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By Richard Hayes
13 February 2024

How to Start an Online Casino in Canada?

Until recently, the Canadian provinces didn’t strictly regulate the online gambling industry. In general, gambling is prohibited in Canada unless otherwise regulated by each provincial government. Therefore, opening an online casino in Canada, you need to follow local laws, which differ from province to province. Offshore for an online casino offering services to Canadian gamblers is a very attractive option, as onshore jurisdictions have very strict legislation regarding this activity. Foreign operators are not subject to Canadian law and therefore don’t need to register with local authorities.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation was, until recently, the only organization in every province and territory to offer several local online casinos as legal online gambling locations. The assortment was quite small, so the people of Canada were very eager to direct their interest to offshore online casinos. But in 2022, the government of Ontario ‘took the helm’ from OLGC and issued licenses to a number of overseas operators. Currently, Ontario is the only province in Canada where offshore casinos are regulated by the provincial government. A foreign operator needs to fulfill a number of conditions in order to join the ranks of online casinos legal in this province. If you want to apply to register your online casino in Ontario, here is the information you need. In other provinces, according to the law in force in each of them, there is no direct prohibition for Canadian players to play in offshore online casinos.

Starting an online gambling business that won’t only allow its owner to receive a large income, but also appeal to gamblers, you need to act in stages.

Stage 1. Analyze the Online Casino Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly spurred the development of the online gambling market, and the field of sports betting and gambling is expanding and popularizing today. One of the main reasons for this was the easy availability of the internet and the spread of smartphones as convenient gadgets that satisfy all the needs of modern gamblers. In addition, factors such as the creation of regulators for online casinos and sports betting at the national level, social and cultural acceptance of online gambling (including from celebrities), as well as the ability for gamblers to quickly register in any affordable online casino.

According to a study by statistical source GVR, in 2022 the size of the global gambling market available on the internet was estimated at almost 64 billion US dollars, and the CAGR is predicted to grow by almost 12% from 2023 to 2030.

Stage 2. Get a Gambling License

If earlier a gaming license was a competitive advantage, now it’s a prerequisite for launching an online casino. Before opening their online casino, a businessman should consider their choice of jurisdiction and license, as each of them has its pros and cons – time of receipt, price and reputation. Currently, 8 licenses are the most popular in the iGaming industry for offshore casino registration: Alderney (UK), Guernsey (UK), Nevis, Curacao, Kahnawake, Malta, Isle of Man and Gibraltar. The European licenses are more expensive and require an annual audit. A license in Caribbean jurisdictions is cheaper in terms of cost and taxes. In general, in order to understand the options for a gaming license and obtain it, a businessman may need from a couple of months to a year (for example, the period for obtaining a Maltese license is at least 6 months).

Having decided on the jurisdiction, the businessman must register a legal entity, open a bank account and conclude agreements with payment system providers. If a businessman doesn’t want to deal with this on their own and delve into all the details, they can purchase a ‘turnkey’ casino or choose a white label solution, such as those offered by the innovative software developer SOFTSWISS. Here, the software provider provides the client with its gaming license and established financial infrastructure for an additional fee.

Step 3: Choose a Software Provider

The iGaming market is filled with a variety of offers from software providers and it’s important to evaluate the value for money here. Some of the suppliers can be recommended to you directly, you can find reviews on specialized review platforms on the internet about someone. In any case, the gaming platform shouldn’t only be beautifully designed and contain all popular games, but also efficient in terms of business product management.

We are talking about well-developed and reliable systems for managing game content, bonuses, gamblers, payment methods, financial system and analytics, storing player data, protection against hacker attacks, hosting, technical support, regular development of gaming soft updates, etc.

The cost of such a ‘package’ may seem unreasonably expensive, but in fact it’s not a waste, but an investment. Prescribed in the contract and paid services of a reliable software partner will save on unexpected costs and potential risks in the future, and the purchase of cheaper soft may lead to increased costs in the future.

