Canada has a thriving online gambling industry with the majority of online gambling websites being hosted by offshore operators. Canadian gambling laws concerning online gaming are not very clear and as a result the authorities have not been very strict with online gambling operators till now.
Black Friday boosted Canadian iGaming market
The American Department of Justice (DoJ) went after online poker operators in 2011 for violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and basically shut down the online gambling industry in America on April 15, 2011. This day is usually referred to as Black Friday by online poker operators who had close to $3 billion in assets seized by the DoJ for multiple violations.
What turned out to be Black Friday for the US online gaming market turned out to be a Good Friday for the Canadian online gaming market. This is because iGaming operators could no longer target the US market and decided to focus on the Canadian market. Thousands of Americans who made their living by gambling online were in a tight spot due to the market shutdown.
Not sure it will be all sixes.
A large number of these US players decided to pack up and move across the border into Canada where it was still legal to gambling online. The Canadian online gaming market has continued to grow with each passing year as new Canadian players decided to see if they can get rich by playing online casino games.
Better to Be Safe Than Sorry
Canadian online players are spoiled for choice today as the market is flooded with hundreds of different online gambling websites that offer a variety of options ranging from online slots, poker, sports betting, online casino games, daily fantasy sports and live casino games.
While it is always a good thing to have a great selection of gaming websites to choose from, Canadian players need to be weary in choosing the right online casino. There are two ways to go about this. Players can carry out a Google search and try to find a reputed online casino from the hundreds of websites that show up on Google.
The second option is for players to check out online casino review sites that usually provide a shortlist of reliable and trustworthy online casino sites. This saves Canadian players time as they can quickly choose from the list of sites mentioned.
There are many sites that try and guide players to reputable online casinos, but unfortunately there are still those that simply take advantage of players due to the nature of the Internet and how these entities can hide themselves.
Beware of Unscrupulous iGaming Operators
The global online gambling market receives flak on a continuous basis due to the regular reports of players being scammed, online operators failing to pay out funds and websites shutting down operations without any warning.
Since Canada has very little gaming regulation in place to police the online gaming market, there are a number of unscrupulous operators who have targeted Canadians by offering them a variety of special promotions and bonuses to sign-up at their websites. Many Canadian players do not take the time to research and vet the online gambling operator and website that they decide to sign-up with and often end up regretting their decision.
As these scams start to increase and Canadian players start lodging more complaints with the authorities, Canada will have to think about introducing an amendment or a new iGaming bill that provides better protection to its players and sends a strong message to unscrupulous operators that they can no longer have a free reign in Canada.
New Gambling Laws In Urgent Need
The gaming regulators in different Canadian provinces have been forced to deal with a lot of negative issues that have plagued the online gambling market in the country. However, gambling regulators in Canada have had to deal with bigger concerns with the land based casino industry as multiple complaints and concerns have risen over money laundering, terror financing and casino operators being in cahoots with criminals.
As a result, the online gambling market has taken a backseat for the last couple of years but it will not be long before Canadian authorities start to push for new gaming regulations to be introduced so that the online gambling market does not experience similar setbacks that the land based casino industry is currently having to deal with.
However, it could already be a little too late as there are a few shady iGaming operators that have entered the Canadian market and it is important for players to be able to identify the red flags of these unscrupulous operators. Once Canada gets better gaming regulations in place, players will have more protection as these shady operators will most likely be blacklisted and banned for good.
Red Flags to Identify Shady iGaming Operators
It is up to Canadian players to ensure that they take the necessary steps to protect themselves when playing at online casino websites. Don’t be swayed by attractive welcome bonuses or no deposit bonus offers as a lot of shady websites offer over the top bonuses in order to lure players in and get them to focus on the welcome bonus info rather than vetting the online casino operator.
Some of the other things that you need to check before you sign-up at a Canadian online casino is whether the online casino is licensed and regulated by a known authority like the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) or the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) which is based within Canada.
Players can also check if the online casino provides information about whether it gets audited and tested on a regular basis; whether it has a strong responsible gambling policy in place; if is use the latest SSL encryption technology to keep its players personal and financial information safe at all times. If this information is not displayed on the homepage or you cannot find any links to such information on the homepage, it should raise a red flag.
So What’s in the Future?
Governments and legislation bodies are fully aware of the need for change. This is happening, but slowly. While some new laws may seem like they are limiting player options, it is in the player’s best interest that the gambling markets are as regulated as possible.