Author Archives: Murphy Green

Canada’s Northern Bear to Shut Down

A popular online casino named Northern Bear Casino has shut down its operations citing financial reasons. It was launched just two years ago, but gained prominence as it was the first online gaming operator by a First Nations company in Canada.

 About Northern Bear

Northern Bear CasinoThis online casino was started by Bernie Shepherd in 2012. It was not the first gambling initiative by Shepherd. He started a casino in 1993, which was the first casino in the area and was constructed on tribal land. This was shut down by the authorities soon after as it was started without seeking proper permissions.

But he has been relentless about making strides in the gaming industry but his digital foray also failed to be a success. However his efforts to start gaming businesses, the first by anyone belonging to the First Nations people has been commended by some people in the community. However, license of Northern Bear is also under the scanner. As per Shepherd he had obtained licensing from Quebec under the First Nations provisions. But this is not valid to start gaming operations in Canada.

Northern Bear used Geobet as its operating software and had its servers located in the Virgin Islands. But as per Shepherd himself the online gaming industry is very challenging industry and difficult to make profits. Though he was looking for external funding to avoid closing of the casino, nothing materialized on that front and the casino had to shut shop. Though there have been murmurs that Shepherd didn’t have the funds for the winnings and the wagers and this has been the reason for which the Northern Bear has been shut down.

About online gaming in Canada

The online gambling scene in Canada has never really taken off. This could be the reason for Northern Bear’s poor performance. Even those gambling sites that are owned by the state haven’t done well financially and are struggling to make profits. Authorities however have been saying that online casinos are easy to run as operating costs of running them is not high.

There are some exceptions like playnow, who have done better in the recent times. British Columbia Lottery Corporation, which runs playnow as well as operates many of the region’s gaming sites hasn’t done well with other companies.

Expansion of PokerStars in Spain

The acquisition of PokerStars by Amaya Gaming seems to be going well. The Canadian company always believed there was a lot of untapped potential with this website. They have now decided to expand their operations in Spain, with other countries rumored to be next. Blackjack and Roulette are now available to players in Spain through the website PokerStars.es.

poker starsTheir president had this to say on the matter: “This decision does not mean we are taking our eye off the original ball. We still want to be number one in Spain when it comes to online poker. However, adding these games gives us a chance to bring more quality products to our loyal customers.” Visit casino to see what games they currently have.

The licenses to operate these games were obtained earlier this year through REEL Spain, a subsidiary of PokerStars in Spain. The President had further comments to make on the news: “Through our research we know that many of our customers want to be able to play other games on our platform. This move ensures that players who prefer an overall casino games package can sign up with PokerStars. We will still cater to our core clientele, while giving them the option to enjoy these two new games.”

With the move in Spain completed, it appears that Amaya Gaming is turning its attention to Italy. They want to add games to the Italian PokerStars website as well. In addition, they want to improve their sponsorship policies in the country. PokerStars has been successful with sponsoring poker tables and rooms at various elite casinos. Poker tables with the PokerStars logo attract attention and business to their website. Adding sponsorship in Italy will boost their business.

Italy should expect a series of online casino games with the PokerStars brand in the coming six months. This transition is being handled by the gaming director of EuroBet, Marco Trucco.

For more on this story, click here.

Great Canadian Extends Contract with Fraser Downs Casino

Casino players in Canada were relieved when Great Canadian announced that it has extended its contract with British Columbia Lottery Corporation. The expansion will enable it to operate the casino for another ten years. The agreement allows Great Canadian to continue running slot machines and conducting slot tournaments for players and regular patrons at the hotel.

Fraser Downs Casino

The firm has been an operator of both Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino since 2005 and is a favourite among locals. Besides a casino, the property has four dining areas along with spaces to hold private meetings and gaming options like Standardbred horseracing and gambling. In a public statement announcing the renewal of contract, CEO of Great Canadian thanked BCLC for granting them an opportunity to serve local residents in a better manner by providing more exciting options for entertainment and leisure. The firm with operations across Canada employs 3900 people in Canada and nearly 600 in Washington.

Operations of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation

The Great Canadian was established in 1982 and started operations to operate charity casinos across Canada during annual fairs. Its first permanent casino became operational in Vancouver in 1986 followed by others at Victoria, Richmond and Langley. Over a period of time the charitable casino gave way to British Columbia Lottery Corporation and existing facilities were expanded to have separate slot machines section and more tables for card games like blackjack, poker and baccarat. Through 2004 and 2011, the firm expanded its operations to include hotels, theatres and casinos in British Columbia, Bear Mountain, Kent, Washington, Tukwila and Maple Ridge. The Great Canadian was listed on Toronto Stock Exchange during this period as it grew by leaps and bounds.

