Can Canadian Online Gambling Be More Dangerous Than Playing At A Casino?
Can Canadian Online Gambling Be More Dangerous Than Playing At A Casino?
Online gambling is nothing new to the residents of the Great White North. And the Canadian government is a lot more relaxed about where Canadians go online for their casino fix than compared to the United States. It’s a completely different ball game once you cross over the 49th Parallel. This is probably why bettors in Canada are more likely to encounter the dangers of online gambling long before their American counterparts. Let’s take a closer look at the legalities, the signs to watch for, and how to prevent yourself from getting caught up in the world of online gambling that could potentially cause your life to change drastically - and not for the better.
The Legal Stance On Online Gambling
In Canada, an online casino cannot legally operate without a license. However, Canadian gamblers are not restricted to play at just those online casinos that carry legal documentation to operate in that country. In other words, Canadians can seek their gambling fix anywhere online and that generally takes them to offshore casino sites. This is permitted simply through what may be considered an omission of details in the Criminal Code of Canada. In it, is no specific directive related to online casinos which means it is not a crime for Canadian citizens to participate in online casino activities anywhere they choose to play - including offshore gaming sites.
To give you an idea of how popular offshore gaming sites are for Canadians, in 2019 the gross gambling turnover at offshore gaming sites was calculated to be at $392-million CDN. Here are a few reasons why: There is no legal risk for Canadians to play at any online casino site and can play at them either for entertainment or as a part-time source of income. Plus, there have been no prosecutions of Canadians playing at online gaming sites, and winnings collected from online gaming are not taxable in Canada. That is unless it is being claimed as part of employment earnings based on your gaming skill. Winning from playing for fun is not taxed.
Each Province Has Its Own Gaming Authority
What makes Canada sort of unique in the way it deals with casinos is that each province and territory regulates what happens within their provincial boundaries. This came about when the Criminal Code was reformed in 1970 and permitted gambling of all forms to be controlled regionally. The changes opened doors for lotteries and land-based casinos. There are a total of ten provincial gaming authorities and each operates its own gaming portals. For example, in British Columbia, it’s the BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corporation) which issues lottery tickets and licenses casinos. The online offerings are nothing compared to what is available offshore.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC)
There is one exception to the rule in Canada. In 1996, the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake in the province of Quebec saw an opportunity in online gaming and set up their gaming commission. The sovereign legal entity of that Indian reservation means the KCG is not regulated by Canadian law which means they can license any kind of gaming activity they desire - including offshore gaming sites. For a while, the KGC was licensing several micro gaming sites but in recent years Gibraltar and Malta appear to be the preferred countries chosen for licensing offshore gaming sites. This has led to many Canadians opting to play at these sites.
The Dangers of Online Gambling In Canada
Now that you have a better understanding of the legalities related to casinos and gaming in Canada, let’s take a closer look at why online gambling is more dangerous to Canadians than land-based casino activity. There are several tricks used by online casinos to lure you into their world and if you are not prepared, it can be easy to get trapped into a situation where you can become addicted to online gaming. Setting a limit and playing within it is always a good first step to prevent yourself from getting sucked into the dangers of online gambling. Fortunately, there are things to watch out for and we will list the most common tricks of the trade here.
1 - Beware Of Free-To-Play Games
Sure, online casinos look like a lot of fun. They also know that they will be attracting a lot of new players. For beginners, many online gaming sites have “free-to-play” versions of some of their games in a section of their website. These are the exact games on the same site you would play with money. The only difference is they are there for you to “practice” on to improve your skills. If you only visit these sites to use the “free-to-play” games and nothing else, that’s one thing. However, the idea of the “free-to-play” games is that they build your confidence to the point where you are sure enough to try playing for money. The odds will differ from the free-to-play games, too.
2 - Online Gambling Is Open 24/7
Probably one of the most significant dangers of online gambling is easy access. While land-based casinos have specific hours of operation and are not located in every community, it takes planning and forethought to visit one. This is particularly true if you live several miles away from the nearest casino. With online gambling sites, you can enter them at any time during the day or night from the comfort of your home. Can’t sleep and there’s nothing on TV? There’s going to be an offshore gambling site open online just waiting for you to pop in and spend a few hours (and several dollars) playing casino games until you start to feel tired again.
