With the legalisation of single event sports betting in Canada this year, Canadians are going to be able to bet online at sportsbooks and casinos licensed in this country for the first time. Ontario is leading the way in inviting operators to apply for licenses this autumn whilst big global brands like 888 are expected to begin taking bets in the country very soon.
This means there will be a wide choice of betting markets and casino games to spend your money on. For some players the opportunity will be a new one. Gambling online is not something that should be done lightly. As well as making sure that you play responsibly and watch your budget – gambling can be addictive – it’s also important to be sure that you only play at reputable and trustworthy sites.
But how can you be sure that a site is legit and worth investing your time in to sign up? To help, here are some tips for our readers looking to dive into the newly regulated Canadian market.
- Check That a Site is Licensed
The first and the most important part of any gambling site is the license. The industry is a big money-making opportunity and attracts its fair share of scammers. Only those sites that publish licensing information from a recognised jurisdiction can be trusted. To be granted a license an operator will have to undergo a full audit of their platform, games and business model to ensure that they are running a fair, secure and safe site where the game outcomes are all entirely random and player balances and personal data are all fully protected.
Until now Canadian gamblers have only been able to play at casinos licensed outside of the country in European jurisdictions like Malta and Gibraltar. From 2021, licensors like the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will be ensuring gambling online in Canada is safe. Look out for the licensing information published in the footer of your casino or sportsbook that will prove that the operators has been audited and is safe and trusted.
2. Look Out For Your Favourite Games
Online gambling offers a wide spectrum of betting opportunities, from sports markets and lottery to casino games, slots, multiplayer poker and keno. Most operators will offer a good selection of these, usually provided by 3rd party game developers in the case of casino games. But before you sign up to a site you should make sure that they are offering the kind of experience you want.
If you are a fan of big progressive jackpot games like Mega Moolah or Mega Jackpot then be sure those slots are available. Or if you want big money poker tournaments, check the prize pools before paying your entry fee. And if sports betting is your thing, then be sure that your favourite games are covered and the odds are competitive. Whilst most operators offer similar odds, some are more competitive or better value in specific markets. You may even want to have more than one sportsbook account to surf the odds before betting each week.
3. Pick Sites With Competitive Offers
One thing that Canadian gamblers will be getting used to is big money sign up offers. These are incentives to new customers to join and make a deposit. And in a new market we can be sure that competing operators will be splashing the cash to grab their share of a new customer base.
You will see free money bonuses of $1,000s available at new casinos this year. To qualify you will need to make a deposit and most sites will match your first one or two with free bets. But beware, because your free money will come with restrictions. It will only be available on a limited selection of games and winnings will normally come with wagering requirements that must be met before they can be withdrawn. You may have to wager your wins 30 or more times over before they are released.
So, when you pick a site, always check the terms to see what you will need to do to qualify for a bonus, and what you can do with that bonus once you have it!
4. Payment Options
Just like everything else that you pay for online, gambling will be available via multiple payment services. Traditional debit and credit cards have been the most popular deposit methods in the past, but increasingly gamblers are using online options like Paypal or Skrill eWallets, Interac, Apple Pay and even eCheck. Different payment services will come with different deposit and withdrawal limits, processing times and fees. So, before you sign up to any online gambling site, be sure to check that your preferred option is available through the cashier and comes with reasonable terms.
And if you are a pro-gambler, then always be sure to look for sites without maximum deposit and withdrawal limits.
5. Responsible Gambling Tools
A further requirement of any operator who wishes to be licensed and take bets in Canada is that they provide a safe environment for a gambler to play in. That means that they must make responsible gambling tools available through a player’s account pages, as well as exercising a duty of care towards their customers. You should be able to set limits on your own daily, weekly and monthly deposits, wagers and losses, as well as the total time spent logged into your account. Always remember that gambling can be addictive and using these tools will help to manage your hobby and avoid any compulsive behaviours. This is another reason to only play at licensed sites where operators must act responsibly towards their customers.
It will not be long before the fully regulated gambling market in Canada is live and operational. This is an exciting time for anyone who enjoys placing a bet on their favourite sports or casino games. To get the most out of this exciting time, make sure you follow our tips and only play at trusted and legit sites with a good choice of products.
Good luck and have fun.