Regulated Canadian Casinos Get New Bingo Sites

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When you think of the regulated online gaming market in North America, you think of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware licensing online poker and casino sites to big land-based casinos.

But that’s just regulated American gaming. The US tends to be a weird place, where offshore gambling sites that operate legally around the world are demonized so that the big casinos can profit. Yet online poker sites and casinos exist alongside the regulated sites (and more people are choosing the non-regulated sites anyway).

Contrast that with Canada where regulated gambling means a couple provincial governments running their own online poker and casino sites. British Columbia and Quebec both offer gambling portals. North of the 49th parallel, the Canadian provincial governments haven’t attempted to shut down the internationally licensed casinos. Instead, they’ve decided to compete alongside them.

Just take a look at the Ontario Lottery’s modernization plan website for proof. Under the iGaming section, it reads, “In Ontario, interest and demand for iGaming continues to grow, with millions of dollars spent each year on offshore internet gaming sites. However, these sites are not regulated by the province and don’t have a mandate to offer services in the Ontario market.”

Notice the lack of the term “illegal”. If this were an American page, it would have said “illegal offshore”, but that’s not the case in Canada (and it’s not the case in the US, either, but I’ll save that rant for another day).

Both the PlayNow (BC) and Espace Jeux (Quebec) websites are controlled by the provincial governments. And in an effort to get an even bigger piece of the growing gambling market, they’ve just inked deals with GTECH to expand their sites and offer something new.

Starting soon, players in British Columbia and Quebec will be able to hop on a government website and enjoy online bingo thanks to contracts with GTECH. This expansion is good news for players who enjoy the government sites, but not necessarily incredible news for players who love big prizes.

The provincial sites tend to lack the type of traffic you need to reach big prize pools. Take a look at PlayNow.com for proof, where they offer a $100,000 Guaranteed tournament every quarter. That means just four times a year. Contrast that with PokerStars, which offers 7-figure prize pools every Sunday, including a $100k, a $400k, and even a $1 million Guaranteed tournament. That’s every week.

We can expect to see smaller numbers at the Bingo sites too. And while sites like 123BingoOnline.com will continue to offer bigger slots tournaments and better Bingo prizes with more players enjoying games, I’m personally all for expansion of the Bingo market – especially if it means more people getting in the game.