Canadians like to make a wager and play casino games. Recent statistics show that there were 19.3 million active online internet gamblers in the country. On 4th April 2022, Ontario became the country’s first province to legalize and regulate online betting in every form. Before this, anyone gambling online was playing on a grey market. While the offshore operators were not illegal as such, there was no protection for customers if things went wrong.
The legislation and licensing brought about by Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission in conjunction with iGaming Ontario provide residents with a safe and secure market. As a result, new sports betting, casino, and poker sites are constantly popping up. Some are big international brands, and others are less well-known newcomers to the industry.
To be able to offer their products to Ontarians legally, all iGaming sites must comply with a strict set of regulations. These are to ensure that the public is protected from potential gambling harms. Standards and requirements are set out in the Gaming Control Act of 1992. Operators must also meet separate AGCO and iGO requirements to obtain and retain a license.
While the chance to play is very exciting, there are some key things you should check out before placing any online deposits. Going for the largest bonus on offer can be tempting, but these often have strings attached. A little bit of upfront research can save you money and heartache down the line.
Here are five things you need to check before choosing an online casino.
Are you old enough to play?
While the market for online gambling is open, legal, and regulated, there are still rules about who is eligible to play. You need to prove that you are of legal gambling age, 19+ and reside in Ontario. If a site is willing to accept underage players, it will not be licensed or legal. Be very wary about just going to the first site you come across that offers the games you want to play. Only the best ones will have secured the necessary permits, and even then, there are huge differences between the sites.
Is it licensed?
One of the reasons for establishing a regulated and legal online gambling market was to protect residents from harms that can be associated with gambling. In addition, there was a desire to protect customers from shady operators. The AGCO and iGaming Ontario set up a rigid framework that licensed operators must adhere to. Only casino platforms with a license can offer Ontarians gaming services. Having gone through the process of obtaining a license, a casino is going to display it proudly.
If you cannot see the license, this is a red flag, and you should take your money elsewhere. Fortunately, Time2play has a complete list of licensed operators. As an independent and professional review site, they take a 360 look at how online casinos operate. They then rank them across a range of criteria to help you find the one that is best for you.
Does the online casino offer the games you want to play?
With the best will in the world, an independent reviewer can rave about an online casino, but if it does not offer the games you want, it is not for you. For example, you might like betting on a niche sport or politics. Unfortunately, not all the platforms offer these options, so check the site thoroughly before placing a deposit.
It is the same with casino games. While there are loads of great online casinos, what they offer can vary hugely. This is both in terms of the number of games titles they offer and the range of games. For example, some libraries are around 200 slot titles and others ten times the size. In the same way, if you particularly like poker or want to play live casino games, you need to find a site with the style of games you want to play. It is always worth checking out any demos on the site so you get a bit of practice in before committing your own cash.
Are the terms and conditions clear?
Ok, so you want to have fun and not get involved in the dull small print. However, you must understand what you are letting yourself in for. This is particularly the case with bonus codes and sign-up offers. Enormous headline amounts do not always translate to the best customer offers if high wagering requirements are attached.
A reputable online casino will have easy-to-access and understand FAQs. This will allow you to be clear about what you are getting yourself into. Customer service support is also very important. Make sure it can be accessed at times you will be playing. Ideally, there should be live chat, phone, and email options.
Payment option and deposit withdrawal timescales
When you are playing with real money, you need to know that your deposits are secure and that you will be able to withdraw money from your account promptly. The best online casinos will give you plenty of options to choose from. Look out for PayPal, Interac, and Visa, for example. You should never play at a casino that does not offer secure deposit options. Good casinos do not charge for deposits and withdrawals either.