This week, I registered for my first-ever online casino (save for ALC.ca, my local lotto and sports betting offering).
That was quickly followed by my second, third, and so on. And there’s undoubtedly more still to come over the following days and weeks. I’ll tell you more about those later.
For now, though, the only platform I’ve gone all the way with (by which I mean actually completing a deposit and making a wager) is BetMGM.
After some launch week hiccups for some of the operators involved with the Ontario online casino launch, I was curious about how my experience as a newbie would go.
Follow along to find out.
Signing up for an online sportsbook or casino? It’s all in the details
To start, I swung by PlayCanada’s BetMGM Casino Ontario page to follow the link to signup for the book.
Honestly, from there, it was pretty much a piece of cake as far as creating an account goes. Registration asks are primarily about the operator fulfilling Know Your Customer requirements. So once you input tidbits like your name, address, email, phone number and occupation, you’re well on your way to being done with the whole process.
I chose to sign up on my laptop and leave the app download for later. For that reason, the site prompted me to download location check software to ensure any bets I made were coming from within Ontario’s borders. Thankfully that installation was quick and straightforward, too. And it started doing its job immediately. With apps, that tech is built-in and doesn’t require further player actions.
Now with my location verified, I was off to the proverbial races. Almost.
Do not pass go, do not collect 200
The next step after registering, if you intend to place a bet, is making a deposit. And I fully intended to take advantage of any launch-related offers up for grabs. I’d tell you all about those welcome perks if I could, but (thanks to regulations) I might get my hands slapped.
But I digress…
So, today I took that next step, e-transferring some cash that they would eventually match into my BetMGM account. Except that the money I deposited was slow to make an appearance. The site’s help and support section say that sometimes deposits can take a bit to arrive. But, if your deposit fails to appear after 30 minutes, it’s time to reach out to customer support.
So, more than 40 minutes later, when my account still showed a zero balance, that’s exactly what I did.
For some reason, at least momentarily, the chat function refused to work, but I just sent an email to customer support instead.
But little more than an hour later, the matter was over. But, how we got there is not likely how you think.
You’re richer than you think
BetMGM’s customer service hadn’t even had a chance to get back to me when I received a call from my bank.
They were calling, they said, to check on an Interac transfer I’d sent to ensure no one was defrauding my account. After answering a few security questions, they asked if the transaction was crypto-related. I told them no, it’s to fund my account on a betting site.
Satisfied this wasn’t an unintended charge, the banking officer said they’d release the funds, and just a few minutes later, the total amount (deposit and match) was sitting in my account.
So, while I suspected that maybe they were having trouble working out some kinks on launch day (perhaps what was up with the chat function), the wait wasn’t BetMGM fault. It was my bank taking extra precautions to protect me from fraud.
While initially concerning and mildly annoying, I can’t be too peeved about the extra protection.
My first kicks at the can
With money in the bank, it was time to give BetMGM online casino a try.
I started with Bellagio Fountains of Fortune for reasons I can’t divulge (😉 ). After winning a few spins and losing a few more (over maybe a total of 25 minutes), I switched to MGM Grand Millions and a chance at the progressive jackpot. Unfortunately, the session brought me more losses than wins, so I moved on once more, this time to another progressive jackpot game, Spin & Win.
When I got tired of losing there, I made one final switch to BetMGM Blackjack Pro for a bit of table action.
While I didn’t win much overall in the 45 minutes, or so I played, I enjoyed my time playing. Plus, I had nearly the same balance in my account as when I started. So I wouldn’t say I was winning, but I didn’t break the bank either.
It also reminded me how much I like Blackjack. Next time I think I’ll give the live dealer option a try. If and when I do, I’ll let you know how that goes.
Registering for BetMGM was, for me, a simple, intuitive process. The only real issue is getting bet-blocked by my bank, but in reality, even that was a reasonably low-maintenance fix.
Was it an inconvenience? Sure.
But it was nothing that took any real effort to deal with. Even if it did, none of that fault belongs with BetMGM. It is more about an industry that is sometimes still maligned in traditional business.
Time and shifting norms are changing that. In the meantime, I’m happy to reassure my bank if necessary.
And as long as the financial gods remain satisfied, the good times can keep rolling.
P.S. Customer support DID get back to me within a couple hours, so I feel pretty good about my chances of getting help if I truly needed it.