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Toronto Online Gambling

Toronto Online GamblingThe city of Toronto is the most populated metropolitan area in all of Canada, and one of the largest cities in all of North America. Located on the shore of Like Ontario, the city and the region around it are home to about one quarter of the entire country’s population, and yet in some ways, it may be the least Canadian of all cities: about half of the city’s residents were born outside of the country, and its location places it just over the border from the United States, making it a popular tourism destination for Americans.

While Toronto itself may not be a prime destination for gamblers, its location still leaves it close enough to many major venues to make it easy for those who live there to place a bet whenever they feel the urge. And with online gambling fully regulated in Ontario, it’s easier than ever to play casino games, poker, or other resort-style games from the comfort of your own home.

A Full Gaming Industry Flourishes

The modern history of gambling in Toronto begins in 1975, when the provincial government passed the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act. The bill, similar to ones that were being passed across the country in that era, allowed for state-run lotteries to be offered. Over time, the structure of this entity has been updated, and it is now known as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), a state-owned firm that is responsible for the oversight of virtually the entire gaming industry in the province.

Today, the lottery remains an important part of the provincial gaming industry, generating considerable revenue for the government. There are numerous games offered, starting with major national jackpots like Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49. Many other options are also available for players, including scratch card games, daily number drawings, and even some sports betting offerings.

The creation and growth of the lottery system set the stage for even bigger changes to come. In the early 1990s, a plan was hatched to bring full casino gambling into the province, a move that was expected to create a large new revenue stream for Ontario to benefit from. Despite opposition from those who feared the social ills that legalized gambling could bring to the region, the first resort – Casino Windsor – was opened in 1993.

Today, the OLG owns ten casinos throughout Ontario, including several that are operated by established gaming firms (the Windsor resort, for instance, is operated by Caesars, and is now known as Caesars Windsor). While none of these permanent locations are actually in Toronto, there are several that are reasonably close, giving residents the option of driving to one without planning a major vacation. For instance, Fallsview and the Casino Niagara are both located right near Niagara Falls, while Casino Rama and the Great Blue Heron are also within reasonable distance from the city. Casinos in Ontario (as well as horse racing and similar parimutuel betting options) are only legally available to those who are at least 19 years of age, while the lottery can be played starting at age 18.

Another option is the the annual casino that operates during the Canadian National Exhibition, typically running throughout the entirety of the fair. With a wide variety of table games and large poker tournaments, this is a popular destination for Canadians and other tourists who are already interested in visiting the CNE.

Horse racing has also long been a popular pastime throughout Ontario, and for the past 60 years, Toronto has been the center of the action. The Woodbine Racetrack has been open since 1956 (an older track by the same name dates back to 1874), and hosts some of the most prestigious thoroughbred and Standardbred races in all of Canada. The outside turf course is the one that sees the most important action: it is the only 1.5 mile turf course for thoroughbreds in North America (Belmont Park’s dirt track is the only other 1.5 mile course), and play host to numerous important races including the Canadian International Stakes, which qualifies its winner to the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

It’s worth noting that horse racing isn’t the only action taking place at Woodbine. The facility also hosts slots and VLTs, an arrangement that (as in many other locations) has helped breathe new life into the racing industry. In total, the OLG hosts slots at 14 different tracks throughout Ontario. They also run four e-bingo centers throughout the province, located in Barrie, Kingston, Peterborough, and Sudbury.

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Online Gambling Regulated in Province

While Ontario wasn’t the first province to jump onto the Internet casino bandwagon, it didn’t take too long before the most populated region in the country decided that there was simply too much revenue potential here to ignore. The breakthrough finally happened in early 2015, when PlayOLG.com was first made available to players in Toronto and the rest of the province. The goal was simple: by providing a locally regulated and licensed service to their players, the OLG hoped to both provide an option that would be safer for users and keep the money that was previously going to overseas sites in the provincial coffers instead.

PlayOLG has turned into a largescale operation over the past two years, offering a variety of types of wagering in order to appeal to the broadest audience possible. The most natural fit for the site was to offer up lottery sales via the Internet, allowing people to more conveniently receive their tickets for drawings big and small.

But that was only the beginning of what the portal had in store. A large variety of casino games are offered, provided by big-name developers such as IGT, Boss Media, and Bally Technologies. The full range of resort-style games are presented, ranging from the requisite slots collection to a solid suite of table games, casual offerings, and video poker machines. The ability to bet on local horse races may be coming soon as well, and promotional efforts have successfully attracted many serious gamers thanks to the competitive bonus offers available for new depositors.

That said, PlayOLG.com still has some significant competition from the same sites it was attempting to replace. While the government would prefer that everyone play on the state-operated website, many bettors still choose to patronize the many foreign and overseas operators who accept Canadian players. That number has shrunk in recent years, as the increasing regulation of the industry in Canada has made some firms decide that they do not want to risk operating here without a license, but some continue to do so. Even if these operators may be skirting the law, however, players are free to wager their money there, as there are no laws preventing Canadians from betting wherever they like.

The choice of which type of site to play on is a big one, and may depend on what you’re looking to get out of your experience. If you choose PlayOLG, you do know that you are playing at a site that has local oversight, and that anything you lose is going to the provincial government, rather than to a company based somewhere in a foreign country. On the other hand, there are a tremendous variety of overseas operators with all kinds of different games and options you can’t find through the OLG portal, and in some cases, you may be able to get even larger and more lucrative bonuses on these sites.

A Healthy and Stable Industry

At the moment, the future looks very stable for the Ontario gaming industry. We don’t expect any major shakeups anytime soon: the OLG will continue to regulate gambling as a whole, and with most forms of betting already legal here, there probably won’t be much of a push for any new types of bets. One possible exception could be single-game betting on sports, as currently, only parlays of two or more events are allowed. That would be a federal issue, however, and one that the Trudeau government is not a fan of.

More locally, Ontario has noticed a downward trend in lottery ticket sales, which has been a cause for some concern: the lotto is a major revenue driver, and with young gamblers especially reluctant to play, the long-term trend is worrisome to many. There could be a push from the OLG to try and target younger players, though this wouldn’t be without controversy: it may be hard to market to those who are just barely old enough to bet without also attracting underage gambling.

There could also be more casinos coming to the area, though not without plenty of controversy. There has been talk, for instance, of building a new facility in North Bay, in Northeastern Ontario. But local residents have strongly opposed the plan, so its future remains unclear.

But despite these questions, it is hard to see any dramatic shifts in the Toronto area or Ontario as a whole anytime soon. This should generally be regarded as good news for gamblers: without a sudden change of heart that turns the populace or government strongly against gambling, there should be a wide variety of casinos, lottery games, and online options available to them for the foreseeable future.

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