3 - Easy Access To Your Bank
Many land-based casinos in Canada are set up in such a way that if you need more money to keep playing, all you have to do is get up and walk over to the lobby and access your bank account via an ATM. One of the dangers of online gambling is that accessing your bankroll to play through your online account is much easier. First off, you don’t have to go anywhere other than sliding your mouse to the appropriate menu option and clicking. Plus, with online gaming using “electronic money” it is a bit harder to track what you have used, won, or lost. This makes gambling on the internet far more dangerous than at a land-based site.
4 - The Odds Are Against You
Not only is the House Edge greater at online casinos, but when you play at a computer gaming site, you are often not playing against other humans. If poker is your game, the “people” sitting around the table with you are very likely computer-generated bots. So instead of playing against just one computer, you are up against several and they are all programmed to beat you. In “live” rooms, you may be playing against players actually in the same physical room working together to beat you. At least at a land-based casino, you can see the others at your table and identify their playing styles. Online casinos are created to win and they usually do and do so often.
5 - Bonuses And Free Spins Are Lures
If you have spent any time looking over different online casinos, you will find one thing in common. They all offer different types of incentives. They range from sign-up bonuses like matching your first cash deposit to having games that provide various features to keep you in the online casino longer. As one of the dangers of online gambling, these incentives are meant to lure you to an online casino. Once you join, you will also receive additional bonuses periodically to keep you playing over the long term. This is one of the most popular tricks employed by online casino operators to attract and retain members which keeps them making money.
6 - Gambling Online Is Anonymous
At land-based casinos, there are age limits, and gamblers who have consumed too much alcohol are usually asked to leave. These rules do not apply to online casinos which adds to the dangers of online gambling. Essentially, all you have to do is open an account, create a user name and upload an avatar to your profile and you can be anyone, any gender you choose, and play anonymously anytime you enter that specific online casino. As you are using a fake profile, you are not truly engaging with people as the majority of the other players you encounter online are probably using fake profiles as well. It all becomes make-believe and a fantasy place to escape to.
7 - Psychological Cues Assist Online Gambling
Although land-based casinos use some things to trigger certain responses from gamblers, online casinos do this in a manner that is far beyond that. One of the dangers of online gambling is the techniques used to appeal to players. These tools, when used correctly, will make online gamblers competitive, more motivated, willing to explore and tweak their curiosity. These triggers come in many forms including the colors used in a game, the theme of a particular game, the style of gameplay, messages that compliment players on good spins or plays, and so on. These tricks keep players coming back as they make them feel good and special.
How To Combat Online Gambling Addiction
There are some simple, common-sense things you can start to add to your online gambling experience to help you to prevent falling victim to the dangers of online gambling. Here is a quick review of what these techniques are and how you can easily implement them.
Set Limits And Play Within Them
We mentioned this earlier, but what does it mean? Before you start gambling, determine how much you are prepared to win or lose this session before you decide to log off. As an example, you decide to use $25 to gamble with. Once that’s gone, you leave. Maybe out of that $25 you see winnings of half of that. Then you decide to leave.
Decide How Long You Will Play
In addition to setting win and loss limits, one of the dangers of online gambling is staying online too long. If you set your time limit to a maximum of one hour, if you haven’t reached your win/loss limits, then you will be able to stop once your time limit is reached. Set an alarm on your watch to help you stay on track with this decision.
Find Other Forms of Entertainment
If online gambling is the only thing you do for entertainment, you need to seek other outlets. Exploring other interests and developing hobbies are good alternatives that will keep you occupied and prevent you from just gambling. Plus, outside interests can introduce you to new friends, places, and activities worth exploring.
Think Of When You Gamble
If you find that you gravitate towards online gambling when you are stressed out, depressed, or attempting to avoid any kind of negative emotion, you are gambling in the wrong frame of mind. Try to find something else to do that can help you come out of that funk. Avoid online gambling when you feel down or not yourself in any way.
If All Else Fails…
If for some reason you have no success at avoiding the dangers of online gambling, there is one thing you can do that will help you break the habit. This is to install software on your computer that will allow you to block access to gambling sites. It is an effective way to get you away from the lure of online gambling.
Online gambling is far more dangerous than land-based casinos in Canada. Although each province has a gaming commission, which is responsible for licensing both land-based and online casinos, there is no Canadian regulation preventing gamblers in Canada from visiting offshore gambling sites. These sites are dangerous for various reasons and have contributed to gambling addiction. You can avoid getting trapped with this problem by following simple, logical tricks to keep your money in your bank account and keep online gambling as nothing more than a casual form of entertainment rather than a problem that needs treatment.
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