Toronto Gambling Guide – Where to Gamble in Toronto

Toronto is the capital city of Ontario, the largest province in Canada by population. Since 1988, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has been regulating gambling in the region, including charity gaming, online gaming, casino gaming, and lotteries.

Casinos

Currently, all the casinos situated in the Toronto area host over 6,000 slot machines in total.
The most extensive Toronto slot is offered by OLG Slots Casino, which is located at the Woodbine Racetrack. The area is 57,000 square feet in size, and the casino features over 3,000 slot machines. However, there are no table games on offer as not all racinos in Ontario are allowed to provide them to their customers.
All non-tribal gambling establishments in Toronto must be operated under the ownership (or partial ownership) of the OLG.
Some of the most popular casinos close to the city include the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino and the Rama Casino. The latter opened in July 1996 and is operated by the Mnjikaning First Nation Tribe. It is the largest First Nations casino in the country. The Great Blue Heron Charity Casino has been operating since 1997 and is located in Port Perry.
The Ontario provincial government made efforts to strike a deal with the First Nation tribe. After a lot of back-and-forth negotiations, an agreement was finally reached in 2011, which guaranteed that Casino Rama would not be negatively affected as a result of the OLG’s changes to the casino industry in the province in an effort to modernize it.
Over the years, there have been plans to open more casinos in Toronto. 2018 has brought about talks of developing a new casino on a site situated on the Toronto waterfront that has been abandoned since a state-run theme park closed its doors a few years ago.
Previous proposals for new casinos in the greater Toronto area considered the amount of revenue the establishment could bring to the city as well as its potential social costs.
There is a single online casino available to Toronto residents – PlayOLG, operated by OLG. You can play table games such as blackjack, poker, roulette, and baccarat as well as purchase lottery tickets. The site was officially launched in January 2015.

Sports Betting


Toronto is a city that loves its sports. It’s home to many high-profile teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays (Major League Baseball), Toronto Maple Leafs (National Hockey League), Toronto Raptors (National Basketball Association), and Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League).
Despite the popularity of sports in the Canadian capital, sports betting offerings are underwhelming. As a result, many residents turn to offshore operators to get their sports betting fix.
For example, you are not allowed to place bets on single games – only parlay bets are permitted. The offering as a whole is not up to scratch, and the primary sports betting in Toronto is run by the OLG Proline betting system.
Bets cannot be placed online – the process requires the use of a pen and paper. You can select the teams you want to bet on and finalize the wager at one of the select retailers located in Toronto.
While there is an online platform called the OLG Proline for playing online casino games, OLG Proline selections can only be viewed; you cannot place your bets through the site.
The odds are not competitive, and there is no rival to force OLG to offer more reasonable rates. There is a grey area of online sports betting in Toronto.
Technically, it is not illegal to use offshore sites that are licensed elsewhere. People are not prosecuted for doing so, which makes it a convenient option for many gamblers.
With the United States ending its federal ban on sports betting, there have been calls to open up online gambling laws in Canada to ensure they can compete with US operators.

Animal Racing


While all other gambling forms are regulated on a provincial level, horse racing is still governed by a federal agency – the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency. This is due to section 204 of the Criminal Code, which states that pari-mutuel gambling is not considered to be a form of illegal betting.
The Ontario Racing Commission overlooks the organization of racing events and ensures that all involved parties are appropriately licensed.
The Woodbine Racetrack is the largest racetrack in Toronto. There are both standardbred and thoroughbred racing held at the track, which has been operating since 1956 and underwent significant renovations in the early 1990s. There are now three separate racetracks on the site.

Poker


Poker is a popular pastime in Toronto, and it can be played in many casinos. Most racetracks are not allowed to offer table games. Online poker in a peer-to-peer setting is available through the state-run PlayOLG platform.
Currently, there are two main poker rooms in the Toronto area, which are located at the Canadian National Exhibition Casino and Casino Rama.

Lottery


As per the 1992 Gaming Control Act, AGCO is in charge of all lottery games offered by  OLG. This legislation was introduced to ensure that the integrity of lottery games was preserved and that players were adequately protected. It also helped pave the way for the first land-based casinos in the province.
If you want to take part in the lottery by purchasing a ticket at a retail store, you need to be at least 18 years old. If you are looking to buy your ticket online through the OLG platform, you must be 19 or older.
The primary lottery in Toronto is the Ontario Lottery. It has been operating since 1975, following the implementation of the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act. Further improvements were made to this act in 2007 to reflect the changing times in the space.
Since 2010, there have been many plans to take the province’s lottery to the next level. The OLG was given more control of the lottery – for example, as of 2012, it has been allowed to sell tickets through its online platform.

Bingo

The AGCO manages and regulates bingo halls in Toronto. If you are looking for a regular bingo license, you need to ensure that any given game does not exceed $5,500 in total prizes; a special bingo license is required for bigger prize pools.
Since 2005, electronic bingo has been available on the OLG online platform and in certain casinos.

Conclusion

Toronto is a city that historically has liked to gamble, which is reflected in its current offering. The lack of proper sports betting is a significant shortcoming that is currently being looked at by the respective legislators.
There are also talks of new casinos being opened in and around the city as there is currently not a lot of competition in the region.