Mar 22

More Ontario casinos go to Gateway in OLG’s Central Gaming Bundle.

Gateway wins bid for Central Ontario CasinosThe Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) has spent the last few years allocating the managerial responsibilities of its casino properties to Canadian gaming operators. After a long and arduous procurement process, including months of deliberation over a multitude of bidders, the OLG finally made its selection last week.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, OLG chose Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd. as the winner of its Central Gaming Bundle. Gateway was also the regulator’s choice to host Ontario’s North and Southwest gaming bundles back in 2016.

Gateway to Manage More Ontario Casinos

As per the announcement, Gateway will take over the day to day operations of Ontario’s Casino Rama and the OLG Slots at Georgian Downs in Innisfil. In addition, the company will have the opportunity to develop a new casino in central Ontario.

Preliminary plans call for an additional gaming facility to be constructed in Collingwood or Wagasa Beach. City staff members in those locations will have to weigh proposals and receive input from the public before a decision is made.

Gateway CEO Tony Santo expressed his pleasure with the provincial regulator’s decision to put them in charge of yet another group of casinos in Ontario. “We are very pleased to once again partner with OLG as the service provider in the Central Gaming Bundle,” he said in a press release announcing the procurement.

“Gateway has become the standard for gaming and hospitality in Canada and the award of this bundle allows us to build on that leadership position,” continued Santo. “We look forward to working with our new team members at Casino Rama Resort and OLG Slots at Georgian Downs.”

Stephen Rigby, President and CEO of OLG, explained the choice in a statement. “Selecting Gateway is the latest step OLG is taking as we continue to bring new jobs and economic development to communities across Ontario. The investments Gateway will make in the central region will enhance the gaming experience for customers and help OLG increase its contribution to the Province of Ontario.”

OLG Defends Fairness in Procurement Process

In December of 2016, OLG chose Gateway to manage its North and Southwest casino bundles. That gave the operator control of 9 casinos and slots facilities, plus the rights to construct several more gaming properties in those regions. It’s all part of the regulator’s Modernization Plan, but some are questioning whether Gateway has become ‘teacher’s pet’ in the selection process.

It’s become so apparent that OLG actually defended its choice in the announcement:

To OLG, the integrity of its procurement process is of the utmost importance.

In order to ensure an open and transparent process for all proponents, OLG has engaged the services of an impartial Fairness Monitor to advise throughout the process and provide oversight on the fairness of the procurement.”

Pending closure requirements on Gateway’s part, the company – which has become Canada’s largest casino gaming corporation, thanks majorly to OLG – is expected to take over its new managerial duties at the central Ontario casinos sometime during the summer of 2018.

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Mar 20

The Novitiate’s Guide to Playing Online Skill Games for Real Money

Online Skill Games for Real MoneyWe all know there are internet casinos out there offering digital slot machines, blackjack, roulette, video poker, etc. But there are a lot more ways to play games for real money than you may realize. For the more mentally adept among you, might I suggest playing online skill games.

The difference between casino games and skill games is simple. In one, players rely predominantly on luck to win. In the other, the player’s skill is the dominant factor.

In this brief but educational beginner’s guide to skill gaming, we’ll discuss all the basics. I’ll start with types of skill games, and follow that with how to get started playing them for actual money against other real people (aka player-versus-player, or PVP).

As a quick tip, be sure you’re very familiar with a game before putting any cash on the line, and as always, play responsibly!

Types of Online Skill Games for Real Money

Almost any game imaginable can be played over the internet with other people. Many of them – especially the types that involve high levels of skill – offer friendly wagering. The most common skill games include…


Play Real Money Skill Games OnlineOnline poker has been around since before the turn of the millennium. Millions of people play online every day, participating in cash games and tournaments. It is, by far, the most popular online skill game of them all. Poker can be played in multiple variants, such Texas Holdem, Omaha Holdem, 5 Card Draw, Stud, Razz, H.O.R.S.E. and many more.


Another superbly popular form of skill gaming, Backgammon is a two-player game that’s been enjoyed for centuries. It’s one of the oldest board games still in existence. The rules are fairly simple to learn, but developing a winning strategy can take quite some time.


Much like Backgammon, Chess is a simple game to play, but can take years to master. There’s absolutely no element of luck here, so I don’t recommend getting into a real money match unless you’re very experienced, and don’t mind playing on a timer.


