Pros And Cons Of Retail And Online Casinos In Canada

Written By Robyn McNeil on September 29, 2022
Canada's Retail And Online Casinos What Are The Pros And Cons. Image is empty pros and con list on a blackboard

When it comes to casinos in Canada, we have it pretty good.

Most provinces boast at least one land-based casino destination. And some, like Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, play host to a lot more.

Online the story is much the same. Most Canadians can access online casino games via regional gaming portals, like,, and

However, Ontario online casino enthusiasts are exceptionally fortunate. Last year, the province began licensing private online casino and sportsbook operators. So far, that’s amounted to nearly 30 unique legal Ontario online casino destinations, including BetMGM and Caesars — a true smorgasbord.

So whether land-based or online, casino players in Canada are well-served. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of playing in a casino or online? Is retail where it’s at, or is online your better fit?

Ultimately, the platform that appeals most to casino players is an individual choice. That said, it should be an informed one. So, stick around for some of the pros and cons of retail and online casino gaming.

Pros: Retail casinos offer social entertainment

Human beings are social creatures.

True introverts aside, we share a genuine drive to interact and be part of the action. And that’s a big part of what in-person casinos provide. Plus, the chance to win some cash.

Heading out to hit the slots with friends is a fun and unique way to socialize and be entertained. Many casinos feature a wide range of live entertainment, from live music and comedy to circus performers and psychics. And don’t forget the dining options. Canadian casinos often boast a choice of food and drink, making for an all-in-one destination that’s hard to beat.

Lastly, physical casinos often have robust loyalty programs to entice and reward frequent visits. Lucky guests might receive a small gift, free food or drink, complimentary event tickets or even a no-charge casino stay.

Pros: Online Casinos provide the ultimate convenience

There’s no denying it; Canada online casinos offer players the utmost convenience.

As long as you have access to the internet and a device (phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer), the casino is at your fingertips.

Betting at home also offsets collateral costs associated with an in-person casino visit. There’s no gas money to spend and no restaurant bills to cover. And when done for the night, you retire to your bed — no need to drop money on a room or checkout by 11:30.

Even before that, when cashing out: If a win hits online, your winnings land automatically in your account. That beats waiting in the teller’s line to trade chips for dollars.

Cons: Retail casinos can turn into a pricey night out

There can indeed be downsides to your IRL casino visit. One certainly worth noting: You get what you get.

You’re out of luck if there’s a particular game you were hoping to play that the casino doesn’t have. In provinces with only lottery-run operations, the same may be true for online. But it’s quite a contrast from playing online casinos in Ontario, where you can dabble with different (legal) sites to play preferred games.

Like teleportation, without ever having to leave home. Or your very own holodeck.

That said, the best physical casinos have many games. So, there’s a good chance you’ll find a mix of games to keep you entertained.

Another reason brick-and-mortar casinos can be a downer: the expense. A trip to the local casino for an evening, night or weekend adds up. Travel, food, concert tickets, a gambling budget and accommodations if you choose to stay a night or two ain’t cheap. But, a casino adventure can be a lot of fun, no matter the length.

Just make sure to plan, so you know what to expect. There’s no need to break the bank.

Cons: Online Casinos can be too much of a good thing

What could be negative about online casinos’ ultimate convenience? The convenience itself, of course. And, sometimes, the isolation.

Think about it, playing an online casino at home is a pretty solitary practice. With online casinos, we lose out on physical casinos’ social benefits.

And while the advantage of unfettered access to online casinos in Canada is overwhelmingly positive in most instances, for some players, that’s not the case. Players that have (or are at risk of) a problem sticking to a budget might find it hard to stay within their limits online, especially if they feel alone.

Playing at a Canada online casino (or a brick-and-motor) should be fun. Exciting, even.

If you’re playing beyond your means or chasing a win, it’s best to take a breather. And, if you need assistance, there are services available to help you press pause and regain control.

Takeaway: Whether playing retail or online casino, balance is key

Ultimately, whether you play online or on the casino floor is a personal choice.

Some players desire a night on the town featuring bright lights and ringing bells, while others prefer to login and play their hands from home. Still others want both, depending on the mood of the day.

Fortunately, most Canadians can legally satisfy those wants. But, whether you choose a retail or online casino, knowing your limits and sticking to them is vital.

Do that, and the fun will follow.

Photo by Shutterstock / PlayCanada
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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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