Casino Awards Canada conducts independent research on the quality of online casino service and regularly publishes the most trusted and best online casino brands for the Canadian player. Online casino brands that provide poor quality service and engage in questionable practices will also be highlighted. We aim to help players to choose the best online casinos and online casino promotions, whilst at the same time avoiding falling victim to dishonest operators. Casino Awards Canada believes online casino gaming should be fun – and we are here to help.
Highlight online casinos with the best service quality.
Helping consumers’ on choosing the best online casinos and online casino promotions.
Improve consumers’ online gaming satisfaction.
Improve consumer protection.
If you are a seasoned online casino player, we’ll be glad to hear from you on your online casino gaming experiences and welcome the nomination of the best Canadian online casinos. The nominated online casino brands will be assessed on the following aspects:
Casino Awards Canada considers those aspects of being the most important factors attributing to consumer satisfaction and service quality. And consumer satisfaction and service quality are central to the aim of this award. The research will be carefully conducted; the best service providers will be awarded. The winner for each category will be published.
We look forward to hearing from consumers and casino operators on how the online casino industry can improve in the future.
Casino Awards filters through a vast amount of information on the internet and identifies the characteristic of the most trusted, the best online casinos. The most trusted and the best online casinos must meet the following four requirements:
1. A Valid Licence issued by relevant regional Gambling Authorities.
2. Encrypted Secure Communication – to protect personal and payment information.
3. Games Fairness – Games’ Return-to-Player Rate must be tested and audited by independent test houses.
4. Customer Service.
In our report, online casinos will carry a Casino Awards approval if it has satisfied all four of these requirements above. Among them, you can be sure to find your favourite and most reliable online casinos, so you can play with peace of mind.
Casino Awards carries out independent research on online casinos. Casino Awards assesses the most important aspects of online casinos’ service qualities. The outstanding brands will be featured on our website.
Award for Advertising Transparency
Advertising is one of the most widely used marketing methods in the online gaming industry. Online casinos rely heavily on adverts of new offers and promotions to attract new customers and to beat competition from other online casinos. However, this is where consumers’ interest is at risk; some advertised offers and promotions typically appeared to be more generous than they are. They often use terms associated with risk-free betting such as “free” to entice potential gamblers to sign up, but in reality, many terms and conditions are tied with those offers, the purpose is to minimise any real generosity offered by those online casinos. For example, newly signed up customers are promised “free cash”, however, this “free cash” is only available after a certain amount of real cash is deposited with the casino; often, consumers won’t be aware of such conditions until encountering difficulties attempting to withdraw. Thus, the word “free” used in the advert is considered unfair and misleading, thus harming the consumers’ interest. Other similar examples include “free spins” requiring minimum wagering, “no deposit bonus” requiring wagering a multiple of the bonus amount received before qualify for withdrawing.
All online casinos’ marketing practices are required to comply with the advertising standards issued by local Advertising Standard Agencies. The aim is to ensure that any marketing is done in an open and transparent fashion, ultimately to enforce online casinos to be socially responsible. Consequently, there will be no misleading offers and promotions to better protect the financial, psychological, and emotional wellbeing of customers. However, this is insufficient to end the questionable marketing practices. The Gambling Commission of each country is usually not responsible for checking if the adverts comply with the current advertising standards, and this is where Casino Awards comes in. We check the advertisers’ offers and promotions, terms, and conditions. Online casinos with consistently high standards of advertising will be published. This will ensure that the consumers are thoroughly clear about the advertised content so that no misleading information is being passed onto consumers, consequently preventing uninformed decisions being made.
Award for Game Fairness
It is important to understand the concept of Return to Player Rate to understand how fairness in casino games are defined.
One common measure used to assess casino games’ fairness is the Return to Player ratio, also known as RTP. It is defined as gamblers’ total winning as a percentage of total cash gambled of any given game over time. The difference between the two measures is the game’s gross profit.
Different game categories, different games have different RTPs. For example, in European roulette, that is there 37 numbers include 1 zero on the wheel, by only betting on either black or red or green (zero) with 1:1 payout, the Return to Player is about 97.3%; however in American Roulettes, the game 38 numbers including 2 zeros, the Return to Player is 94.74%. The comparison of two RTPs confirms that European Roulette has better odds of winning than American Roulette over time.