Step 4: Define the Marketing Strategy

The best place to start is by analyzing your competitors’ marketing strategy. You will be able to analyze their strengths and take into account the mistakes that you notice. The next step is starting an online casino from your own ‘given’. It is a good solution to attract an audience to online casinos via emails and social networks. With the help of emails, you will reach only the audience whose contacts you already have. But thanks to advertising on social networks, you can reach more audiences due to the ‘pollination’ effect. This effect is obtained when a newly emerged online casino cooperates with some popular streamer or blogger who advertises the casino to their audience and barter advertises themselves to the audience of this online casino.

Affiliate programs are also popular options to attract customers to a new online casino. But here it is better to rely on the reviews of people you trust than just reviews on the internet. Only if you know for sure that a particular affiliate program has brought new clients to someone from your environment, you can work with it after starting an online casino in Canada. In addition, you can organize a cross-brand campaign with different brands or companies (for example, hotels or airlines), as well as set up search engine optimization (SEO) so that your online casino ranks at the top of the search engine.

Step 5: Develop a Positioning Strategy

To take a firm position in the competitive online gambling market, you need to assemble a professional marketing team and determine the goals of your business and its mission. A clear understanding of the uniqueness of your services among competitors and the definition of a niche that you would like to get into will make your road to success easier.

There is no need to break into the ‘arena’ of iGaming services with an obsessive thought about the ideal design of a site or a lobby with tens of thousands of all kinds of games. For the first time, a concise and visually pleasing design (which can be further refined) and several hundred games (but from well-known and respected providers) will suffice. Particular attention should be paid to games based on HTML 5 technology, which will provide bright and rich graphics and ease of use of the game on any mobile device.

Stage 6. Ensure a Customer Retention

First of all, it is a round-the-clock call center, live chat and a qualified support service. It’s not enough just to train employees to be friendly. Gamblers care about the result. And if a friendly manager politely repeats ‘Your feedback is important to us’ from time to time, but doesn’t help to quickly solve the problem, this is fraught with loss of audience for the casino. It’s also important that gamblers themselves can find answers to their questions. The user-friendly interface, easy site navigation, clearly designed sections with answers to questions, instructions for games, detailed rules and conditions of bonuses will help here.

Cooperation with providers that provide demo versions of games will allow online casinos to attract gamblers who need to ‘dip their finger in the water’ before ‘diving in’. In other words, such gamblers prefer to try out an unfamiliar slot in the free play mode before betting real money.

Step 7: Add extra functions

The era of classic online casinos is behind us. Today, online gambling business owners understand the importance of a multifunctional gaming platform that allows not only casino games, but also the introduction of online progressive jackpot games, as well as sports betting (including live sports broadcasts in live time). In addition, it’s important for gamblers to be able to deposit not only fiat, but also cryptocurrencies. At the moment, the most popular are hybrid casinos – where gamblers can deposit to an account and place bets in both fiat and cryptocurrency. Some crypto casinos even specially redesign their software, expanding its capabilities for fiat currencies.

In terms of jackpots, jackpot aggregators are gaining popularity these days, which allow an operator to easily manage and customize jackpots for their casino platform. Sports betting is also popular among players, and therefore, the operator that introduces additional features into its platform receives several streams of players loyal to this casino, because they can find everything they need in one place.

In conclusion

Thanks to the planned following from stage to stage, you will be able not only to develop a clear strategy, but also not to waste your attention and nerves on unplanned stressful situations: after all, moving step by step in the chosen direction and fixing your progress is much easier than trying to solve many problems at the same time.
One important question remains: how much will it cost to launch an online casino? It’s better to plan the budget for at least a year, or even more, and for a start-up company there will be more costs, because they have yet to win the trust of the players. It is impossible to name a specific amount, but one thing is certain: if you plan to “build” your online casino from scratch, its total price will be higher than if you choose a template solution and design.

Richard Hayes
Richard Hayes

Senior Content Editor