Bets and Pieces: Where Canada's Online Casino Market has Gone Wrong

Canadians love to play casino games, both in real life and on the internet. Canucks have played casino games over the internet ever since the first gaming venues showed up in the mid-1990s, and have continued to do so to this day. Their choice for gaming venues is diverse, which is not a surprise considering the massive offer of games and gaming venues out there. There are some, listed at, that they prefer to others thanks to their wide offer of games and attractive bonuses. And they do play there in large numbers, even if they have a few homegrown alternatives. Why? Well, most of the times, it's the Canadian authorities' and the Canadian online casinos' fault, as they have gone wrong in a few key aspects over the years.


A state monopoly


Online gambling is a state monopoly in Canada. Each region's respective lottery corporations are the only commercial entities allowed to offer online casino services to locals, and only to locals, with no cross-region play allowed. Which leaves the inhabitants of several regions (like Albertans, for example) in a pretty sensitive situation: they have the will to play, the funds to spend, yet no venue to visit online. Alberta, for example, is still without a viable set of online gambling regulations, even if discussions on the matter have been going on for years. With no local alternative, and the other regions' online casinos not accepting them as players, Albertan online casino fans are pushed by their own authorities to play at offshore operators. This, of course, means that the company they play at is not paying any local taxes, causing Canuck money to flow out of the country.


A limited offer


Even in states where online gambling is available, the range of games offered by operators is limited. All of them - BCLC, Loto-Québec, and OLG - have signed contracts with the same software provider, IGT, a veteran of the game development market. Yet IGT focuses more on the land-based industry, which leaves it with a far more limited online game library than, say, Royal Vegas online casino, one of the preferred gaming destinations for Canadian players.


Compared to the three state-owned online casinos in Canada, the Royal Vegas has an amazing variety of games. Its downloadable casino suite has more than 750 titles, and its smartphone version - the Royal Vegas Mobile - has over 130 titles you can play on the go. Local operators fall behind the Royal Vegas not only in terms of game variety but also when it comes to accessibility (except for EspaceJeux, Loto-Québec's online casino, none other has a mobile version at this time). With mobile having an increasing role in our everyday life, providing players with the games they crave on the device of their choice is a vital necessity. Local operators seem to have failed where offshore sites like the Royal Vegas have succeeded, going where their customers are.


Marketing and bonuses


What better tool to promote an online casino than a hefty bonus offered to its players? Offshore operators have understood this a long time ago. Since online gambling is a highly competitive market, offshore casinos outdo each other when it comes to welcome offers and deposit bonuses. When it comes to local operators, though, they seem to ignore this handy advertising tool almost completely.


EspaceJeux has no casino bonuses listed on its website. PlayNow, BCLC's own online casino, has a $100 welcome bonus listed, far less than its offshore competitors have to offer. PlayOLG seems to be the only one to have understood the importance of bonuses, offering its players deposit bonuses, no deposit promotions, periodical specials, and even a birthday bonus.


As you can see, all state-owned online casinos still have a long way to go to match the offer and power of their offshore competitors. These competitors have, of course, the advantage of age - with decades in the business, they have the experience to make them stand out of the crowd. Until Canadian operators start offering their players the same benefits, both when it comes to bonuses and variety, players will continue to flock to offshore operators seeking a better overall gaming experience.

Mathieu Blake

Mathieu Blake - Internet Entrepreneur, loves technology, sports, the Montreal Canadiens, Poker, Poker chips, current events and travel. You will often find him Writing about different topics that interest him on websites and blogs. To submit an article, contact the website directly.