With a population of under 150,000, one might not necessarily expect much in the way of gambling to be had on Prince Edward Island – but the isle indeed includes some swell spots to play casino games, play some poker or wager on the ponies…
Certainly the no. 1 spot for gambling of most sorts on Prince Edward Island is, as the name implies, the Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. Originally a small outlet with pari-mutuel betting on a few horse racing events per year, the Red Shores in Charlottetown has ballooned into a year-round facility which boasts more horse racing than ever before plus simulcast events.
This Red Shores is what the Americans would call a “racino”: Over 200 slot machines and other electronic games take wagers, as well as four table games including blackjack. Commendable is the obvious effort the folks at this Red Shores take in their slot machine offerings. In 2017, for example, they’re touting the introduction of cutting-edge “bingo slot machines” from Ortiz, a new game to Canada.
This Red Shores outlet also hosts the island’s only regularly-run poker room, with five tables open for the playing seven days a week. In short, the Red Shores Charlottetown may be smaller-scale than glitzier casinos in Montreal, Ottawa, etc., but there’s more than enough fun to be had in gambling here.
A smaller version of the Red Shores’ Charlottetown location may be found in Summerside. The Red Shores Summerside unfortunately hosts no table gaming, but does have about 40 slots and electronic games to enjoy; about a dozen of these are the so-called “video lottery terminals.” Players on a budget will definitely want to note that at both Red Shores casinos, most games are offered with a 1¢ denomination and only run up to $1.
The Summerside outlet opens at 11am daily, while the Charlottetown track opens at either 11am or noon depending on day of the week. Both are open year ‘round.
As relatively generous as Prince Edward Island is in terms of most forms of gambling, it’s a positive heaven for the bingo player. Aficionados of the number-calling game may test their wares nightly at Bingo World branded bingo halls in Alberton, Charlottetown and Summerside.
For anyone who’s ever followed any legal or legislative aspect of the gambling industry in Canada or the U.S., it’s a familiar story on Prince Edward Island. No matter how much money residents are found to be spending at unregulated and unlicensed casinos, a single dominant gaming concern can effectively block progress on decriminalizing internet gambling. The concern comes from a common misconception that legalization of online gambling will decrease income to “bricks-and-mortar” casinos (or, in the specific instance of Prince Edward Island, perhaps the bingo halls as well). This has been shown to be false in numerous studies, but a monopoly is a monopoly.
This archetypical situation is that which Prince Edward Island residents find themselves in. The overseeing Canadian authority, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) has made noises in the 2010s indicating that a study of the benefits of regulating online casino gaming might be order, but little has happened to ease a more liberal internet gambling law for Prince Edward Island into reality. In fact, if we had to bet as to which province in Canada will be last to receive online gambling, we’d say that, thanks to the umbrella-like presence of Red Shores and Bingo World – both PEI-based companies, to be fair – we’d put money on Prince Edward Island.
The truth is that nothing in Canadian law explicitly makes gambling at online casinos illegal for citizens of Prince Edward Island or anywhere in Canada. The problems come with the reticence of banks and financial institutions to process transactions to and from online casinos; the grey area in internet gambling law in Canada is defined by the banks, which is quite an unfair way to be governed, if you ask us.
Luckily, most smaller community banks and credit unions in Canada do not see fit to regulate their customers’ freedoms to purchase. Electronic payment methods are also doable for Canadian citizens, though the preferred method PayPal remains a bit hit-or-miss as to which sites it will process, etc.
Really, though, the simplest way for the player reading this text to get to a reputable online casino website accepting Canadian players is just to choose one from Casino Canada’s pages. All of these sites welcome Canadians – from any part of the country – and have been quality-tested for fairness and customer service by internationally-recognized regulatory firms. If you’re interested in gambling in Canada, you could do a lot worse than Prince Edward Island – just make sure to bring your laptop and a list of your favourite online casinos!