Joonas Karhu, chief business officer at Bojoko, writes about the Canadian market and what affiliates need to do to ensure they are taking a responsible approach to engaging players…
Legal, regulated online gambling continues to roll out across North America except for in one big market where it remains something of a grey area.
While it is not against the law for Canadians to play at online casinos, it is against the law for operators to run online casinos from within most parts of Canada.
Of course, the majority of online casino operators are based in other regulated jurisdictions such as the UK, Malta and Gibraltar, so can accept players from the country.
In addition, some operators are licenced by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission which allows them to run sites from the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation territory and accept Canadian players.
There is undoubtedly an appetite for online gambling and online casino in Canada, with some of the largest and most popular gambling brands accepting players from the country.
This includes the likes of 32Red, Unibet, BetVictor, Bethard, Vegas Luck and Wishmaker.
The affiliate opportunity
It is also an interesting market for affiliates, allowing them to enter North American via a jurisdiction where there are fewer barriers to entry than, say, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
In markets like these, there is a requirement for affiliates to apply for and obtain a licence from the gambling regulator in the state they wish to launch.
In Canada, an affiliate licence is not necessary, but this means that publishers must ensure they are taking a responsible approach and meeting the highest possible standards of their own accord.
This is something we had to achieve when launching Bojoko in Canada in summer last year. To make sure we got it right, we used our experience of working in the highly regulated UK market.
We identified the need to do two things to ensure Canadian players understood the online casino sector and that they were properly protected while playing.
- Educate players about online casino including what a reputable site looks like and the tools available to help them stay in control of their play
- Provide our members with direct access to the most trusted and reputable online casinos that accept players from Canada
To do this, we applied three key principals to our Canada-facing site that have ensured we continue to meet the same gold-standard responsible gambling requirements as in the UK.
We believe that other affiliates targeting the Canadian market should also consider these factors.
I take a closer look at each below:
It is important for affiliates to educate players about all aspects of online casino in Canada and in particular around the legality of them playing.
In addition to this, publishers should explain things like bonuses, terms and conditions and especially wagering requirements, as these continue to cause problems for players in highly regulated markets.
Of course, the best way to educate players is through guides and articles written specifically about online casino in Canada.
These guides should be written to educate first and foremost and not to simply rank for key search terms. As such, they should be written by online gambling experts with knowledge of the Canadian market.
Make terms and conditions clear
Bonus terms and conditions remain a challenge for operators and affiliates working in markets all around the world, with some players struggling to understand how they work.
As such, it is vital that affiliates do all they can to make clear bonus terms and conditions and present the information in a way that is easy for players to digest and understand.
We have achieved this by creating links to both the significant and full terms and conditions, which also open in a box if the player hovers over the link.
The offers we promote and the T&Cs they come with are always up to date because we allow our casino partners to create a Bojoko account and update the information themselves.
This means the offers and terms we are promoting are 100% accurate and that players can be certain they are not being misled by a bonus and its T&Cs.
Work with reputable brands
Finally, affiliates should only work with the most reputable brands that accept Canadian players – for us, that means they must hold a UK Gambling Commission or Malta Gaming Authority licence.
By taking this approach, we can be certain that our members will receive the best possible experience at the casino and that they will be properly protected.
Trust remains a big issue in markets that are not regulated, so partnering with reputable operators that hold gold-standard licences players can be more confident that the casino is reputable.
If affiliates use the same blueprint as we have, they too will be able to successfully launch in Canada and build trust among the thriving online casino community that exists in the country.