Online gambling was always a controversial issue in Canada. While the locals are not banned from spending their money at online casinos and poker rooms, they have a very little variety of operators to choose from. Toronto residents can only play—legally—at PlayOLG. I say “legally”, as there are several established, respectable online gaming establishments, such as All Jackpots Casino, which accept local players—but in a bit more shady way. Shady, as the All Jackpots Casino has no license to offer its services in Canada. Not that they could obtain one. Gambling in Canada is a state monopoly.
Twenty years of experience
Online gambling is an industry with a history of over two decades. It all started with a game developer called Microgaming that launched the first functional real money internet casino in 1994. And it is an extremely competitive business – anyone with enough money can launch an online casino and start recruiting players. Casino operators use multiple methods to attract new players: bonuses, freerolls, giveaways, various promotions, and an ever growing collection of games. And offshore operators like the All Jackpots had more time to learn the secrets of casino marketing, which gives them a competitive edge above the likes of PlayOLG – which was launched barely over a year ago
Games, promotions, platforms
Unlike its counterparts run by the state lotteries of other provinces, PlayOLG seems to have learned its lesson well. Its bonuses and promotions are similar to what you can find at the All Jackpots and other offshore online gambling destinations. The list includes a no-deposit bonus, deposit matches on multiple deposits, birthday bonuses, and a promotion that offers a major reward – a tangible one, like a car and many weekly prizes. EspaceJeux, run by Loto-Québec, has no casino bonuses listed on its website, and BCLC’s PlayNow is only offering a one-time registration bonus to its new players. Both offers are easily beaten by offshore casinos, which continue to siphon their players away.
PlayOLG has started right, but it still has a lot of work to do before it will become a real competitor for the All Jackpots and its likes. First, it has to work on its game library. Compared to even the smallest offshore casino, its collection of games is very poor. Next, it has to think of other services, like poker and sports bets, services offered by its local counterparts, as well as some really big, international players. And last, but not least, it has to implement a mobile platform: on-the-go playing is something many players are craving for.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation plans to expand its offer with new gaming options, and extend to new platforms, in the near future. This way more money spent by locals will stay where it belongs: inside Ontario.