Posts Tagged ‘online gambling canada’

Canada is Coo-Coo for Online Casinos, That is, Except for Newfoundland

Monday, August 23rd, 2010
Does that look like a cashpot for tobacco and alcohol? Photo: Jonathan Nightingale

Newfoundland: Cashpot for tobacco & alcohol? Photo: Jonathan Nightingale

With the first legal Canadian online casino, Play Now, back up and running (it was taken offline within hours of being launched, due to a security breach), all of Canada is rearing and ready to start, or rather, continue betting online – and taxing the revenue thereof.

Okay, take that back – maybe not everybody. I can’t speak for all of the ten Canadian provinces, other than British Columbia, where Play Now was launched by the B.C. Lottery Corp., and on the opposite end of the spectrum – Newfoundland, where it appears lawmakers are not so coo-coo about the legalization of online casino gambling.

Whether or not the people of Newfounland are for or against internet gambling regulation, the province Premiere, Danny Williams, says he strongly believes there are not enough lawmakers in support of regulating and taxing online gambling in Newfounland to make the burgeoning pastime a legal activity. And no matter the money it could bring in, Williams says Newfoundland brings in enough dough from alcohol and tobacco.

I mean, if you ask me, don’t the three go together perfectly? Wouldn’t online gambling complete the triangle of vice? All jokes aside, Newfoundland would indeed stand to make some money off such a venture as lucrative as online gambling. However, unlike several of Canada’s other provinces, which need money to balance their budget and have already speculated online gambling legalization to bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue each year, Newfoundland isn’t in need of extra funds to balance the budget.

In other words, Newfoundland is sittin’ pretty, financially speaking. I mean, really, who would have thought alcohol and tobacco could generate so much money?

But just in case Newfoundland’s lawmakers have a change in heart or the budget goes askew, The Atlantic Lottery Corporation isn’t being shy to inform provinces that in excess of $50 million/year in revenue could be generated by legalizing online gambling.

British Columbia Lottery Corp. Online Casino, PlayNow, Crashes in Hours of Launch

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

There is no questioning just how much Canadians love to gamble online. And not that they are any different from the rest of us, it’s simply that Canadians now have a government regulated internet betting site to wager real money with. The first ever North American, government regulated online casino – PlayNow.com – was recently launched by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

However, just as quickly as it was launched, the site was shut down. No, it wasn’t taken out by Canadian authorities or by hackers even. ¬†Within hours of going live, the PlayNow online casino shut down due to an overload of traffic.

In other words, the website was swamped with visitors within hours of launching on the Web, and consequently crashed. Making a quick decision to shut the site down completely, the BC Lottery Corporation immediately began adding more data servers and strengthening the infrastructure of the website. To this hour, work is still being done to ready the site for a re-launch. A far cry from the flashy bonus offers and animated casino games, all that remains now on the PlayNow homepage is a message stating that PlayNow is currently unavailable.

Quick to criticize the decision to allow an online casino to be launched under the control of the BC Lottery, the anti-gambling camp used the news of the website overload to back their claims that with legalized internet betting too many Canadians will gamble at online casinos, become addicted and usher a domino effect of negative consequences.

Truth be told, the exact number of hits incurred by PlayNow.com has not been revealed, which basically means that other factors could have been in play besides an overload of traffic. It isn’t clear just how many of the site visitors were actually participating in online gambling activities or were simply giving the website a look-over for possibly giving it a go at a later time.

Well, that “later time” could be any second or any day, depending on how quick the backend tech guys get the website revamped. No word has been given by the BC Lottery Corporation just yet. However, all you Canadian gamblers can rest assured that PlayNow will be going online again. If your government didn’t know just how badly you needed and/or wanted a “home” online casino, they certainly do now.

Chartwell Technology Receives eCOGRA’s Certified Software Seal

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Chartwell joins eCOGRA in fostering casino software transparency

Chartwell joins eCOGRA in fostering casino software transparency

Chartwell Technology – the Calgary-based, Toronto Stock Exchange listed online casino software developer – is now one of a growing number of white-label software platforms to receive the eCOGRA Certified Software Seal. No easy feat, getting the nod from eCOGRA is akin to going through a U.S. Supreme Court hearing. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but there’s some serious transparency compliance requirements all the same!

For anyone unfamiliar with eCOGRA, or better yet, the eCOGRA Certified Software Seal, it stands for the highest degree of operator transparency in what can oftentimes be a highly nontransparent industry – the internet betting industry, that is. Originally reserved for online casino licensees of Microgaming Software (an original founding member of eCOGRA back in 2003), accreditations are now available for all manner of online casinos, poker rooms, sports betting sites, bingo rooms, network operators of such sites and software developers powering and licensing their wares to independent operators. At the time of writing, eCOGRA certifies over 150 internet betting site operators, and with the addition of Chartwell, has certified twenty software providers.

Now, just because an online casino or software company can afford to pay for an eCOGRA accreditation, does not mean they will pass the course! Of course, eCOGRA will work with all operators to get them up to speed. However, it is reasonable to say there are online casinos out there that could certainly afford to go through the motions of being accredited, but choose not to do so as they would prefer remaining nontransparent. Needless to say, that means they are hiding something, and more likely than not, cheating their players.

In the case of software developers like Chartwell, the mission is to be as transparent as possible in order to foster player trust. And when eCOGRA is called in to help make this a reality, it all being with a thorough on-site inspection and assessment of Chartwell’s facilities. As eCOGRA’s Compliance Manager, Shaun McCallaghan said, “The Chartwell team was completely cooperative and well prepared with all documentation and systems ready for compliance testing…meeting all requirements over several days of testing.”

