Ontario is currently leading the way for gambling in Canada. In the last few months, the province has introduced a new regulatory framework for casinos that puts the welfare of its users at its core, all while ensuring people have an enjoyable experience.
Since that change in the law, The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which is responsible for gambling laws in the province, has issued more than 70 new casino licenses. This has created a thriving market providing players with a wide variety of choice.
In this guide, we’ll explore the change in the law and the impact it’s had. We’ll look at current market trends and what the future may hold too. We’ll also offer some useful advice and guidance for navigating casino sites.
About gambling in Canada
Canada is a federal country, just like the United States or Australia. This means it allows provinces like Ontario to control their own laws, though they do have to comply with any federal laws that may be passed.
Federal gambling laws, however, generally relate to criminal offences, leaving provincial law to handle the regulation and licensing of gambling activities.
With provinces responsible for their own gambling laws, the rules do vary across Canada. For example, the minimum age limit may be either 18 or 19 depending on where in the country you are.
In addition, you may find that in some parts of Canada, you’re unable to bet on certain things, such as horse racing or lottery games.
Generally speaking, however, gambling laws in Canada are pretty relaxed. It’s possible for you to play casino games or bet on the National Hockey League (NHL) without repercussion.
Let’s take a look at the situation in Ontario.
Ontario’s change in the law
Ontario is leading the way in Canada with its approach to gambling regulation. The online casino market here has exploded in popularity. The global pandemic no doubt impacted this, with brick-and-mortar casinos forced to close their doors.
The experience provided by online casinos has also greatly improved too, however, as there have been developments made both in mobile phones and the usability of the apps and websites. As a result, more people than ever before are playing casino games online.
Many countries around the world have shied away from trying to regulate the online part of the industry. Ontario, on the other hand, has introduced a brand-new framework specifically targeting internet gaming (iGaming).
According to the AGCO, they’ve developed strong rules for gambling websites. At the heart of these rules is the need to promote responsible gambling, protect vulnerable people and do all they can to enhance the integrity of gaming. As a result, they only grant licenses to reliable and safe online casinos.
To help protect players, the AGCO has introduced a logo that players can look for to see if they’re playing on a regulated site. This means that players can rest assured that the betting site has met the necessary checks and that they won’t suddenly lose their money or not receive the payouts they’ve won.
Under the AGCO’s regulated system, casinos must pay out in a timely and accurate manner. They must also adopt a transparent approach to all games, such as explaining the mechanisms of different games. Above all, they must keep personal and financial information safe and secure.
From the player’s perspective, knowing that a casino is trusted in this way can really enhance the enjoyment factor. For example, you know your payouts aren’t going to get delayed or withheld, or that your data isn’t going to be shared with a random third party without your consent.
What Ontario has done is ensure that people can play in a fun and secure way. Given how many casinos have opened up in the province, it seems it’s an approach favored by them too. Let’s take a look at this surge in numbers
The current casino market in Ontario
Since the change in law came into effect in Ontario in April 2022, the AGCO has issued scores of licenses to new online casinos.
Towards the end of 2022, the regulator issued licenses to the likes of Ligtip Limited, which intends to roll out its Tonybet brand. Delta Bingo and Gaming and High Flyer Casino also received licenses and are now plying their trade.
Before these firms received licenses, NetBet Enterprises also received permission to trade. In all, there are over 70 casinos trading in what has quickly become a very busy market in Ontario.
In addition to online casinos, there are also 25 brick-and-mortar slots and casino locations spread across the 44 cities of Ontario. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has the most casinos with six.
There’s also a luxury casino resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario called the Fallsview Casino Resort, which is also an attraction for non-gamblers too thanks to the remarkable views. Another popular casino in Ontario is Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino. In fact, it’s the biggest casino in Canada and has a huge poker room with 14 tables.
What does the future hold?
If current trends are anything to go by, the future of Ontario’s casino industry is set to continue to grow. The extent of that growth could be significant.
This is namely due to the fact that the Ontario government has taken a very forward-thinking approach to regulating the internet gaming market.
The introduction of iGaming Ontario, as it’s known, is a smart move. It allows the government to gain control of a part of the casino market that’s growing faster than laws can keep up with.
Many governments around the world have ignored the problem and almost seem to hope that it fixes itself. On the other hand, Ontario is being proactive. Already having issued scores of licenses to new casinos, they’re ensuring that players are put at the heart of the market.
Those gambling in Ontario casinos can do so without any fear that their payouts may not come through or may be delayed. They don’t have to worry that their personal data may be shared with unscrupulous third parties. The government has stepped in to ensure that this doesn’t happen, and they’re benefiting from the greater tax revenues that a regulated market offers.
So, with the benefits clear for all stakeholders within the industry — casinos, players and regulators — the future looks bright for the Ontario casino industry.
What are the best casinos in Ontario?
If you’re thinking about paying a visit to Ontario and want to check out its casinos, we’ve got some tips for you.
We’ve mentioned a couple of popular casinos already and we’ll mention one of them again. The Fallsview Casino Resort balances entertainment with luxury and offers an amazing view of Niagara Falls. It has an incredible 3,000 slot machine games and 100 gaming tables. It also has a range of restaurants for you to choose from.
Arguably the most popular casino is the Casino Niagara. Not only does it offer breathtaking views of the Falls, but it also has over 1,300 slot machine games, 30 gaming tables and a dedicated poker room. If you like to bet on sports, it has a unique area for that too. It’s a 360-degree experience for gambling fans.
Outside of the Niagara Falls area, there are plenty of other casinos to choose from. The Casino Rama Resort in Orillia is a popular destination. While it may not have as beautiful views of the water, it has over 2,500 slot machine games and 100 gaming tables. Plus, it features a large poker room.
In short, you have plenty of choice when it comes to casinos. If you can’t find a physical destination you like, you have even more options online.
Gambling tips and advice
Visiting casinos both online and offline can be fun. If you’re new to the experience, you may find it a bit daunting though. Here are some quick tips on how to approach things:
- Set a budget and stick to it. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose.
- Understand the odds and the house edge of the games you play. This could save you an absolute fortune down the line.
- Don’t chase losses or try to make up for them by increasing your bets. You can quickly find yourself in a wormhole that’s hard to get out of.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol while gambling as it can impair your judgment. Casinos can offer cheap drinks and offers. This is why some people prefer to play online.
- Take frequent breaks and don’t gamble for too long at a time. Remember, it’s important to have fun.
- Avoid playing with your emotions. Don’t let frustration or excitement cloud your judgment. Losing is never fun but just remember, it’s a game and if you’ve budgeted properly, it’s money you can afford to lose.
- Know when to walk away. Set a win limit and a loss limit and stick to them.
- Always read the rules and terms of the game before playing.
- Take advantage of bonuses and rewards offered by the casino. Any opportunity you can take to build up some extra credit is a must. You may find more appealing bonuses with online casinos.
- Finally, remember that gambling should be fun, and never let it become a problem or addiction.