Gambling is more or less as old as society, and online gambling is more or less as old as the internet: the first online casino came into being in 1994! But like everything else on the internet, gambling online has changed almost beyond recognition since then.

In countries where it is legal (such as Canada, the Caribbean and most of the European Union), the online gambling market has grown continuously over the last 22 years. Choices available for the online gambler include poker, casinos, sports betting (including in-play gambling), bingo, lotteries and horse racing. Now worth around $100 billion, the industry has never been so lucrative – or so competitive.

As the demographics of the online gambling community shifts – with more women and young people enjoying an online flutter – and as technology allows for more innovation, the ever-increasing number of sites out there are finding more and more ways to attract gamblers and keep them playing. Some of these sites, and their ‘hooks’, are more responsible than others, and it’s important to choose sites that value your safety and enjoyment – not just your money.

Take a look below to read up on the cutting edge of online gambling, plus tips for how to make sure your online gambling experience is safe and enjoyable.

New ways to play

Gamification

The distinction between online casino gambling and video game-playing is becoming narrower as more and more players demand games based on skill as well as luck, and technological advancements in VR and live-streaming (see below) offer a range of enhanced game-playing experiences.

VR

In many areas of entertainment, it sometimes seems as though virtual reality has been touted as the next big thing for some time! But when it comes to online casinos, there are genuinely exciting things underway, with VR headsets making more interactive and immersive games available.

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Video and live-streaming

How do you combine the ease and accessibility of online gambling with the in-person interaction of a real-life casino? More and more online casinos are offering live games via video streaming to do just that.

Crypto-currencies

Bitcoin is everywhere and online gambling is no exception – in fact, online casinos were some of the first sites to allow cryptocurrency transactions; and a growing number of bitcoin-only casinos are now available.

Mobile gaming

No-one wants to be tied to their laptops anymore: just as with email, messaging and other games, players can expect their preferred online gambling sites to be mobile responsive, enabling you to play at your convenience.

Bonus payments

All the above bells and whistles are attractive to players: but many online gambling sites realise that to grab the attention of customers, they need to do more. That’s where bonus payments come in.

A bonus is a kind of free gift to encourage you either to start playing, to keep playing, or to play more (some real-life casinos offer these too). Online, there are a number of different kinds of bonus payment, in a huge range of figures from $5 to $500 or more.

Many sites – including online casinos, poker games, bingo games and so on – will offer you a welcome bonus when you first sign up, usually in the form of either a deposit bonus or free spins. These may be followed by reload bonuses, to reward regular players. And some sites offer a no deposit bonus to allow you to try out the site for free. Genuine no-deposit bonuses are rare: be wary of online casinos that claim to offer a no-deposit bonus but still require you to pay a deposit and play in order to cash out your winnings. You might get a better deal by taking advantage of a deposit bonus where only a tiny bonus, such as $1, is required.

Of course, these bonuses are not just free money: there will be terms and conditions attached before you can cash them out. What’s more, some bonuses are more generous than others. Read up below on how you can avoid being taken for a ride or led into unsafe gambling practices; and visit the leading provider of Canadian bonus listings to get the best deal.

Keeping it safe and fun

Gambling, whether online or off, should be a safe, enjoyable pastime. With so many choices out there for you to have fun with a little of your hard-earned cash, you want to know you’re getting the best deal, from trustworthy operators who protect your money and promote responsible gambling. There are a lot of big-number bonuses out there – most of them genuine! – but it can be hard to spot the shady operators.

That’s why you need a good listings site with a proven reputation, who will do all the work: scoping out operators; testing their sites; carrying out honest reviews; reading the terms and conditions fine print; and comparing bonuses and promotions. That way you can be sure to play with a top-quality operator who will offer generous bonuses, pay out your winnings on time, guarantee decent customer service, and promote good practice when it comes to responsible, problem-free online gambling. New operators go into business every day, so make sure you visit an up-to-date site to find the best deal around, and sign up to the mailing list to avoid missing out on what’s new.

Remember, while the vast majority of online players can gamble occasionally and enjoy it, it is possible for gambling to become a problem that affects your life. A responsible gaming site will never encourage you to keep playing if you have a problem. Visit ProblemGambling.ca if you think you might need help.

Online gambling is a huge and growing industry which is taking advantage of technology to respond to competition, by making games safer, more engaging, more interactive, and more rewarding for consumers. Bonus payments are an exciting way to get the most out of your money. With so many online gambling promotions out there the market can seem overwhelming – so visit a leading bonus website for reliable, up-to-date information on the best deal for you.

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