Checkers is often considered a child’s game – the adolescent version of Chess, some say. You’d be surprised just how many adults play checkers for real money online. The game’s more intricate tactics go deeper than you may think…

Gin / Rummy / Spades / Bridge

Card gaming fans flock to skill gaming websites from all over the world to participate in multi-player games like these. They’re easy to find, highly entertaining and, in some cases, especially fun if you’ve got an equally knowledgeable partner to bring along!


Enjoyed by all ages, Dominoes can be played in various formats for 2, 3, and 4 players. The multiple variants of dominoes are commonly divided into two categories; blocking games and scoring games. You’ll find them all available online, for fun or real money.

Get Started Playing Real Money Skill Games Online

To get started playing any of these PVP games and more, you’ll need to find an iGaming website that offers them. That’s the easy part. From there, you’ll need to see if player’s from your country are accepted, what types of banking methods are available, and of course check on the operator’s reputation to make sure it’s a legitimate website.

With due diligence complete, you can sign up an account by pressing the Register (Join/Sign Up) button. If you intend to play for money, be sure to use your real name and address here. You won’t be able to deposit or withdrawal winnings otherwise.

After registering, log into your account and look for the banking section. Choose a convenient payment option, upload some funds, and you’re all set to play online skill games for real money!

Learn more about How to Play and Win PVP Skill Games.

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Mar 16

Understanding slots pay lines, and their effect on bankroll and win rate.

Slots Pay Lines ExplainedThere are many, many types of slot machines on the market today. They come in different shapes and sizes, featuring every theme imaginable (and then some). They include all sorts of bonus rounds and special games that can be triggered. The one thing they all have in common is the presence of slot machine pay lines.

Not all slots games call them pay lines. It really depends on how many there are. A classic 3-reel slot could have 1, 3, 5, 8, or 14 lines to win on. A 5-reel video slot could range anywhere from 9 lines up into the hundreds, even thousands! Most slots makers call these super-high line machines ‘ways to win‘ or ‘all-ways‘ games, paying every possible line, either left-to-right, or both left-to-right and right-to-left. I’ve seen games paying top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top as well.

They can call these whatever they want, but they’re still pay lines in my book. What separates their title is usually how they are activated.

Activating Slot Machine Pay Lines

In traditional (low) pay line games, the player will pay one credit to activate each line. A 9 line game played at $0.02 would cost $0.18 per spin (2*9). At 25 pay lines, the cost jumps to $0.50, and so on.

Other games feature what they call ‘Fixed Pay Lines‘. In these games, players don’t get a choice of activating lines. For low-line games, the cost per spin will be the same as the example above, based on the number of lines and coin size. For high-line games, such as 100 line games, or 243 ways to win game, a fixed, incremental cost is applied. These games are often played in betting increments of $0.40.

In this case, payouts are calculated by dividing the bet by the total number of lines. So, on 243 ways to win slot machine, with a bet size of $0.40, the player is actually betting (0.4/243=0.001646) about $0.0016 per line. Which brings us to our next topic…

How Slots Pay Lines Effect Win Rate

Slot Machine Pay Lines and Win RateIn truth, the number of pay lines won’t effect your long-term win rate. This is decided solely by the game’s random number generator (RNG) and theoretical return to player (RTP). However, in the short term, a larger number of pay lines will usually result in more frequent wins. But how valuable are they?

Based on the equation above, we can see that only a tiny portion of each bet is applied per pay line. Because there are so many lines, chances of many lines striking a win all at once are very high. However, if you win on 15 lines in a single spin, with an average 10x per line payout, you’re only going to win about $0.24 (0.0016*15*10=0.24).

In effect, you’ve actually lost. You spent $0.40 to spin the reels, then only came away with $0.24; an effectual loss of $0.16. And that brings us to another point…

Slot Machine Pay Lines and Bankroll Longevity

Lower pay lines don’t hit wins very often. Thus, with a modest bankroll, it can be easy to run dry in a short period of time. With just a bit of luck, though, each win you get can be large enough to restock your bankroll for many more spins to come.

With higher line slot machines, you’re going to win very frequently. Most of your wins will be on a multitude of pay lines, but as the above example shows, you could still be losing money on those spins. The most common effect is a bankroll that diminishes, but at a slower rate.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can supply more longevity to your bankroll, and a much higher level of overall entertainment. Which brings us to one final, but ultimately important thought…

Beware LDWs: Losses Disguised as Wins

There’s a positive and negative side to this high-pay line set-up. On the positive side, your bankroll can last much longer when you’re frequently winning small amounts, and/or losing only a fraction of each bet. On the downside, those winning spins that are actually fractional losses can cause players to lose sight of the fact that their bankroll is still declining. These players get a sense of winning, despite actually losing.

