No matter the pastime and where or how one chooses to spend it, the main prerequisite is to have fun. As much as possible and for as long as possible, that is. After all, time is a lot of things, but in regards to today’s main topic, it is money. More specifically, YOUR money. To ensure you have as much fun during your spare time while turning potential profits enjoying the best online casino games at the same time, we’ve walked the walk for you and took a very close look at many
so-called “best casinos” out there. The main things we looked for when drawing comparisons revolved around the safety measures employed, responsiveness, efficiency and speed (in regards to both the website architecture and staff, such as account managers or customer support professionals), as well as an entire array of other technical details we won’t bore you with just yet. With that being said, if you already had an online casino in mind and it’s not on our list, stick around and you’ll better understand where exactly it fell short.
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Online casinos in Canada, a brief history
Before taking a look at the virtual aspect of it, gambling in Canada has been recorded going back well even before the country itself got baptized. However, even if canuck players can easily count themselves alongside other nations of longstanding gambling enthusiasts, the most interesting developments took place in the last couple hundred years.
It all started with the Nanaimo Casino, the first land-based venue to open its doors to Canadian high rollers and novices alike, back in February 1986. And then, there were two. The first online casino, however, didn’t see the bytes of web until 1996. Although it had a modest collection of casino entertainment, it enjoyed massive success.
Fast-forward 14 years later, when the British Columbia Lottery Corporation sets in place the very first government-regulated and fully legal online casino. Its main use is regional funding, much like every other state-owned online casino. When it comes to the offering, however, it is scarce. Real high rollers do not find much value venturing into the outdated titles and sparse live casino options. Because of the continuous overlapping between poor government regulated offerings and vague laws regarding who can play where, offshore online casinos became a tantalizing attraction for the Canadian player base. Today, there are literally thousands of online casinos one can choose from.
Mobile casinos, more popular than desktop casinos?
What online casinos did was to make it possible for the everyday gambler to place bets without being physically present at the location or having to phone a bookie. With the emergence of remote gambling, the platform one would engage in such activities became an important differentiator pretty fast. So, online casino players are now divided in two main camps: PC and mobile. When talking about mobile platforms, we’ll particularly refer to smartphones as the competition between the two giants Apple and Samsung have sparked a technological revolution, constantly bringing to the table upgrades over updates and everything in between in terms of performance optimization. Also, smartphones are considerably easier to carry around that tablets, phablets or other larger mobile hardware. Of course, this is not to say that PC gameplay does not benefit from constant upgrades but unsurprisingly, mobile activity accounts for the majority of online casino traffic. Easy to carry, quick access and two-way play, what can beat this magnificent trio, right? Two-way play refers to the fact that one could choose to either play online casino games directly from the smartphone’s browser – which would offer almost the same experience as playing from a PC, minus the squinting – or from a dedicated app that can be downloaded for free. The latter, if done properly, offers a more immersive online casino experience (even though for fewer titles than PC), while PC gameplay is reduced to the browser (and considerably harder to fit it into your pocket). At the same time, however, some titles that run on PC do not yet have a working mobile version. Also, whatever fun experience one could enjoy playing on mobile, it is taken to a completely another level on PC because of a plethora of reasons. Some of the most important ones would be screen real estate, followed closely by more intricate graphics and fuller sounds (but this also highly depends on your peripherals).
All in all, both come with advantages. All that matters is the particular experience you’re going for. So, if you prefer short bursts of adrenaline while on the go, there are enough titles, features, and online casino apps that will satisfy your needs for sure. However, if you’re not in a hurry to trade comfort over mobility, the PC gaming experience brings to the table the best it has to offer.
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How to gamble responsibly in Canada
There are plenty of ways to ensure you maintain a safe relationship with gambling. Some of them refer to what you can do about it and some refer to what can any given solid online casino do for you. Engaging in games of chance implies losing a few as much as winning some. Seasoned high rollers have mastered crucial techniques that allow them to keep a cool head when faced with adversity – which undoubtedly will come.
What can you do about it, though? Fortunately, a lot.