Relationship between Great Canadian and Fraser Downs Casino

The long-term relationship that began in 2005 with renewed extension till 2024 will now be able to complete 20 years without any interruption from government or private authorities. Depending on market demand the firm will make some long due changes to the property which will certainly include new slot games too. Besides this property, the firm also runs a resort, four racetracks, community gaming establishments and several casinos. To bring in avid card players, Great Canadian opened a new Poker Room in Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino during March 2012.

Casinos

With smoking falling out of favor over the past several decades, land based casinos around the world have been faced with a difficult decision over how to handle smoking. The traditional image of a casino brings to mind a smoke filled room with low ceilings and ash trays on every table. Modern casino design has integrated significant architectural and technical advances to allow smokers and non-smokers to participate in gaming alongside each other.

casinoNewer casinos feature high ceilings and innovative air filtering to maintain a pleasant, smoke free environment. Almost all casinos have sections dedicated to non-smoking and nearly all poker rooms are non-smoking.

Other casinos are being forced to ban smoking altogether due to state or national laws that prohibit smoking in public spaces. These casinos claim a competitive disadvantage although hard data for this is difficult to come by.

The only casinos that are immune to the smoking debate and allow for smokers and nonsmokers to choose their own fates are online casinos. By gaming online, players can participate in gaming from the comfort of home where smoking, or not, is clearly dictated by a strictly local policy.

Gambling Site Matchbook to Leave Canadian Market

World renowned betting exchange Matchbook has announced its withdrawal from the Canadian gambling market. Canadian Matchbook customers were informed of the decision by parent company TripleBet through emails and letters stating their ‘regrettable’ decision of exiting the jurisdiction.

A purely business decision

matchbook

TripleBet officials said that the reason behind leaving Canada was made after a “comprehensive review of all operations.” However, no specific information on the ‘review’ was disclosed. The company provided no additional comment apart from it being a ‘business decision,’ as posted by a representative on SBR’s forum.

Chief of brand strategy at Matchbook Paul McGuinness shared his thoughts with eGaming Review. He stated that the organisation’s decision was driven by commercial reasons in order to allow better focus in other markets. Matchbook has now shifted focus to key market areas in Asia and Europe.

State of Canadian bettor’s affairs

Post 23rd July, Matchbook stopped accepting wagers from Canadian clientèle and customers. However, wagers made before July 23rd will continue to remain open until the event bet is settled.

Here is a proposed settlement of running Canadian player’s Matchbook accounts:

  • Winnings will be settled as normal, on wagers made before the fateful closing date.
  • To further complete closure, Matchbook has requested Canadian players to withdraw all current standing funds from their accounts by August 22 this year.
  • For players with registered personal account information on file, Matchbook will transfer all the money accumulated in their accounts to their personal bank account or wallet.
  • If no personal payment details are present on the customer’s Matchbook account, the company does not guarantee a payment refund.

Growing trend?

Matchbook is one of many online betting companies to have waved business in Canada goodbye. Recently, UK-based booking company Betfred removed its presence from Canada—a result of due diligence to licensing processes. Skrill, a popular eWallet and online gaming payment processing company ceased transactions with Canadian customers due to a review of operations, as well. InterPoker, an online poker operator, has also has withdrawn from accepting transactions from Canadian players.

Canadian Law Changes Target Online Casinos

In February of this year, Canada introduced amendments to their Anti-Money Laundering law, with the changes set to target online casinos that operate in the country. The reason for these amendments was due to the fact that Canada has often lagged behind the rest of the world when it comes to their online money laundering laws. Online casinos in countries such as the UK go through a great deal of government scrutiny, and Canada felt that it was time for them to “move with the times” regarding these policies.

online casino canada

Here is an overview of the major amendments to the law:

  • Detailed information about any accounts that were using virtual currencies to complete their transactions. The government believes that using these methods of currency is a great way for launderers to legitimize their money.
  • Scope for getting information about any businesses or private entities that are conducting their business through virtual currencies. This law will apply to businesses and entities that are either operating in Canada or providing a majority of their services to Canadians.
  • Open exchange of information between online casinos and the government. People within the Ministry of Finance are able to access this information on a request only basis – there will be no need for warrants. Online casinos are encouraged to cooperate fully, especially because they are never the target of these inquires. The government wants information on people who are putting their money through these casinos.
  • Transactions that include a Canadian as one party and a foreign citizen or entity as the second party are to get particular attention. These transactions, especially those involving virtual currencies, are seen as the highest risk for laundering or terrorism activities.

Implications of the Amendments –

The basis for these amendments is to put online casinos on par with traditional casinos. A regular casino would be expected to report any suspicious transaction to the government, and there is no reason why an online casino cannot do the same.

The government believes that these entities make a lot of money by holding their operations in Canada, or by offering services exclusively to Canadian customers. If they are taking profits through Canada, it is important that they “give something back” and hold up their share of responsibilities.

As long as an online casino successfully reports requested information to the government, these amendments should have no negative impact on their business.