Researchers actually have a name for this; ‘losses disguised as wins‘, or LDWs.

A player who recognizes LDWs can actually increase their level of entertainment. Unfortunately, studies show those who don’t recognize it can begin displaying signs of at-risk behavior; chasing losses, heading to the ATM for more money, spending more time in the casino than intended, becoming emotionally distraught when they lose, etc.

Knowledge is clearly power. Recognize LDWs for what they are, and you can experience a much more responsible and enjoyable session playing high-number slots pay lines.

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Mar 14

NetEnt celebrates 2nd millionaire in 2018 on Mega Fortune Dreams Slot.

Mega Fortune Dreams Slot pays 4 Million Progressive JackpotNetEnt is stealing the spotlight from Microgaming today. Both are universally-renowned developers of digital gambling content; both featuring a famous, millionaire-making progressive jackpot slot machine. And while it’s often Microgaming’s Mega Moolah that’s making all the headlines, NetEnt’s Mega Fortune progressive is giving its rival a run for their money; lots and lots of money!

Its was confirmed this week that NetEnt’s Mega Fortune Dreams paid out a tidy sum of €4,084,430.35 on Wednesday, March 7. This marks the second time in 2018 NetEnt in celebrating a new lucky millionaire in its midst.

Mega Fortune Dreams Slot Pays €4M

The fortunate winner, hailing from Sweden, was spinning the reels of NetEnt’s Mega Fortune Dreams last week when the enormous multi-million progressive jackpot was struck. The player’s identity remains anonymous, but we do know that he/she was playing the game at Unibet Casino when the jackpot was hit.

Confirmation of the win came directly from one of NetEnt’s highest ranking executives, Chief Product Officer Henrik Fagerlund. “At NetEnt, this is what we do: thrilling entertainment,” he says.

“We’re delighted that Mega Fortune Dreams has created yet another multimillionaire,” continues Fagerlund. “The game is a real favorite, and we hope 2018 continues to be a great year for more and more lucky players!”

On January 23, another lucky player became an instant millionaire on the Mega Fortune progressive jackpot. That winner was playing the original Mega Fortune Slot release, not the luxury-themed Dreams edition, but the progressive jackpot is the same, linked across all Mega Fortune variations. That UK player scooped a life-altering €2,553,604.67.

Mega Fortune vs. Mega Moolah

Microgaming Mega Moolah Progressive Jackpot SlotThese two multi-million progressive jackpots have a lot in common. For example, they each feature a scaling series of progressive jackpots that can be won; three for NetEnt, four for Microgaming. They each deliver their jackpots at random, triggering a 3-tier wheel that must spin its way to the central wheel, and land on the ‘mega’ jackpot position, to strike. They also each come in multiple themes and variable reel-sets to play on.

NetEnt’s Mega Fortune Progressive can be won on three variants. There’s the original Mega Fortune Slot, the Mega Fortune Dreams, and Mega Fortune Touch (same as original, but specifically for mobile users). Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is available on five games; the original safari-themed Mega Moolah (3-reel and 5-reel editions available), Mega Moolah Isis, Mega Moolah 5 Reel Drive, and Mega Moolah Summertime.

Both have paid out similar amounts of cash in the last decade. This latest multi-million progressive jackpot release is #44 for NetEnt. Microgaming’s latest strike, just one day later on March 8 for $4.4M, marked #46 for that brand. The Mega Fortune averages about €4 million ($4.94m) every 10 weeks. The Mega Moolah averages $5 million (€4.04m) every 9 weeks.

The biggest difference between these games is the jackpot seed. Each time the Mega Fortune or Mega Fortune Dreams Slot jackpot is won, it re-seeds as €250,000. Microgaming, on the other hand, re-seeds its Mega Moolah jackpot at a whopping $1,000,000. As such, every winner of the Microgaming ‘Millionaire Maker‘ is guaranteed at least 7-figure payout.

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Mar 12

Why so many online casinos employ Evolution Live Casino games.

