Online Casinos Regulated in Ontario

Flag of OntarioOntario is the most populous province in Canada and home to both the national capital and the country’s biggest city. As such, its recent regulation of online casinos has been a boon for the betting industry.

Canada’s Strange Approach to Online Betting

Until very recently, Canada has taken a somewhat peculiar approach to online betting. While casinos, betting on horses, lotteries, and so forth were commonly allowed by provincial authorities in the country, online casinos located domestically were relatively few. But it was simple to travel and camp at real world casinos, provided you followed etiquette.

Canadians were also able to bet online, primarily at offshore casinos, but all this served to do was to shift the revenues generated by betting into the hands of other countries. For overseas nations (especially fellow Anglophone countries such as the United Kingdom) this was very handy but it did not do much for the coffers of the Canadian Government.

However, this has started to change, and part of the reason is legislative moves south of the border.

Betting Bonuses for Canadians

Despite taking a relatively grey approach to online betting for a long time, Canada is a country with a very pro-betting perspective which has made Canadians welcome at many international online betting sites. With more domestic casinos at which to play, there’s never been a better time to indulge in casino gaming for Canadians. One of the advantages of the competitive nature of the industry is the hard-fought competition for players, which means newcomers signing up at a site can almost always benefit from introductory promotions, and existing players frequently enjoy recurring bonuses. The latest Canadian no deposit casino codes provide players with a way to try and win real cash without needing to deposit (and therefore risk) a single penny. These no deposit special offers include free spins (often for a specific slot or a series of linked slots) and free cash, which can be used on most slots and table games within a casino.

First Sports, then Casinos

Traditionally, the USA was much more wary of both sports and casino betting than Canada, which had plenty of casinos across the country. Even Canada’s grey stance towards online casinos was more positive than the restrictive line taken by the USA. However, and slightly oddly, the USA has been liberalizing its betting laws more rapidly than Canada, leaving the northern nation to play catch up.

This began with sports betting, and the legalization of single event sports betting. This had been prohibited both north and south of the border, with sports betting only permitted in parley form (also known as multiples or accumulators, and requiring multiple outcomes to all come off for a bet to pay out). Naturally, this put people off as a single leg failing meant the bet was red. When the USA changed the situation to allow single event sports betting, Canadian bettors, who often gamble on the same sorts of sports, started shifting to bet at US sites. The loss of revenue prompted similar legislative steps to be taken in Canada.

A similar process is underway with online casino betting. On a state-by-state basis, the USA has been opening up to these, and while some (Utah and Hawaii) have no problem maintaining a ban on such things the vast majority of US states have either legalized or are on the road to legalizing online casinos, to bring the associated revenues onshore. And, just as with the sports betting situation, Canada has been scrambling to catch up.

Ontario takes the Plunge

Ontario is the largest province in Canada (in terms of population), and also became the first province in the country to permit wagers within a private online gambling market. The province’s status (high wealth population, English-speaking, common sporting interest with the USA) means its iGaming potential is significant and more than two dozen operators were registered with iGaming Ontario back in April 2022.

The province has permitted both sports and online casino betting online, which is ideal for many sites that offer both under a single virtual roof (and convenient for players who need only a single account to access both forms of wagering). In April, some speculated that revenues in the first year might reach $800m.

Counter Arguments

Not surprisingly, not everyone is pleased with these developments. In addition to people who are against betting generally, land-based casino establishments (beloved of RV holidaymakers and those who prefer playing in person) are concerned that bettors may opt for the undeniably more convenient online world over brick-and-mortar casinos. Such businesses were particularly hard hit by the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, as the entirely optional nature of the activity coupled with transferring chips, cards, and drinks made casinos an obviously risky source of transmission before vaccine rollouts hit the ground.

It’s even been predicted that thousands of jobs and billions in revenue could be lost from the real-world betting sector within five years. But given the convenience of betting online and its greater resilience in the face of the pandemic, it’s hard to imagine things changing.

Ontario has become the latest region to regulate online casinos but it will be far from the last, with more online betting in Canada a seeming certainty.