Does PlayOLG measure up? We don’t think so….
Ontario casino players have a wide range of online gambling options from which to choose. Some gamers play at the PlayOLG site which is administered by the local Ontario Gambling and Lotteries Cooperation while others choose to play at free market casinos. There are some (small) similarities and some (larger, more important) differences between the two options.
The starting difference, which may well be the reason for the lacking of the PlayOLG online casino – is that it has has only been operating since 2012. It, therefore, does not have the experience, reach, depth, nearly endless possibilities that the free market casinos – some of which have been online since the 1990s – offer. Ten years experience is a lifetime when it comes to the online gaming market.
I’d like here to look into some of the differences between the two casino options for Ontario online casino players. Knowledge is a great thing and can help gamers choose the online platform that best suits their individual needs and expectations. My prejudice is obvious here – I don’t try to hide it. If PlayOLG wants to REALLY compete with the free market online casinos, it’s got a LOT of catch-up work to do.
OLG – An Overview
The OLG – Ontario Lotteries and Gambling Cooperation – is the Ontario member organization of the Canadian Interprovincial Lottery Cooperation. OLG operates lotteries and brick-and-mortar casinos for the province of Ontario under the auspices of the Ontario Ministry of Finance. OLG sells national Canadian lottery tickets for the Lotto Max. Super 7 and 6/49 lotteries along with a wide range of provincial lottery and instant win products.
In 2012 OLG went online. By operating an online site they were able to bring the option of buying lottery tickets online to Ontario gamers. This was a great move. And….they probably should have stopped here. Unfortunately, the popularity of the site encouraged OLG to expand the online gaming options and they added online casino games. They should have stayed with what they were good at – lotteries. They should have left the online casino to the experts who have been doing it for 15 years already.
All too often, we hear of a new online casino on the landscape. Usually, they just don’t cut it. When there are “greats” around, like All Slots Casino, Royal Vegas Casino, and others, sometimes it’s just best to know where and when you can compete and where and when you cannot.
Sign-in for both OLG PlayNow and freemarket online gaming sites is easy. Both let you sign up for an account for free. You’ll be asked to submit your name, email address, a username and a password to get started. Since participation in OLG activities is limited to Ontario residents, the OLG site requires that you supply your Ontario address and phone number. If your fears of “big brotherism” are set off by this, we understand.
The procedure becomes a bit more touchy when you have to link your payment method to your gaming site. When you play at a free market online casino such as the top-ranked All Slots Casino you have a wide choice of Internet payment methods. These options include echecks, evouchers, ewallets, credit and debit cards and direct deposits and wire transfers from your local Canadian bank account. All of these ebanking alternatives allow you to facilitate both casino deposits and withdraw your winnings back into your account. You also have the option to choose a method that separates your casino banking activities from your regular financial transactions. So, if, for instance, you want to keep your casino bankroll separate from your other payments and transactions, you have that option at a freemarket casino – just choose one of the ewallets like Skrill, Neteller, EntroPay and many others these casinos offer.
If you go the PlayOLG route, you are limited in your banking alternatives. OLG accepts only Visa Debit, Visa Credit, MasterCard and INTERAC as payment methods In addition, not all banks support INTERAC online payments so INTERAC is not an option for everyone. In addition, PlayOLG is affiliated with the Ontario provincial government’s Finance Ministry so your gambling activities at PlayOLG can be tracked by provincial authorities. Not sure I want the local government tracking my online entertainment activities.
Both freemarket and the PlayOLG sites rely on gaming developers to power their casinos. PlayOLG is powered by IGT, a software developer which has been providing games to online casinos since 2005. Most freemarket casinos such as the high-quality Royal Vegas Casino turn to Microgaming which has been developing online casino games since 1994 – again…note 10 years more experience. The numbers of games offered can’t be compared. PlayOLG has several dozen slots, table games and video games. Whereas, All Slots Casino, a top-rated Microgaming casino has nearly 700 (!) games of all sorts: several varieties of slots, blackjack, video poker, poker, table games and more and more and more!
One of the freemarket’s most popular game options, the progressive jackpot games, are not available at all at the PlayOLG casino. Progressive jackpots are games that are building up the “pot” at many casinos across a network. In other words, it’s not just the pot building up at All Slots – it’s a pot building up together across ALL Microgaming casinos (and there are hundreds of them). Jackpots can reach millions of dollars. In fact, one slots game – Mega Moolah, STARTS it’s jackpot at $1,000,000 and has gotten as high as $10M before some one won. There is nothing like this at PlayOLG. The winnings at PlayOLG just don’t get that high.
OLG offers four poker choices including triple play and five play poker, three-card fast poker and Texas Hold ‘Em poker. At All Slots, players will find a wider poker selection with options that range from Deuces and Joker Poker and Bonus Deuces Wild Poker to Deuces Wild Power Poker, Joker Poker, Jacks of Better Poker, Double Joker Poker, Aces and Faces Poker, All American Poker, Deuces Wild Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe Poker, Tens or Better Poker, All Aces Poker, Jacks or Better Power Poker, Louisiana Double Poker, Double Joker Power Poker, Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker and Joker Poker Power Double Bonus Poker.
The freemarket casino also offers multiple variations of blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Those games are limited to the classic versions at OLG.
The payout percentage — an estimate of the return that you can expect you’re your bets on your casino games — for freemarket casino games is approximately 97% while the payout percentage at PlayOLG is approximately 50%.
One of the biggest frustrations for OLG players is the lack of a mobile platform that will allow them to sign in to their account at any time and from any location and play at their leisure.
The mobile casino is now available at almost ALL free market casino sites. It offers gamers the opportunity to access their casino account on their PC or their smartphone or tablet device and play their favourite casino games at their convenience – where they want, when they want.
OLG has not yet launched a mobile platform. This limits players to playing on their personal PC or on any Internet browser.
OLG offers a Winner’s Circle with rewards to select big rollers. Winner’s Circle reward winners are entitled to collect tickets to reserved Ontario concerts, entry to select sporting events and entry into selected concerts and promotion. Winners Circle members may also receive discounts at local Ontario eateries, holiday promotions, seasonal bonuses, birthday points and cash give-aways. This is nice, but….
The free market casinos usually have very elaborate Loyalty Programs and VIP Programs where you can also compete for prizes, bonus money, and so forth. And you’ll have your own personal account manager who will be sure to send you gifts for your birthday, anniversary, big wins, etc.
There are also contests and draws and all kinds of promotional events going on a free market casinos all the time. For instance, All Slots has a monthly promotion which often gives away $100,000 in daily or weekly draws. So there is always some exciting event to be involved in for even more fun beyond the games.
Well, I could go on and on…..but I’m really not sure there is any point. Maybe in another 10 years we can check back and see if PlayOLG has “caught up” to the other online casinos available to us.