Evolution Live Casino GamesFor years, I’ve touted the superiority of Evolution Gaming as the #1 live casino supplier in the industry. It’s not just my opinion, but a proven fact. Evolution live dealer games have won the EGR Live Casino Supplier of the Year award for 8 years running; ever since the inaugural EGR Awards ceremony in 2010.

It’s not just the players who prefer these games though. More and more operators are choosing Evolution as their live casino games supplier because it presents them with more opportunities to capitalize on the global multi-billion dollar iGaming industry.

Why Operators Love Evolution Live Casino Games

First and foremost, operators choose Evolution because the players demand it. The software is second to none. The video and audio quality are superb. The games stream seamlessly, even on moderately equipped systems. The dealers are both professional and friendly. There’s absolutely nothing lacking from the player experience.

An operator’s choice goes well beyond that, though. Evolution also supplies unparalleled service in terms of regulatory compliance and certification. The company works with all respectably regulated markets to ensure that its clients have every opportunity to grow, including the chance to gain early market share in newly regulated, and re-regualted markets.

“We have an unrivalled track record in rapid rollout of Live Casino services in re-regulated markets,” says the live casino company. “In recent years we have been first to market in new jurisdictions such as Italy, Spain and Denmark. Evolution was also the first Live Casino provider to gain Preliminary Waiver Approval for New Jersey, USA.

“Across Europe and beyond we lead the way. In each jurisdiction we work collaboratively with customers and regulators to ensure that Evolution licensees can be ready to gain first- or early-to-market advantage with 100% compliant, localised solutions,” boasts Evolution.

Evolution Global Market Licences

Evolution Gaming holds licences in a number of major regulatory jurisdictions, including all of the most prominent ones that demand the strictest compliance standards. The company’s current licences include:

AGCC Licence – Category 2 Associate Certificate from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission

MGA Licence – Class 4 Gaming Licence from the Malta Gambling Authority

UKGC Licence – Combined Remote Operating Licence from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission

Belgium Licence – Vergunning Klasse E (Class E Licence) from the Kansspel Commissie (Belgium Gaming Commission)

Romania Licence – Class II Licence from the Romania National Gambling Office

Evolution Certification & Accreditation

Evolution is certified by a host of credible auditing firms. Certification is required in various markets to ensure that companies follow all letters of the law, in terms of software accuracy and fairness. The company’s current certifications include:

AAMS Certification – Amministrazione Autonoma Monopoli di Stato Certified in Italy.

SKAT Certification – Danish Tax Authority and Danish Gaming Authority (DGA) Certified in Denmark.

DGOJ Certification – Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego and Murcia Certified in Spain.

Last but not least, Evolution live casino games and software are ISO 27001:2013 accredited. ISO accreditation is reliant upon the current standards of the International Organization for Standardization, which last updated its policy in 2013. ISO 27001 accreditation relates to a ‘management system’ that delivers ‘information security’, and is awarded only after a company passes a rigorous software audit.

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Mar 08

Royal Vegas Casino player wins CAD $7.45M on Mega Moolah progressive.

Royal Vegas Casino awards Mega Moolah Progressive to Canadian playerIf you didn’t believe that Microgaming‘s progressive online slots could really strike, think again. It’s been confirmed that, last week, a lucky Canadian member of Royal Vegas Casino struck the brand’s most lucrative, multi-million jackpot – the Mega Moolah – for a whopping CAD $7.45 million.

The munificent jackpot was struck on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. Confirmation from Royal Vegas came in today. The fortunate player, now $7,452,254 richer, has not been named, but is a long-time member of the online casino, hailing from Canada.

This win marks the 45th recorded strike for Microgaming’s Mega Moolah, a.k.a. the ‘Millionaire Maker‘, since 2009. The lucky strike is far from being the online progressive’s largest payout in history, but is still quite a bit higher than the average payout of about $5 million.

The largest prize on Mega Moolah paid £13,212,882 to a UK member of Betfair Casino in October of 2016. That staggering payout still holds the Guinness World Record for highest online slot machine jackpot in history.

Mega Moolah Progressive, One Million Strong and Growing

Mega Moolah Progressive struck at Royal Vegas CasinoThe Mega Moolah is one of the very rare online progressives that starts out with a 7-figure jackpot each time its awarded. The jackpot seed is reset to $1,000,000, and grows at an incredibly rapid pace, often climbing no less than $250,000 per day.