The RTP is calculated as mean or average over a large number of games plays most likely over a long period, only then the calculated RTP will approach the true value of the theoretical RTP thanks to the law of large numbers. The average RTP over a small number of games plays are likely to be biassed and not representative of the true RTP, that is why some gamblers can get below or above RTP winnings in the short terms, but cumulatively, over the long run, the RTP is the most gamblers can expect to receive.
No casino would offer game with a theoretical RTP that is equal to or greater than 100%, if the RTP is exactly 100%, that would mean casino operators are letting people playing their games without making any profit; if the RTP is greater than 100%, then the casino is handing out cash over time.
So the higher the RTP, the better it is for the gamblers; the lower the RTP, the better it is for the casinos. Gamblers’ winning is casinos’ payout. This is why there is every incentive in casinos’ favour to lower the RTP as much as possible. This is why casinos are usually required by their Gambling Regulator to make their RTPs clear to prospective players so that the gamblers are informed about the likelihood of winning over the long term, thus helping gamblers to better protect their financial interest.
Typically, the game with the highest RTP is Blackjack, which has an RTP of 99%, the second place is European Roulette which has an RTP of 97.3%, online slots have an RTP of 96%, etc. so if winning as much cash is your objective, then looking for the game has the highest RTP when playing online.
In theory, an online casino could alter the return to player rate to their favour, i.e., rigging the games; however, in reality, few choose to do so. Such practice is not only unethical but also highly illegal. Unethical online casino operators not only face getting their gambling license revoked, but they could also face criminal prosecution and severe financial penalties. Therefore, it is ultimately in the interest of online casinos to offer fair games. By having regular checks and audits by independent bodies shows that online casinos are operating ethically and comply with the industry standard specified by the Gambling regulator of each respective region within Canada.
Approved 3 third party game testing organisations regularly test the games algorithm of online casinos. Their aim is to ensure that the odds of the games being offered are indeed fair, not biased against their players.
Some of the Test Houses include BMM Testlabs, eCOGRA, Expleo Technology UK, GLI UK Gaming Limited, Gaming Associates Europe Ltd, Gaming Laboratories International LLC, iTech Global Pty Limited, Quinel M. Ltd, Trisigma B.V., etc.
If an online casino has passed the tests by one of these organisations, i,e, that the odds of the games closely resemble the theoretical odds, it can be concluded this casino is indeed playing fair and not operating fraudulently to make extra profit by cheating their players.
Customers are advised to take the checks and audits into consideration when choosing an online casino. Casino Awards Canada will regularly screens and publishes key information from online casino test reports, so only the most trusted online casinos are featured and can be nominated for the awards consideration.
Award for The Best Customer Service
Technical and transactional issues often arise when playing at online casinos. Therefore, it is very important to have access to help when needed. Online casinos with a readily accessible and helpful customer service team can get to those issues quickly and get them resolved as early as possible. This is especially true for issues concerning transactions, i.e., deposits and withdraws.
In the year 2019, many online casinos offer 24/7 telephone, live chat, and email support. For getting the most responsive customer support response, telephone and live chat are the best options. When it comes to choosing the right online casinos, casinos with 24/7 telephone and live chat support should be given priority consideration. In our assessment, online casinos with the best customer service are also the ones that are most trusted in the community. Online Casino Awards participates anonymously at online casinos to assess the various aspects of customer service quality. The outcome is then taken into consideration during the awarding process.
To be able to withdraw reliably and quickly are the most important aspects of the online casino experience. Most online casinos offer hassle-free 24-hour withdrawals, some are even quicker, though withdrawal speed difference does exist, it largely depends on the chosen method of payment, some are quicker than others.
Before making a deposit, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with the withdraw terms and conditions, specifically, what payment options are available, daily withdraw limit, estimated process time, any charges or fees. Because at this stage, you can plan to avoid any surprises. You may wish to use a preferred method of withdrawal, also check beforehand to ensure that the payment method is offered. Some casinos only offer withdrawal using the same method as deposits to prevent any suspicious transactions, e.g., money laundering, identity theft.
