Beginners Guide to Your Online Gaming Experience
Online casinos have been set up and designed to be easy for people to play at, but we realize that for first time Canadian players the process of registering, deciding whether to play on a mobile or desktop, depositing, playing, and cashing out can still be a little unclear. Newcomers are often baffled by the abundance of options they have, which leads them to make poor gaming choices. We believe we can help to make the entire gaming experience smoother in every aspect.
Before You Begin – Know What You’re After
Before you start out to enjoy some online gaming, it’s best to decide what you are really looking for, as different types of players have different goals in mind, and thus are looking for different things. Read more
You can use the menu on the right to go directly to the step you are ready for when you are prepared to enter the exciting world of online casinos from the comfort of your own home.
Our five-step guide will help you do the following:
- Step 1 – Choose an online casino
- Step 2 – Register a free account
- Step 3 – Make a deposit
- Step 4 – Choose your game
- Step 5 – Cash out
This article and the ones it links to will also tell you all you need to know to enjoy this 21st-century pastime.
We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about gambling online in Canada, or almost anywhere else for that matter.
Look for links to in-depth guides as well as handy tips placed throughout this article.
Tips like this…
Did you know?
We’ll also go over the ins and outs of online gambling compared to playing at terrestrial casinos, and then wrap up the article with answers to frequently asks questions.
You might ask yourself…
Why gamble online?
Convenience is one consideration.
Everyone has their own reasons to play slots, blackjack, or other casino games online, but convenience is one of the most oft-stated reasons.
Wherever and however you choose to play, the number one reason should be for entertainment.
Yes, you will win now and then, of course!
But most happy gamblers do it for fun. It’s fun to beat the casino, but the journey should be as important – and as enjoyable – as the destination.
Variety is another reason. For the slots player, there are simply far more choices at offshore casinos than on land or the Crown Corporation sites.
Welcome bonuses and deposit incentives can also give you much longer playtime or even allow you to bet more than usually would since your bankroll will be bigger.
There are lower bet limits for table and card players online. Most gaming sites have very low starting limits for blackjack and especially for roulette. You won’t need to risk $5 per hand to get into the game.
Unlimited tablespace – If you choose random number generated games you never have to wait for a seat at the table.
Back betting – Many live dealer games like blackjack allow you to bet without sitting at the table. Of course, only a few with a seat at any particular table will be able to make side bets, but your turn will come, or you can simply look for an open seat at another table.
Cost is another consideration
Rather than planning a whole evening out, or a small vacation, you can simply
- log in
- cash out
Fuel to travel, meals out, and overnight accommodations are just a few of the expenses you simply are not confronted with when you lay online.
You will find plenty of responsible gambling tools at land-based and online casinos in Canada.
You won’t find PlaySmart or GameSense centers online staffed with the same knowledgable experts as a local gaming venue, but onshore and offshore operators offer all the tools you need from setting limits to self-exclusion.
Responsible gambling tools are required by the best regulators online. We’ll visit licensing later on in this article.
For now, we’ll mention that most operators listed on these pages are licensed in the European iGaming capital of Malta, and/or in Great Britain or elsewhere. You’ll even find a few operating from the Kahnawake First Nation.
Create a gambling budget
While having a gambling budget and sticking to it is certainly a part of responsible gambling. It’s also very important for several other reasons.
One of those reasons is meeting your wants and needs over time. After all, why gamble if not to have fun?
A gambling budget will help you with managing your bankroll. Your budget and knowing your “gambling personality” will help you devise a bankroll management plan – if you decide to.
No matter what sort of games you decide to play, and no matter how you decide to play (high risk or low risk) it is important to manage your expectations to avoid disappointment.
Of course, much of the thrill of gambling lies in the mystery… expecting a win but not knowing if or when it will happen.
By knowing what to expect in general, you have a much better chance of ending each session with a sense of satisfaction, win or lose.
The cold, hard fact is that most people lose more money than they win when they gamble. On any given day I may lose and you may win, we both might win, or we both might lose.
In the end, after millions of slot spins and millions of card games, the casino will always make a modest profit.
Every casino game has a house edge, such as 5%. The inverse of that number is the return to player percentage (RTP). The RTP can be as low 80% on some keno bets (20% house edge) or as high as 99.5% (house edge 1/2 of 1%) on games like blackjack or video poker.
There’s more to the picture than RTP, but it’s a good starting place to manage expectations. You can play a volatile game of slots and go broke quickly or hit a jackpot just as fast – or you can perfect a blackjack strategy and plays for hours on end with the same starting budget.
Research honest casinos
This is actually the most important consideration for one reason. You can do everything else just right and even get lucky and win a big jackpot – but – if you a play at a dishonest casino (and they are out there) it will all have been for naught if you don’t get paid.
The gaming sites you find on our pages have all been vetted and reviewed by industry veterans with decades of experience online, and off.
Best games for beginners
Most of the games in a casino are easier to play than they appear to be. You still probably don’t want to risk your hard-earned money learning to perfect a blackjack or video poker strategy.