For more information on the amendments, click here.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Casino Ban Could Be Lifted

One of Canada’s most traditionally conservative provinces is finally reconsidering its ban on casinos and taking a second look at some of the stringent legislation against gambling in its region. Newfoundland and Labrador has had a ban on casinos, with a number of reasons cited for backing their decisions. While some of their reasons for the ban were economic and politically motivated, others were morally motivated.

casino-cardsOne of the main reasons that politicians and officials have stuck to as a reason to enforce the ban on casinos in Newfoundland and Labrador is the increasing issue of problem gambling and gambling addiction that the country has seen. This is not, as many have pointed out, simply a Canadian issue. There have been increased reports of problem gambling worldwide, and officials in N.L. maintain concerns over the increased issues they’d see in their own province should casinos be built within their boarders.

However, tides may be changing with the trends and policies surrounding casinos in this province. Recently the Finance Minister, Charlene Johnson, has gone on record as saying that she believes proposals should be taken seriously, whether they’re for a casino or something else. By acknowledging and rewarding the work that people put into creating a proposal with simply giving it careful consideration that is due, Johnson has created a small ray of hope for those who wish to see casinos in N.L. While it’s leaps and bounds away from actually seeing a casino come to fruition, Johnson’s change of heart is a telltale sign of changing attitudes within modern society.

While this change of heart has provided some glimmer of hope that casinos may soon become possible in N.L., there are still those who are adamantly and outspokenly oppositional to the idea. The current Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and the current NDP Leader Lorraine Michael have both gone on record with statements opposing the idea of allowing casinos to be built in the province. While there is still no official word on the lifting of the ban, nor is there any serious consideration for an actual casino, the dialogue opening up about the possibility of allowing them is a huge step in a new direction for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Irish Eyes Slot Game

Name:             Irish Eyes Slot
Type:              25 line, 5 Reel Video Slot
Features:       5 Reels, 25 Paylines, Wilds, Scatters, Free Spins, Pick and Win (Pick Me)
Wild:               Lucky Leprechaun
Scatter:          Lady

Irish Eyes

Ah, the luck of the Irish. Historically a term coined by some Irish folk who had managed to rack up mining fortunes during the gold and silver rushes, the term now jiggles to mind four leaf clovers (shamrocks), pots of gold hidden at the end of rainbows, and the cheeky leprechauns that hid them there.

Now you can experience As you enjoy an enchanting Celtic experience in the lush green fields of Irish Eyes, the newly released unique game from Microgaming™, keep an eye out for a wee man dressed in green (with a beard and pointy hat, of course), and an Irish beauty with flaming red locks. These two characters represent the Wild and Scatter features of this game respectively.

The Wild symbol can stand in for any other symbol in order to help players create winning symbol combinations and also awards between 1 and 5 icons. The Scatter symbol gives players twelve free spins, during which all winnings are tripled. Other symbols include shamrocks, a golden pathway, 9s, 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings, all of which are designed in a way that maintains the fun Irish theme.

Although nowadays we see Leprechauns as symbols of Irish tourism, and icons of St Patrick’s Day and all the debauchery that is associated with this fun, whimsical day, Leprechauns have a detailed history. Traditionally a mischievous, fairy like being who worked making shoes, Leprechauns were said to deposit their coins in a secret pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The power to grant three wishes to any human who captured them wasn’t the only trick Leprechauns were said to hold up their sleeves. Leprechauns are said to carry two leather pouches with them at all times – one containing a silver shilling that magically returns to his pouch every time it is spent, and another that contains a gold coin. The gold coin is used as a bribe to get Leprechauns outs of tricky situations and turns to ash after it leaves the Leprechauns possession. However, it should be noted that these crafty little folk will do anything to avoid being caught – even turning their captors into small reptiles – thus making this figure the perfect Wild symbol.

Follow the rainbow through the 25 Paylines and 5 rolling Reels as you cash in Free Spins and activate the Pick Me Bonus which lets players win up to 100 times their triggering bet. This feature comes in to play when the Leprechaun lands on reels 1 and 5. Players then pick a symbol which reveals a prize. Extra lucky players might see “Pick Again” or “Win All” pop up on their screen, giving them the chance to claim extra bonuses.

The betting range ranges from 1 penny and $/£/€50, which makes this slot a game that caters to every pocket. All recorded wins give players the option of taking a risk by throwing more of their money into the Leprechaun’s pot, continuing their leisurely stroll down the golden pathway  or cashing in for the the day. However, upon choosing to continue to play, players’ have the opportunity to double their wins by picking the correct colour, or quadrupling their pennies by choosing the right suit.

With crisp, clear graphics and gentle animations that will send players into daydreams of delicious picnics in the glorious Irish countryside, and sound effects to further boost the gaming experience, this is one game that slots players will not want to miss. Well, unless they are scared to test their “Irish luck”, that is.