Toronto Mike

Will GambleOntario become Ontario's most recognized online gambling review site?

Only a couple of decades ago, the idea of reviewing a casino probably would’ve been frowned upon - not because there’s anything wrong with it, but simply because there wasn’t a market for it. Land-based casinos operated within a regimented framework, and the few that did operate in Ontario didn’t require a review.

However, now that we’re in 2024 and there are thousands of online casinos, there’s a vast subsector bubbling beneath the surface. There’s a growing trend as bettors regularly look to find review sites that can cut through the noise and highlight the pros and cons of some of the top online casinos currently operating in Ontario.

It’s become such a strong subdivision within the burgeoning multibillion-dollar Canadian online casino industry that it has prompted brands like GambleOntario to identify a niche, and use impartial reviews and objective opinions to give gamblers in Ontario a much broader insight into what the service offers. Personally, as somebody who has reviewed casinos for years, impartiality is one of the key criteria to look out for – but there are other factors to consider, too.

Below, we look at what has allowed GambleOntario to become a big name in the affiliate sector and the components you should look for when exploring a gambling review site.

Components of top gambling review sites

While several different companies are vying for the position of the top Canadian gambling review site, they must all adhere to the basic principles of what makes a review site popular with bettors. You may also hear people refer to gambling review sites as affiliate sites, but ultimately, they’re referring to the same thing. Many of the components mentioned below are non-negotiables and tie into the broader culture of an ethical, fair, objective and sustainable business model, allowing online gamblers to find the best platforms where they can play.

Truly objective - No ulterior motive

Now that the internet is awash with gambling sites, there’s serious money to be made for the platforms that can get it right. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to companies using gambling review sites to plug their own brands. Although this is unethical and will inevitably drive people into the arms of the competition, some review sites will focus on short-term profit-driven goals rather than a holistic approach to finding the best casinos for bettors in Ontario.

Initially, it can be difficult to identify these sites. However, once you become familiar with casinos, their partners, and other brands under their umbrella. You’ll start to build a picture of whether the site is operating from an objective perspective or is purposely giving a cluster of certain casinos under one brand more favourable reviews. Given that more people are finding alternate routes for their media and reviews, ranging from vloggers to podcasts, the importance of impartial casino review sites is arguably more crucial now than they have ever been.  

Reputable brand name

Often, the top online casino review sites have been in the industry for several years. We’re not going to sit here and say that all new online casino review websites are untrustworthy, because that’s not the case either. However, reputation goes a long way, as it’s a key component in building trust with any business or service.

This extends beyond the online casino industry too, and the critical reason it is such a driving force behind which casino review website bettors choose is that it’s not something you can cut corners on. Developing a brand reputation takes years; it’s propped up by authentic word-of-mouth reviews, loyal customers and building trust within the industry over the long haul.

Companies can’t just gain a reputable brand name overnight, and many business leaders and consumers believe it is the number one indicator that truly helps a business succeed, especially in the long term. However, this can also go the other way as just because a business has been operating for 20 years doesn’t mean it’s the top name in the industry either. It’s all about balance, and while I know how difficult it can be for brands to establish their name, especially if they are new, there are still platforms who are managing to rise above the competition – and prove themselves to be a step ahead of the rest of the online casino market.

Quality of customer service

Similar to having a reputable brand name, high-quality customer service is another driving force behind all successful service-based industries. Casino affiliate and review sites don’t place as much emphasis on having a solid customer service department, but if you need to speak to somebody from the company, you want to ensure they respond in a prompt and professional manner.

Affiliate sites often deal with many different companies, bonus codes and other elements that occasionally require clarification or customer service. While it doesn’t require an army of customer service agents, even for the top sites, quality customer service can be a broader sign of the company ethos. It can be the small element that helps affiliate sites stand out.

How useful are the reviews on the site?

When an online casino review site spends years in the business developing its brand, a significant element of that is putting together a team of writers and reviewers who have a distinct style and authenticity and genuinely understand the topics they write about.

Affiliate sites that simply glaze over the main points and don’t dive into the specifics of a casino website are usually best avoided. Now, this isn’t because they’re operating in bad faith, but you want to find sites with the most expertise and staff writers who understand what they’re reviewing. GambleOntario has ticked this box and has several experts with a combined 55+ years of experience in the industry.

GambleOntario’s team of experts

All casino review websites must have experts who are equipped to review the inner workings of an online casino. They need to be able to delve deeply into the features of a casino or sportsbook rather than simply covering what a website looks like or whether they have a business model that highlights the importance of eye-catching and unique advertising campaigns that are able to bring in a consistent flow of new customers looking to use their online casino.

Although GambleOntario launched in 2022, which coincided with the changing landscape and legalities around online gambling in Ontario, the experts on their site have experience that stretches back several years. Currently, they have seven staff writers:

Rowan Fisher-Shotton - Sports betting expert

Rowan has over six years of experience writing articles about the “Big Four” American sports: basketball, football, ice hockey and baseball.

Greg Lea - Soccer betting expert

As a UK-based soccer betting expert, Greg has been in the industry since 2015 and has worked as a journalist for some of the top publications in the world. He specializes in match reports, detailed analytics and full match previews.

Anthony Odiase – Online casino expert

Writing over 100 articles worth of work for GambleOntario over the last 12 months, Anthony has a range of expertise covering all table-based games as well as slot gaming, which helps him conduct detailed, expert casino reviews.

Eamon Doggett - Horse racing expert

With over seven years of horse racing tips and casino review sites under his belt, Eamon is another expert who is a big part of the GambleOntario team.

Jake Skudder - Combat sports specialist

Jake has an intricate knowledge of all things MMA and boxing and has contributed massively to the growth of GambleOntario’s combat sports betting reviews.

Jim Kimberley - F1 betting expert

Jim has over a decade of expertise in F1 betting circles. As an avid F1 fan, he knows exactly what to look for when exploring F1 betting markets.

Matt Callcott-Stevens - Golf betting expert

As the most experienced staff member at GambleOntario, Matt’s knowledge of golf betting stretches back nearly 30 years. His understanding of golf betting markets is unrivalled. He’s pieced together numerous sports betting reviews at GambleOntario that dive into the mechanics and the quality of dozens of golf betting sites.

How can GambleOntario rise above the rest?

After launching in 2022, GambleOntario has risen through the ranks as one of the most visited Canadian online casino review sites. Their commitment to reviewing casinos and sportsbooks in depth has allowed them to ascend quickly. Although many sites will focus on one or the other and seek out reviewers who only specialize in that type of gambling, they sometimes accidentally end up putting themselves in a proverbial box.

GambleOntario's site has a clear roadmap highlighting the key steps it’s taken over the last 12 months and detailing further plans to grow its brand. One area they identified as having potential was the importance of fact-based, educational and informative pieces on their site.

Instead of simply listening to online casinos or sportsbooks regarding what their pros and cons are, they also aim to educate people about online casino games and sports betting, helping to fill in the blanks and create a culture where education and understanding are actively encouraged. Given that this is one of the bedrocks of responsible gambling, it also speaks to the overall company approach to safe gambling practices, highlighting several positive elements of their service.

I personally look for casino-based companies that have a responsible gambling approach, first and foremost. While millions of people can gamble responsibly, there needs to be a sustained and multi-pronged effort to help those who struggle with problem gambling. GambleOntario emphasizes knowledge and education, which I believe is one of their greatest assets, and it will stand them in good stead in the future, helping them to grow their brand reputation in the process.

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