- Don’t blindly chase the next win just because you lost a bet;
- Do not play in altered states (steer clear of alcohol or any other intoxicating substances);
- Familiarize yourself with the game before placing any bets;
- Set a budget limit;
- Set a time limit;
- Give yourself a short break between games or rounds;
- Take up more hobbies and alternate between gambling and other recreational activities;
- Stop playing when frustration overcomes fun;
- Do not trust “good luck” formulas, they don’t exist;
- Do not turn playing slots into a means of paying off debts, bills or holiday deals.
- The more you exercise self-control, the better your online casino experience will get, no matter where you choose to play.
As previously mentioned, there are plenty of measures set in place by the casinos themselves to help you keep gambling fun.
As its name goes, you may choose to exclude yourself from any gambling-related activities offered by a given operator when you feel like taking a break. There are several options you may choose from, but usually self-exclusion takes you out of the game for the longest of periods (some casinos offer the possibility of self-exclusion for anywhere between 6 months to 5 years). Players opting for this will not be able to access their account at all for the timeframe they choose. However, once a self-exclusion agreement has been reached, the online casino needs to first of all close the player account and return any unwithdrawn funds to the player, while also removing all personal information from its database.
This is usually a last resort method and any legitimate casino must offer the possibility of self-exclusion.
Different than the breaks between games or rounds mentioned above, time-outs bear more resemblance to self-exclusion. These can last between a few days to weeks, though, and allows the player to continue engaging in gambling after a break. A time interval is set and for that number of days or weeks, players won’t be able to access their accounts. They will still get access to their balance, but won’t be able to make new deposits or play games on the website. Withdrawals are allowed for the duration of the time-out. Online casino operators are bound to offer time-outs ranging from a minimum
of 24 hours up to a maximum of 6 weeks.
Online Casino Limits
Any respectable business will offer its customers the option of setting limits on a varied array of actions.
Such limits might refer to:
- Deposit limit – restricts the amount of cash a player can deposit within a specified timeframe;
- Loss limit – gives the players the option to mitigate risk by controlling the maximum amount that can be lost within a specified timeframe;
- Wager/Betting limit – allows gamblers to control the total amount of bets placed within a specified timeframe;
- Session limit – allows players to engage in gambling activities for only the period of time they explicitly specify.
Also, apart from these measures, there is a wide array of programs and both national and international regulatory bodies that address problem gambling. To name a few, British Columbia’s Responsible Gambling Program, Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission, Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling, and Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario are among Canada’s most notable ones.
The future of online casinos in Canada
The past might not have been lenient with gambling activities in Canada, but the future surely seems bright. If we were to take a quick peek at the numbers, the Canadian Gaming Association says that only recently, the gross output from gambling revolved around no less than a whopping CA$31 billion, with industry cost of services estimated at around CA$14 billion. While the government might not like the fact that offshore online casinos run away with a slice of the proverbial pie, when it comes to revenue made from iGaming, the recent developments have forced the nation’s regulatory bodies to speed up the process of making online gaming legal all around the country, for varied reasons. As testimony
stands a news report from November 6, 2020, quoting “The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) today applauds the Government of Ontario’s decision to move forward with legislation to make internet gambling (iGaming) a reality in this province and to ensure that the people of Ontario have access to safe and legal gambling options online.” So, not only is there hope, but these are actionable steps taken in a promising direction.
The snippet above cites safety, but another underlying reason for which Canada’s government started to pursue an all-around legalization of online gambling has already been employed before: profit. Realistically, giving the people what they want while enjoying some cash on the side for advancing infrastructure or funding national interests serves as nothing more than the proverbial “win-win”.
As it currently stands, however, the Canadian legislation is plagued by grey areas, which only confuses both parties: the players seeking to enjoy their pastime without constantly having to check the internet to see what new changes in regulations might have appeared overnight, as well as the government that is basically cut off from the juicy profit pie. But then again, there are plenty of signs officials are looking to get a better grasp on the whole situation. Also, there are plenty of online casinos out there where Canadians can play without fear of legal action against them since the government is taking a decentralized approach to the gambling aspect until further news.