The best games for beginners are probably games that are easiest to learn.
Slots are very easy to play but so are card games like online baccarat and roulette. Online craps has a more complicated betting structure but still offers easy bets.
We suggest the following games for beginners:
- Slots – check your bet amount and spin
- Baccarat – easy as flipping a coin
- Roulette – odd/even, black/red near even money
- Video Poker – Follow the in-game cues
- Blackjack – Use a strategy card or memorize your best moves
Mobile or Desktop Gambling
Online players used to have a more complicated choice. They could download a mobile app, play some games in a laptop or desktop browser, or download an entire desktop casino suite.
Thanks to HTML5, all online casino games, including live dealer streams, can be played in a web browser. It doesn’t matter whether you log in using a handheld device or a desktop computer. The omnichannel content is all integrated and optimized for whatever device you are using.
Online Gambling FAQ
What is a Canadian online casino?
In addition to the provincial lottery corporation betting sites, there are many offshore casinos licensed and regulated elsewhere that offer all the same games you find at a local casino. Most of them accept Canadian Dollars.
Games can either be streamed live with real dealers, or based on a random number generator. Slots, blackjack, video poker, roulette, and scratch cards are popular online games. You can also find craps, Sic Bo, baccarat, keno, and rummy.
Is online gambling legal?
Yes. Playing at an offshore casino is 100% legal in Canada. One of the only considerations is the legal age of gambling in your province or territory.
Some sites will accept players that are 18 years old but many will not let you register and play with real money unless you are at least 21 years old.
Are online casinos safe and fair?
Yes, most are. All games are either streamed live, such as live dealer blackjack or roulette, or the results come from a random number generator (RNG). Without exception, the RNGs are periodically audited, tested, and certified fair.
All of the sites you find listed here are licensed, regulated and comply with anti-money laundering as well as know your customer (KYC) laws.
All personal data is encrypted and sent over secure HTTPS channels (minimum 128-bit SSL encryption) just like your internet bank uses.
Any personal information is stored on digitally secured servers behind a firewall. These servers are also secured physically.
How do I choose an honest casino?
All of the sites listed on these pages have undergone a thorough review by gambling experts with years of experience in the industry.
Through our various jobs, we keep our fingers on the pulse and our ears to the ground for anything out of the ordinary.
In addition to periodic review of all our sites, if the need ever arises we revisit the property and do whatever is necessary to keep our readers safe.
What games are best for beginners?
We suggest you start out playing the same games you would at a Provincial or First Nations casino. The transition is easy and gameplay becomes second nature almost immediately.
Oddly enough, the “learning curve” is a little steeper for live dealer games simply because you will use a hybrid interface – part digital and part live table.
For the most part though, live dealer games online are much like stepping up to or sitting down at a physical table to play.
How do I deposit at an online casino?
Since you can’t go to the cage to buy chips or slip dollars into machines, you’ll need to convert your funds into casino tokens.
Some methods are instant and a deposit is just like buying an item or service online. Others, such as an e-check or wire deposit can take longer.
You can visit our casino depositing methods page to learn about all the popular Canadian casino payment methods.
Instant banking is probably your best option but we cover the ins and outs of all methods from prepaid cards to Interac Online.
Once you’ve made your instant deposit you can start to play right away.
How much can I win?
There is no limit to the amount you can win. If you want to trade slightly lower odds for the chance to win millions of dollars, try a progressive jackpot slot like Mega Moolah. Most sites do have weekly or monthly withdrawals limits for regular game winnings due to online payment processor limitations.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Each casino has a slightly different withdrawal procedure. For the most part, it is the same as depositing but in the reverse.
Please keep in mind that you will need to prove your identity in order to receive your winnings. This KYC (know your customer) step is required by all licensing jurisdictions from Malta to Curacao to Ontario or B.C.
The required documents usually include a copy of your government-issued ID, proof of address such as a utility bill, and a copy of any credit or debit cards used to deposit.
The process can take up to several days.
We suggest getting this step out of the way as soon as you sign up so you can enjoy instant processing or instant payouts when you win.
What if I’m betting too much?
Hey, if it isn’t fun anymore you probably are betting and losing too much. Please don’t try to chase your losses trying to win back what’s lost.
Only gamble with money you can afford to lose. If you would be more satisfied buying a book or some new electronics, or taking your family or friends out – that’s what you should do!
Remember your gambling budget. It’s an important element to integrate if you are going to gamble online or anywhere else. Set it up several days before you plan to play rather than in the heat of the moment when you are rearing to go.
Nobody can predict the future so the result of a session is never guaranteed. If you must predict a result, go with $0 and consider the exercise to be entertainment or amusement like renting a movie or going to a concert.
As long as you set up a budget and stick to it you really can’t lose.
Take regular breaks, set a time limit, set deposit limits… you online casino host can help you with all of these things if they aren’t included in the casino lobby.
If you feel like it’s no longer fun to play and self-management tools aren’t doing enough to help, ask the casino for self-exclusion. You will be banned from the site for a period of time like six-months or for a lifetime, it’s up to you.