Ontario’s proximity to the USA often provides an eye-opening perspective on just how different Canada can be from its nearest neighbour. The topic of casinos, and the online variety in particular, provides a perfect case in point. Where the US has, with a few notable exceptions like Las, Vegas Nevada and New Jersey, taken a somewhat puritanical attitude, Canada’s approach has been far closer to that of Europe.
A look at Gaming in general
Why do most people visit a casino? It’s not really to try to beat the house and get rich, nice though that would be. The real reason is to have an enjoyable evening in the company of friends. A night out costs money, and the casino has overheads to meet like any other business, so most people accept that a night out at a casino will leave them a few dollars down, and that’s fine.
At first glance, it is hard to rationalise this with the concept of visiting a casino on your PC or smartphone, but that is where social gaming comes in. Anyone who has played Farmville or Words with Friends knows how it works – the game itself is one thing, but chatting with your friends at the same time is the main point of it. This aspect of gaming works equally well with online casinos, and is something that many offer.
Background to Toronto’s casino culture
Casino gambling was first legalised in Ontario back in 1980. This resulted in several gambling establishments popping up across Toronto and in the surrounding suburbs. Not all of these were the most salubrious, and most disappeared as quickly as they arrived. Today, the only land-based casino within the city limits is OLG Slots, which is within the Woodbine Racetrack, out near Pearson International Airport.
As online casinos grew in popularity, these were similarly legalised. While there is only one such site that is operated at the provincial level, the big difference between online gambling in Canada compared with in the USA is that there is nothing to stop residents from visiting offshore sites, and they face no legal consequences for doing so.
Given the somewhat scant offerings as far as brick and mortar casinos are concerned, the online revolution has led to more people than ever participating in everything from slots games to roulette to poker. Technological advances are making these virtual pastimes ever more engaging and closer to the real thing.
Taking it to the next step with Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality has been a hot topic in gaming over the last year or so, with both the specialised headsets and the smartphone accessories becoming big sellers. The technology is still in its early stages, but is being adopted faster in the casino sector than in any other.
For one thing, a spinning roulette wheel or a turning card are both relatively easy effects to create. For another, though, when taken in combination with the social gaming aspects, it is a perfect way to enhance the overall online casino experience.
As the technology continues to evolve, a night in and a night out will become gradually harder to tell apart.