Although withdrawal is a fairly straightforward process, some customers do encounter trouble. This is especially true for people who have signed up with bonus offers. The terms and conditions of those offers and promotions must be made as clear as possible. Please refer to our Open and Transparent Advertising section for more details. In other words, consumers would be able to have sufficient information on any aspect of playing at online casinos.
Casino Awards Canada regularly publishes lists of online casinos that offer the quickest withdrawal and largest daily withdraw limit.
Responsive and knowledgeable customer support is essential for a great online casino experience. Many online casinos offer 24/7 live chat support. There are many benefits of live-chat support: first, help is always available when needed; secondly, customers no longer need to spend time and money calling, and sometimes it is a long wait just for the phone call to get nowhere; thirdly, the communication between the customers and the support agent can easily be saved as a script, very convenient to save for future reference in case issue does not get resolved at the first attempt. Casino Awards strongly endorses this method of customer support. It is simply the most convenient way for both the customers and the online casinos to resolve issues quickly.
Signup to an online casino is straightforward. By law, customers are required to supply accurate personal information; this is to ensure that any new customers are only of legal age and it is also done in compliance with current anti-money laundering legislations in varies countries and regions, this practice is referred to as Know Your Customer or KYC. Along with actual name and address, new customers are required to submit a scanned copy or a photograph of a valid photo ID, i.e., driver’s license or passport. Many online casinos would require the proof of photo ID within the 72-hour of the initial deposit. Failing to do so may result in the suspension of the customer’s account. Customers may also run into trouble when making a withdraw.
Online casinos that comply with these industry standards and regulations is also a good sign that they are properly run businesses instead of criminal organisations just to take the deposits and then disappear. Casino Awards advises any new customers to avoid online casinos that do not comply with proper registration requirements to prevent becoming victims of online crime.
Gambling in moderation can be exciting and fun; however, becoming addicted to gambling can have a devastating impact on one’s life and those around it. This is something everyone should be aware of and doing one’s best to avoid. A fun gambler is a sensible gambler. Unfortunately, the fun stops as soon as gambling becomes an addiction. Therefore, it is important to recognise the early signs of gambling addiction before it is too late. Casino Awards Canada strongly advises getting help as soon as you start having doubts about your gambling habit or seeing patterns that impede your daily life. Remember, the first point of help is always you, don’t underestimate how much you can do to change the course of action.
There are many organisations and charities that are dedicated to preventing and fight gambling additions. They have the expertise and communities with the right resources to best tackle any issues related to gambling. Problem gamblers are advised to get in touch and seek help from these organisations.
You are likely to see the links to these organisations featured on the responsible gaming page of most sports betting sites, online casinos. They are not just there to make betting companies look good, but they are there to remind people that help are available, use them, it is never too late.
Almost all casinos will offer some incentives to attract new customers. The most common ones are cash bonuses as a percentage of the initial deposit and free spins. Both well-known brands and recently launched online casinos are competing hard for new customers, however, to compete with the established brands, new casinos need to offer even greater incentives to attract new customers, this is where the good deals are. Make sure to check out our New Casinos list for the recommended new casinos.
Different online casinos offer different welcome incentives. However, those incentives almost always come with different terms and conditions. It is very important to read the terms and conditions carefully before agreeing to anything. Doing so will prevent any disappointing surprises when making a withdrawal later. The welcome offers will be applied to your account once you have accepted the terms and conditions.
Fortunately, Gambling Authority and Advertising Standards Agency has also stepped up its measures to better protect consumers by explicitly specifying how online gambling promotions and offers should be advertised, one of which requires the prominent placement of terms and conditions to avoid consumers being misled.
No Deposit Bonus and Free Spins – Sometimes, online casinos will offer no-deposit bonuses or free spins. It is a risk-free way to try out those casinos and evaluate their customer services before making more serious deposits.
Usually, the size of the bonus is related to the size of the deposit, more deposits are often linked to larger bonuses, but to find out the specific bonus amount you will receive, one needs to refer to terms and conditions carefully.
Another very common requirement of receiving the bonus is the number of times the bonus amount needs to be wagered. This varies among different online casinos. The most favourable type of promotion only requires customers to wager the deposit once to qualify for bonuses, whilst others require that deposit amount to wagered up to 30 times.