That phenomenal rate of growth can be attributed to the game’s exponentially rising popularity. Its popularity, in turn, is attributed to its frequent release, averaging once about every nine weeks. And the more people play, the faster it will continue to grow, thus the cycle continues to accelorate.

It doesn’t hurt that Microgaming’s famous progressive is employed by more online casino operators than any other million dollar jackpot slot. Royal Vegas Casino is just one of more than a thousand gambling websites that boast the Microgaming software brand.

It’s not unheard of for the Mega Moolah’s largest jackpot to pay back-to-back, either. The lowest jackpot ever released was a mere (ha!) $1,013,791, unleashing barely an hour after the previous jackpot. Fortunately, no matter how little the jackpot grows, it will always deliver a life-altering amount of money to each of its winners.

Update: Mage Moolah Strikes Yet Again!

By the time this article was ready for publication, the news spread that the Mega Moolah has been struck yet again! This time, the prize amounts to $4,365,300. There’s no word yet on who won the jackpot, what country they’re from, or which online casino they were playing at when the multi-million dollar prize was released. We do know it was hit less than 20 hours ago, on the evening of Wednesday, March 7, 2018.

This latest Mega Moolah jackpot comes just 8 days after the previous $7.45 million win by Canada’s lucky Royal Vegas player. It serves as further proof of just how often Microgaming’s million maker can pay out, and how fast the jackpot is climbing. In a mere 8 days time, it rose from $1,000,000 to $4,365,300, representing an average growth rate of more than $420,000 per day; $17,500 per hour; nearly $300 per minute.

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Mar 06

PlayTech’s Discojack and Discolette live dealer casino games a hit or miss?

Discojack and Discolette live casino theme from PlayTechThe digital gambling industry is always looking for new ways to innovative. Coming up with fresh and appealing ideas isn’t so easy in a 20 year old business where technological advancements generally lead the way for progression. But PlayTech thinks its found the key to success in a jammin’ new variety of live dealer casino tables.

Last month, the world’s leading supplier of iGaming content launched two new live casino tables they call Discojack and Discolette. If those clever names didn’t give away the concept already, they are disco-themed versions of live dealer blackjack and roulette.

Disco Live Dealer Casino Games a Hit or Miss?

Terrible Product Combinations - Santa DreidelWe’ve all seen some strange product combinations in our day. Remember when Archie McPhee & Co. tried to market the Santa Dreidel? Yeah, that was a really bad combination, for blatantly obvious reasons. Some aren’t so obvious though.

When my 11 year old niece – and artistic pastry chef in the making – served me a vanilla, chocolate-frosted cupcake with a lemon cookie on top, I thought it was a fantastic idea! Believe me, it was not. That flavor combination was far from successful, let me tell you. On the other hand, I winced at the roasted marshmallow version, and it was phenomenal!

So while some may raise an eyebrow in bewilderment over PlayTech’s new live casino theme, I say it’s got potential. It could be a real hit, or it could bomb faster than Redux Beverages’s short-lived Cocaine energy drink.

On the one hand, disco isn’t exactly the type of music millennials are downloading from the iTunes store. But maybe that’s not their target audience. It does evoke a special sense of nostalgia for some. And why not enjoy some hip-jiving tunes while playing live blackjack or roulette?

One thing is for certain, though. The dealers really seem to be enjoying it.

Jammin’ with Discojack Live Casino Theme

It’s not just a retro-musical theme that sets these games apart. The tables and backgrounds are ornately decorated to match the motiff, and the dealer’s are all dressed in 1970’s attire. Star-shaped sunglasses, vibrant headbands, blue-jean jackets with the sleeves cut off, and an array of retro wigs are on display.

During one session last week, a Discojack dealer named Molly genuinely seemed to be enjoying herself. She was bobbing her head, disco dancing, clicking her fingers between deals, making jokes with the players. She could hardly keep the smile from her face.

“I’m having fun. I’m really having fun!” she said as several players laughed along to the antics of the afro-doning pit boss.

Discojack Live Dealer Casino Games a Hit

The players at the table were having an equally entertaining experience. Clearly, the live casino theme and music creates for an energetic atmosphere, and gives everyone something to talk about while waiting for their turn to hit or stand.

So the real question isn’t whether Discojack and Discolette are going to be hits. It seems to me they are already hits with the dealers and players. The question is whether its going to be a just another fad.

If/when the high-energy, ambiance and nostalgia wears off, these tables could quickly lose popularity. Then they could be replaced with some other far-out theme; astrology, zombies, alien invasion perhaps?

