illegal, they aren’t the only Quebec online casinos accessible. The government actually runs its own, provincially-regulated internet gaming site, EspaceJeux.
Reducing Slots Won’t Stop Problem Gamblers
If officials actually believe lowering the number of slot machines in low-income areas is going to stifle the rate of game play, they’ve got another thing coming. Just because someone is classified as poor, doesn’t mean they don’t own a desktop or laptop computer, or a mobile device that’s perfectly capable of accessing Quebec online casinos whenever they wish. Not in today’s technological age.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the effort, or at least the end goal. Problem gambling is something that should be better monitored and regulated. I suppose, logically speaking, they’re doing all they can think of – short of criminalizing gambling altogether, which would have a very negative impact on the tax coffers, not to mention increase illegal gambling activities – to resolve the issue.
Finance Minister Explains ‘The Plan’
Finance Minister Carlos Leitao explicated the plan as a New Years Resolution of sorts, in which Quebec will cut back on the total number of VLT licences in the province. He said areas with a high concentration of slot machines will be most effected, and those areas just so happen to be occupied with Quebec’s lowest income residents.
“Our government is determined to have responsible gaming on offer, fighting against compulsive gambling and preventing the outbreak of sites used for illegal gambling,” said Leitao, who oversees the VLTs provincial regulator, Loto-Quebec.
At present, there are about 12,000 slot machines in 2,000 locations – mostly bars – all across Quebec. Leitao said that, in two years time, that number should be reduced to under 10,000 VLTs.
At the same time, Quebec is instituting a new formula for VLT licencing. From here on out, there may be no more than 2 licenced slot machine operators within a 5,000-population radius. Likewise, there may only be 2 slot machines for every 1,000 inhabitants.
Furthermore, the government wants to transition the placement of VLTs out of bars, and into establishments like bowling alleys and pool halls; places he said “promote socialization and group entertainment.”
Plan Promotes Quebec Online Casinos, Organized Crime
Peter Sergakis, President of the Union of Quebec Bar Owners, disagrees with the plan entirely. Not only would a shift away from putting VLTs in bars hurt his own interests – he personally owns over a dozen bars with slots machines in the Montreal area – he says it will hurt the government’s bottom line.
“If the government makes $800 million with these machines, it goes to the public treasury. With that we pay for health, education, we pay for the police,” explained Sergakis. He also noted the impact it could have on organized crime, suggesting illegal activities would only increase, as would the patronage of unauthorized Quebec online casinos.
Leitao also recognized these potential problems, noting that the plan will ensure some slot machines are still accessible in all areas, so as to avoid pushing players towards remote gambling options or underground gambling dens.
For the last year, the Canadian city of Belleville, Ontario has eagerly anticipated the grand opening of Shorelines Casino. While the Mayor was all too happy to hint that the property would hold its “soft opening” as soon as January 11, 2017, owners of the new Ontario casino are more hesitant to give an exact date.
Each year, the city of Belleville is privy to a traditional New Years Day Levee. When Mayor Taso Christopher took to the podium on Sunday, he relayed great expectations for the city’s new gambling destination – one that will guarantee a sizable cheque to Belleville’s coffers every few months.
The Mayor indicated that Shorelines Casino will open in about 10 days, which would designate January 11 as the big day. However, he noted that not everyone would be invited to attend the initial opening.
“My understanding is they’re going to have a soft opening for staff and senior management,” he told the press. He suggested that the official grand opening to the public would be held later that week.
Mayor Christopher went on to laud his expectations for the new Ontario casino, calling it a boon for the entire community. “It’s good for employment and the economic component” he said enthusiastically, noting that it “will be interesting to get our first cheque.”
As host municipality, Belleville will be entitled to a small portion of the Shorelines Casino’s revenue. The first cheque will come at the end of April, and the city has already initialized a separate account to intercept and disperse those funds for important community projects, like improving the city’s infrastructure.
Will Shorelines Casino Really Open Jan 11?
According to the Intelligencer, a source within the new Ontario casino’s staff confirmed that a notification had been distributed by upper management stating January 11, 2017 was indeed the big day for a projected launch. Staff was advised to be available for work.
Attempts to have that date confirmed by Great Canadian Gaming Corp‘s (GCC) Ontario East division have come up empty. Owners are more reluctant to give any exact, or even projected, launch date.
Andy LaCroix, Executive Director for Ontario East, explained that the company has, “put some marks in the sand.” He was pleased with “the mayor for being optimistic about things,” but at the same time, insisted “there is still no hard date yet.”
LaCroix went on to identify a number of obstacles that have yet to be hurdled, such as clearances and approvals for behind-the-scenes operations. All t‘s must be crossed and i‘s dotted before the Shorelines Casino can open to the public.
“We’ve got a lot of controls that have to be setup. We have to check all those boxes. That’s some of the hesitation of getting a hard date,” LaCroix said.
Certainly, 10 days could be more than enough to check off those boxes, if everything is in order; especially if it’s all related to paper work. But should one single process be delayed, announcing and subsequently revoking a date for the grand opening would be more embarrassing than holding their cards close to the chest. Thus GCC’s reluctance is understandable.
Features of New Ontario Casino
Shorelines Casino will host 450 slot machines and 18 table games, with a general playing area and VIP section for high rollers. The 48,000 square-foot facility will also host a lounge with a stage for small acts, outdoor patio, and a buffet-style restaurant with all glass walls.
The most unique feature will be the new casino’s Responsible Gambling Centre. The interactive setting will be the first of its kind in the province. Instead of offering stacks of fliers and pamphlets with information about problem gambling, patrons will be privy to interactive displays via private pods and television screens.