The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has been regulating gambling activities in Toronto since 1988 when betting was limited to horse racing and charity sweepstakes. These days, foreign online casinos that are licensed to operate in Canada as well as land-based betting houses are in their numbers here.
The city alone has over 6,000 slot machines since slots are generally allowed operation here, while some table games require clearance from a higher authority beyond what's available in the province of Ontario. The OLG Slots Casino has a lot of influence in the industry as it was here the longest, while Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, Rama Casino, and Casino Niagara have come up more recently.
Growth of Online Gambling
The government of Canada has strict regulations on online gambling within its provinces, but players are allowed to access licensed offshore casinos. The authorities vet these joints to ensure they are safe for players before allowing them to set shop in the country.
Even though Toronto is the gambling capital of Canada whose amenities rival those found in Vegas, USA, it still takes some effort for players to get the right online casino. As much as there are several online casino real money options in the province, not all of them are fit for all players. The best way to go about getting the right casino especially when playing for real money is to go through an unbiased review that shows all pros and cons of a site. Only after gathering enough information should you proceed to play. Worth noting is that most of the casinos reviewed for Toronto allow free gaming if you do not want to risk your money yet.
What Makes Toronto the Gambling Capital of Canada?
The city has more casinos than any other part of Canada, and naturally more gambling is noted here too. One of the oldest establishments, OLG Slots Casino, has the most number of slot machines in the city, and operates PlayOLG, the city's only locally licensed online casino. Established in January 2015, PlayOLG casino offers all sorts of slots, table games, and lottery tickets. There was talk about opening more land-based casinos in the city, with one coming up from 2018 at the Toronto waterfront, but that plan seems to be abandoned for now. When looking at the possibilities of new casinos, the city measures the financial benefit against social cost, but as things are currently betting activities are under control. The city has hotlines for those needing emotional support from addiction.
Hockey, Basketball, and Football are just three of the sports the country is known for, and they contribute heavily to sports betting that is quite rampant here. The OLG Proline betting system solely runs sports betting, and as a result, some restrictions in place may underwhelm punters. One is the restriction from placing a bet on one single game, but parlay bets are permitted. Offshore sites have no such conditions, and so players have the options to look to other options when they find this limiting.
Using the OLG Proline system, players placing bets on sports are directed to pen down their options then place the bet on the system. Technically, there is no local competition to OLG since, but foreign gambling entities fill up this gap to provide a livelier option than OLG's. Ultimately, it's a win-win situation for Toronto residents as they have their local system and foreign entities to choose from.
The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency still regulates horse racing as part of the section 204 of the Criminal Code. All other forms of gambling are regulated at the provincial level except for this one as it is not considered an illegal form or betting that needs over-the-top supervision.
The largest racing track in Toronto, the Woodbine Racetrack, has been in business since 1956 under the regulation of the Ontario Racing Commission. Over the years, lots of changes have been made to modernize the track and now the once singular track has been separated into three with both standard-bred and thoroughbred horses for a more diverse experience.
All lottery games that OLG offers to the public are controlled by the Gaming Control Act, AGCO of 1992. One of the ways Act maintains sanity in the industry is by requiring all players buying tickets over the counter be at least 18 or 19 of they do it from the OLG platform. The Ontario Lottery has been operational since 1975 and over the years has undergone improvements to make it more modern. As from 2012 when the OLG was granted more control of the Ontario Lottery, players were able to buy lottery tickets from an online platform, which has increased its consumption. Even with all the growth of the Canadian gambling market, lotteries are still a favorite among both the older and younger bettors, especially since its modernization.
- Bingo and Poker
Those offering Bingo have a condition to meet if they are to get the required license to operate; they shouldn't offer a game whose prize money exceeds $5,500. The OLG online platform has offered online bingo since 2005 for players in Toronto.
Poker gets lots of players excited since it some of its returns are high especially for high-stake games. Good thing locals can access it from either the PlayOLG platform or international casinos licensed to operate in the province. As for offline poker, Casino Rama and the Canadian National Exhibition Casino are the go-to places while in the city.