Online casino beginner’s guide for Canadians
If you are in Canada and looking to play at an online casino for the first time, this article will run you through the basics and in turn keep you safe when gambling for real money. We will teach you how to choose a safe casino, how to test out the casino before you buy and explain how to maximise your returns when playing online.
What you need to get started at an online casino
After you have selected an online casino to play at you will need to hand over information to the company during the registration process. After you have handed over these details in the future you will also have to verify your account, but more about that in a minute. The initial details you have to hand over are:
- Your real name
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Your address: this must be current and real for the verification process.
- Phone number: Be warned, pick some casinos and they will constantly message you with offers, The bigger, more reputable brands that are regulated in places such as the UK, however, won’t.
Choosing an online casino
This is the most important part of successfully playing at an online casino, choosing your virtual home. It can determine whether you are treated fairly and end up enjoying your experience. Basically there are thousands of online gambling websites to choose from, and a large proportion of them will also accept Canadian punters. This means you need to weed out the ones which are not legitimate. Here are a few tips:
Licensing: Because Canada has not specifically banned “offshore” casinos it means every licensing jurisdiction in the world will have casinos offering their wares to residents. Casinos licensed in places such as the United Kingdom and Malta are the best bet for Canadians to play at, however, there is also our very own Kahnawake Gaming Commission-condoned casinos, but many of these are actually internationally owned and targeting markets that have banned online casinos. WGL gives its tick of approval to casinos licensed in the United Kingdom and Malta.
Currency: Not the be-all and end-all of selecting a casino, but we strongly recommend choosing an online casino that caters specifically to the Canadian dollar. It’s better for numerous reasons but one key one is that it’s easier to keep track of your bankroll when it is displayed in a currency you are familiar with.
Customer service: Again the experienced player may not worry too much about this, but for beginners it can be a comfort to know there is someone there to talk to. Check it out when you are signing up, most licensed in the UK and Malta will have live chat and phone numbers to call.
Software: If you read a review of an online casino, it will undoubtedly mention the software that the casino is powered by. For a beginner this may seem like jibberish, but you can trust that if a casino is licensed in Malta or the United Kingdom the software they use will also have the accreditation in that country, plus a likely tick from eCOGRA, which is a respected online casino watchdog.
Reputation: This is one of the most important facets of choosing an online casino. Using websites like this one to read reviews and user feedback is crucial. While there are plenty of affiliate sites in it to make a quick buck, we believe that our best chance of building a business that will allow us to quit our day jobs is by building a loyal following over time and a reputation for honesty. We will only promote casinos we know respect the player.
How to fund your online casino account
We have covered this topic extensively in our Canadian casino banking article, but in short there are plenty of legal ways we can fund our casino accounts. Read the more detailed explanation in the article linked to in the previous sentence.
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Diners Club
- American Express
Online casino withdrawals & the verification process
Withdrawing from your online casino account is a simple process once you have verified your new account. As a general rule you will not be able to withdraw your money until you have verified your account. Some online casinos will have an online verification process that will basically get you to enter in plenty of your details, including things like your driver’s license number or a scan of the document. If the casino is unsatisfied with this method they will get you to fax or email in things such as utility bills or a picture of your licence. One this is completed some of the more common ways you can withdraw money from your online casino account are:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
You can browse the games available at an online casino before you sign up. This means you can make sure they have what you want. Still just because an online casino has the game you want to play it doesn’t make it the best place to play the game. If it’s by a particular games developer, do a quick Google search and you will find heaps of casinos stocking that game that you can assess and find one that is safe and reputable.
Some highlights to look out for include:
- 1000s of online slots
- Live dealer blackjack
- Live dealer roulette
- Baccarat variants
Download, flash or instant play casino
The online casino landscape has changed significantly in the past five or so years with the emergence of instant play games. This just means instead of downloading software you can also play in your internet browser, or mobile browser for that matter. What is better? That really is a personal preference, however, players on Mac computers are generally forced into playing via their browser because there are no downloadable platforms available for osx (that we know of).
For those using Windows many casinos including those powered by Microgaming and Playtech have a downloadable platform available. Having said this more and more casinos are going instant play only and have many software providers available as a result. There are some great in-house platforms built for Windows by some of the bigger casinos online, including Bet365 and BetOnline.
Casino Apps for Canadians
These are readily available in both the Apple App store and Google Play which covers both iOS and Android devices. Still, don’t just jump into an app, do your research and find casinos that do have apps that are suitable for Canadians. In essence still do your homework, because in particular the apps available on Android devices can be less than satisfactory.
Province guides to gambling in Canada