Customers won’t have the bonus applied to their accounts until a pre-specified number of times of the initial deposit is wagered. Of course, the smaller, the fewer number of times, the better is for customers. Often, the bonus fund won’t be applied to the account until all initial deposit is used up.
Please note, some online casinos require customers to use the bonus fund before its expiration date, once it has passed, the bonus fund will no longer be available even if the wagering requirements are met.
Another important aspect of getting the bonuses as quickly as possible is to be aware of that different games have different bonus-to-wager ratios i.e. the percentage of bonus to be received over the amount wagered, i.e., a game with 100% bonus-to-wager ratio means that 100% of the amount wagered will be counted towards qualifying for bonus; playing games with higher bonus-to-wager ratios like slots 100% will qualify much quicker than playing games with a much lower bonus-to-wager ratio, like roulette 20% or craps with only 5%. Slot games tend to have the highest bonus-to-wager ratio if you are keen to get that bonus.
Taking advantage of the right bonus offers that is a great way to start online casino gaming experience, however, make sure that you carefully read the terms and conditions to best protect yourself from any misunderstandings or misleading adverts even though it is a rare occurrence. Casino Awards will filter through all the offers and highlight the important aspects, so you can save time and be informed about the best available offers.
Table limit is simply the maximum and minimum amount allowed per bet at a given game. Some gamblers like to place a large amount per bet, whilst others only like to place a small amount per bet. Usually, when gamblers have a big budget, more familiar with certain games, i.e., having more experiences, tend to play games with larger table limits; whilst gamblers who have smaller budgets are less familiar with certain games, tend to play games with smaller table limits. For example, high rollers would find games with high table limits more suited to their risk-appetite and would, therefore, find the game pace of small table limits too slow, does not hit the spot.
It is also very common for anyone to play games with smaller table limits, especially when their objective is to learn about or to experience a game. Games with higher return-to-play rates tend to have higher table limits. You can find games with table limits from pennies to thousands of pounds whatever your preferences are. However, it is always advisable to start small.
Another very important concept of casino games is the return-to-player rate or abbreviated as RTP. Return-to-player rate shows that over a larger number of plays i.e., 10000 or 100000 plays, the percentage of the amount wagered will be returned to the players. Yes, that is right, it takes tens thousands of plays to calculate the RTP of a given games, the larger the number of plays the more accurate the RPT estimate is, because of the law of large numbers which basically means the estimated average approaches to the true or the theoretical one when the numbers of times sampled is sufficiently large.
The higher return-to-player rate means the higher percentage of wagered cash is eventually returned to players, as a cumulative measure, thus the better it is for players. And, the less profit the house keeps. However, if the sampled period is short, anything could happen, there could be huge and frequent wins or frequent losses, RTP only takes into account of the cumulative effect over a large number of plays usually over a long period. RTP can be more accurately estimated for games that are more probability-based like roulette, than skill-based like blackjack, poker or baccarat. Return to Player rate is essentially determined by random number generators, which ensures that the games’ chances of winning or losing are indeed occurred as the rule of the games dictate rather than human manipulation. Approved test houses like eCOGRA test RTP and random number generators to ensure that games are fair. Casino Awards Canada always advises picking games with a high return to player rate.
Games by Reputable Developers — A Sign of Trust
Many online casinos offer a wide variety of games from different game developers. Companies like IGT Interactive, Cryptologic, NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech are the leaders of the online casino game development industry, such as Playtech is a constituent of the FTSE200 index in the London Stock Exchange, United Kingdom. They design games consistent with industry and legal requirements in terms of quality, safety, and fairness. Games designed by these companies is a sign of trust for online casinos, so customers can play with total peace of mind.
Virtual Slot machines, table games, card games, and live games are the most popular games on online casinos. Customers are familiar with these games. The return-to-player rates are high; they are also great for playing on the move, too.
The latest big trend in online casino gaming has to be live casino games where players are served by a real person dealer via an in-game video link. Just like being inside a real casino, players can interact with the dealer via chat, then the dealer responds via live video stream, this brings the betting experience one step closer to the real thing, making it a quality entertainment. Typically, live roulettes, live blackjack, live casino hold’em, live baccarat games are some of the most popular online casino game offerings.