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Feb 27

Gateway to sale-lease 3 BC Canada casinos in Vancouver area.

Gateway sells 3 BC casinos i Vancouver to US firmCanada’s casino properties are changing hands like hot potatoes these days. For the last two years, the headlines have been alight with stories of provincial regulators selling the operational rights to ‘casino bundles‘ from British Columbia to Ontario. Now, one of those companies is passing the proprietary torch to an American investment firm.

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment issued a press release on Monday announcing the finalization of a ‘Sale-Leaseback‘ agreement with Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback Inc. Clearly, Mesirow is in the business of sale-leaseback contracts, and the opportunity to add three Vancouver casinos to its portfolio was too sweet a deal to pass up.

Gateway Unloads 3 BC Casinos in Vancouver Area

According to the press release, Gateway is selling three of its casino properties in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The properties include the Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby, the Starlight Casino in New Westminster, and Cascades Casino Langley.

Talk of a sale-leaseback agreement has been ongoing for the greater part of a year. In June 2017, Gateway Executive Chairman Gabriel de Alba spoke with Reuters. He disclosed that the company was in talks with investors from North America, Europe and Asia concerning the trio of Vancouver casinos, valued at more than CA-$500 million.

Since then, Gateway has been waiting for the regulatory approval from the British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC), a necessary step prior to the finalization of any negotiations. Now that the paperwork is all in order, the sale agreement is going through.

Under the terms of the contract, Chicago-based Mesirow will assume the role of landlord for the three gambling facilities. Gateway will lease the property from its new owners, and continue to run day to day operations of the casinos.

The casino corporation is not revealing the exact sale price, except to say that it’s “in excess of $500 million and delivering net proceeds of $483 million to Gateway”.

Sale of Vancouver Casinos Part of Gateway’s Strategy

Chairman de Alba salutes the sale-leaseback agreement as a strategic move that will strengthen the company’s portfolio. “Gateway is unmatched in the industry when it comes to the quality of its assets and strategy, strength of its financial performance and, just as importantly, the operational excellence of its management team,” he says.

“We have dramatically changed Gateway’s performance profile, positioned it to reduce debt and expanded both the company’s top and bottom line,” he continues. Mr. de Alba says this move opens “significant opportunities for growth and a high return on capital.”

The press release promises that the casinos will continue to offer the “same exceptional value” to its customers. At the same time, they do not expect any changes in staff or operational systems at these locations.

Once the sale-leaseback deal officially closes on their casinos in Vancouver, Gateway will maintain a real estate portfolio with a value of more than $200 million. “With robust growth, sophisticated operations and excellent customer service at our properties across the country, Gateway has established itself as the leading gaming and entertainment operator in Canada,” says de Alba.

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Feb 23

Is the lack of online gambling promotions crippling Canada online casinos?

Online Gambling Promotions at Canada Online CasinosThere are only a few notable differences between Canada’s online casinos; the home-grown variety and the internationally regulated ones. The most significant of all – one that’s contributing to a hauntingly wide gap in revenue generation – may be the lack of online casino promotions on Canadian gaming sites.

Online Gambling Promotions Crippling Canada Online Casinos

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, gambling promotions are, for the most part, illegal. No gambling operator, online or on land, is permitted to entice a player to continue wagering beyond their means. They must also uphold strict responsibility guidelines, making it difficult to judge which promotional material is appropriate, and which is not.

Handing out free betting credits to entice new players to sign up at an online casino is a pretty clear violation of Canada’s gambling laws. Thus you won’t find any ‘welcome bonus packages‘ at sites like Playnow (BC , Manitoba), PlayOLG (Ontario) or EspaceJeux (Quebec).

However, you will find these in abundance at offshore online casinos. They are extremely prominent, often promoting $1,000 or more in bonuses to new players. The value of these bonuses continue to increase over time, due to the exponentially competitive nature of the internet gambling industry. But not here in Canada.

Canada Can’t Win Without Online Casino Promotions

Without any form of promotions, it’s extremely difficult for Canada online casinos to compete with their offshore rivals. It’s not just welcome bonuses that are grabbing the attention of players, but continual promo offers. Make another deposit, get another bonus. It’s your birthday? Here’s another bonus. Climbing the VIP ladder? Here’s an even bigger bonus!