Such testing is in accordance with eCOGRA’s eGAP (Generally Accepted Practices) procedure, which in the case of software developers, includes an assessment of internal management controls, internal controls over IT security, software functionality, control environment and network structure integrity (for poker platforms), and assessment of the randomness and fairness of the games.

The latter, of course, is what every online gambler wants to know. Are these games fair and is this online casino safe to wager at? Although this is the software platform we are talking about (eCOGRA has another seal – the Safe and Fair Seal – that is strictly awarded to online casino operators), it is the software platform which indeed has the built-in security protocols for handling transactions through the online cashier, as well as the RNG governing hand outcomes.

Granted, eCOGRA gives no absolute guarantee that approved operators are going to give a fair hand. They say on their website, “While eCOGRA does its utmost to ensure compliance with its principles, it cannot offer 100% assurance that the operation of any games at any given site is at all times in accordance with the eCOGRA requirements.” However, this is exactly why eCOGRA enforces ongoing monitoring and requires all accredited parties to undergo annual compliance review. In the case of online casinos, this amounts to monthly payout percentage reports, which all approved casinos must display on their website.

Speaking of which, Chartwell powers some pretty heavy hitter gambling sites in the European market. Mostly all-in-one betting sites using multiple software platforms to power poker, sports, horseracing, bingo and online casino gaming under one roof, Chartwell licensees include BetFair, Victor Chandler, Stan James and bwin. As for Chartwell’s gaming package, it mainly consists of fixed odds games for online casinos, available in both mobile and live dealer modes in addition to a standard desktop download platform.

Online Gambling Software in Canada: Chartwell Technology on the Map

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Canada-based Chartwell Technology may not be as “household” a name as Microgaming or Playtech, but then again….. Launched in 1998 during the early days of online gambling, Chartwell has been around just as long as it’s top tier competitor software platforms. The only difference is that Chartweel is not an operator, per say, and consequently, never really boasted a prodigious number of online casino licensees in its portfolio. As a result, Chartwell has often operated under the radar of many a U.S. focused online gambling portal.

These days, however, Chartwell is increasingly making headlines – signing several high profile deals and boasting a clientele of mainly non-US facing online betting destinations totaling over twenty (20). In fact, the first online casino and sports betting site officially licensed by the UK Gambling Commission – ExtraBet – is powered by Chartwell Technology. And with household name clients the likes of Stan James, bwin, Coral Casino, Betfair and Victor Chandler, Chartwell Technology is a force to be recognized in the highly competitive online gambling industry.

Chartwell’s most recent headline, albeit less noteworthy than a new partnership or online casino client, is the appointment of Mr. Andrew Pegler as Sales Director for Charwell Games Ltd. As announced in a Chartwell press release through MarketWire, Mr. Pegler is a seasoned B2B account manager in the iGaming field, whose experience includes the execution of business initiatives from start-up level companies and B2B account management for some of the biggest names in the European online gambling sector.

Pegler stated in the press release that he is “very excited to be joining Chartwell”, especially at a time when the company is refocusing its traditionally strong online casino product offering with the rollout of new games and software features. There is no denying this claim, as evidenced by the buzz generated when Chartwell unveiled the casino platform at the International Casino Exhibit in London earlier this year. Other features in Chartwell’s diverse iGaming platform include fixed odds wagering, branded games, multi-player games, a linked progressive jackpot network and live dealer casino gaming.

Quebec Hoping to Regulate Online Poker and Sports Betting Later This Year

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Quebec to Liberalize the Maple Leaf?

Quebec to Liberalize the Maple Leaf?

It really does seem like online gambling regulation has been the sole focus of the Online Casino Suite Blog these past few days. But what can I say, it’s not my fault. Blame it on the lack of regulation in “certain” countries. Or for a more optimistic view, perhaps I should say, blame it on a shifting regulatory landscape amidst the major player’s in the industry. Obviously, the United States is one of the major players I am referring to, and of late, has been at the middle of a heightened battled to implement an online gambling ban while regulatory legislation simultaneously makes it’s way into the House of the Representatives. Oh, and let’s not forget the Super Bowl.

Another major player in the internet gaming industry is Canada, which has long taken the same stance which the United States did before the passing of the UIGEA. And that, my friends, is the stance I like to call “shifty”. You know, the classic middle-gray area where you keep both sides of the gulf appeased as best as possible. Then again, shiftiness oftentimes comes down to the execution of power, or the lack thereof.

And in the case of Canada, it has mostly been the latter. You see Canada is essentially home to the Kahnawake tribe, which just so happens to operate one of the largest online casino and poker regulatory commissions in the online gambling industry. While Kahnawake operating licensees are free to take bets from citizens wherever they choose, there is no denying the fact that Canadians are giving lots of potential tax dollars to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, not to mention several other regulatory bodies. More precisely, it is estimated the Canadian online gambling industry is worth $675 million.

Perhaps this is why Canada now appears to be taking a more tolerant air toward the idea of regulation. Although it looks as if only online poker and sports betting is being considered for the time being, it’s a start, nonetheless – And a good start at that. This week, Quebec’s Finance Minister announced plans to introduce online poker by September of 2010, with major support from Loto Quebec (no surprise there). Of course, the opposition is already on it’s high horse, citing that online gambling will only increase underage and problem gamblers. However, Loto Quebec has been just as quick to retort with evidence of reports and public health studies showing otherwise.

Of course, nothing is certain at this stage in the process. There is still a long way to go before Quebec will be out of the clear and given a green light to begin regulating online poker and sports betting. Let’s just say the prospects are looking really, really good.

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