The promotional offerings from internationally regulated casinos that accept Canadians are incredibly enticing. If provincial regulators aren’t allowed to do something similar – even on a much smaller scale – convincing players in BC, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec to choose them over offshore sites will only become more difficult.

Who’s Really Losing Out? Revenue vs. Responsibility

When it comes to responsibility, Canadian gambling laws do make sense. The nation is on a narrow track in its efforts to reduce at-risk and problem gambling. As journalist Russel Wangersky of The Telegram points out, promotions of this nature would be terrible for a recovering gambling addict.

“It would be the equivalent of the liquor store sending a recovering alcoholic a coupon for a free flask of vodka,” he says.

In Wangersky’s case, the issue arose when he received a free $20 voucher in the mail from Atlantic Lotto to place bets at His story went a bit deeper though.

Back in late 2014, in order to fulfill due diligence in an investigative report, he joined and dropped $20 in his account. He then wagered his way through it, playing various online lotto games, and went about writing his article. With his account tapped out, he let it go dormant.

Then all of a sudden, just last week – more than 3 years later – he received a plain white envelope in the mail. No return address or other information was visible on the envelope. Inside was letter that began, “We miss you!”. It was from Atlantic Lotto, who missed him so much they sent him a free $20 betting coupon.

“I’m glad I’m not a recovering gambling addict,” says Wangersky, who went on to analogize the situation with a recovering alcoholic enticed by free liquor.

It brings into focus two questions. First and foremost, is the ALC in violation of Canada’s gambling laws with that kind of material? And second, would a potential spike in problem gambling be worth the vast increase in revenue that legalizing Canada online casino promotions could create?

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Feb 21

Online casino reviews are helpful, but due diligence is better.

Online Casino Review and Due DiligenceEvery single day, countless people rely on the information of online gambling review sites. Some of these websites are great, detailing every worthwhile aspect of an operator, its software, and its payment systems. Unfortunately, these types of sites fall into a very small minority.

Most online casino surveyors don’t go nearly that far. They will skim over the basic topics, hitting harder on the promotional aspect than anything else. These sites are managed by indifferent affiliates who are just looking to make a buck. So long as they can convince you to join a casino and make a deposit, they get paid. That’s the only thing they’re interested in.

Only Trust Thorough Online Casino Reviews

A thorough online casino review will cover a lot of topics. They’ll tell you the basics, like software supplier and game variety, welcome bonuses and other promotions, and what payment methods are available. But they go way beyond that.

The reviewer will note the operating company of the casino, its year of establishment and reputation during that time. You’ll learn about where that operator is licenced, and if the software supplier is certified for fairness. The reliability of customer support and modes of contact will be on display. In rare cases, the writer will detail actual communication between them and the online casino support team.

These are the best online casino review sites, and are the first place you’ll want to gather information when seeking out a new gaming site to play at. But once you’ve read enough to select a casino, don’t stop there.

Even the best online gambling site reviews rarely go far enough to deliver 100% peace of mind to their readers. For that, it takes extra due diligence on the player’s part.

Investigative Reviewing of Online Gambling Sites

There are three things you want to investigate for yourself.

Casino Licence: First, go to the casino website, scroll to the bottom and double-check on the licencing info. If they claim to be licenced in Malta, for example (MGA), click on that icon to make sure it goes to the regulator’s websites, and shows that the company is indeed licenced there. If the licencing info/image isn’t linked, chances are the licence either doesn’t exist, or is expired.

Software Certification: Software certification is generally listed at the bottom of the online casino website, near the licencing info. Microgaming-powered casinos, for instance, will always display the Microgaming logo and the eCOGRA Safe & Fair logo, right next to each other. Microgaming is the software supplier, eCOGRA is the auditor that certifies it. Click on the certification link to ensure the software is actually certified by that third-party company. You can even go a step further, investigating the auditing firm to make sure it’s reliable, as well.

Payment Processor: Just knowing the payment methods available is helpful, but what about the company that the casino employs to process its payments? Sometimes, it’s not the casino’s fault for security flaws or slow withdrawals, but rather the payment processing firm that’s to blame. Online casinos that fall under group operation (i.e. Digimedia operates over a dozen brands) often host proprietary payment services, ensuring the payments are as reliable as the casino operator itself. For those that outsource processing companies, you’ll want to check on the reputation of that firm.

If all of these things check out, you can rest assured that you’ve done your homework. Combining the information of unbiased online casino reviews with a little elbow grease will provide ultimate peace of mind.

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