Ah, Winnipeg! Canada’s 9th-largest city, home of the Jets and Blue Bombers, subject of a very odd film by Guy Maddin. Even beyond the Maddin flick, the pervasive oddity of Winnipeg is often striking, and one can almost never expect to hear the typical out of this city.
So who would have figured that the Slurpee capital of the world (no, seriously; look it up) could support a respectably-sized trio of gambling outlets? That’s the current story of gambling of Winnipeg, a nice ending to a story that began quite shakily…
Provincial law in Manitoba first permitted certain forms of gambling in 1969, though actual manifestations of the law were mostly based in bingo games based in Winnipeg and environs.
In the 1980s, some of the Winnipeg Convention Centre’s space was devoted to casino gambling and bingo, but this setup was never established to be permanent and much outcry was generated thanks to negative publicity both in Canada and abroad.
The Crystal Casino opened its doors to players in 1990; as the first large-scale gambling operation co-managed by the city government, this gaming outlet was something of a beta-test enterprise. Unfortunately, the short-term excitement generated by the Crystal Casino could not be sustained; lame marketing campaigns did little to help and in 1997, this casino was closed.
In a bit of backwards logic, the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission (MGCC) and the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation (MLC) were formed. These authorities were officially named operators of the two newer casinos that were opened in the wake of the Crystal Casino.
Certainly also a significant factor in the demise of the Crystal Casino was the Manitoba provincial government’s opening of two casino in 1993, the McPhillips Street Station Casino and the Club Regent Casino. Through about a quarter-century of operation, these casinos have brought a fair amount of revenue into governmental coffers.
Employing a standard tactic taken up in the 2000s in Canada and the U.S., the Manitoba Jockey Club added gambling beyond pari-mutuel on horse racing at the Assiniboia Downs in order to prop up the flagging horseracing industry within the province.
The Club Regent Casino shows just how far buried in the past the old “gambling at the Convention Centre” is. Club Regent covers nearly all forms of traditional casino gambling: Some 900 slot machines and video poker games are on the floor, with other 70% of these penny slots; table games on offer include roulette, blackjack, keno, Pai Gow, Let It Ride and Blackjack Switch. Beyond this are regular bingo games and weekly poker tournaments.
In another part of the city is the Club Regent’s sister outlet, the McPhillips Street Station Casino. The McPhillips Casino is based on the same plan at that of the Regent, though just slightly smaller. Three to four fewer tables are in play and 800 slot machines and electronic games are on the floor. Management of the McPhillips Street Station Casino fancies its operation as slightly more upscale that the Regent, so fewer penny slots are in play – but limits in poker and table games are higher as well. And McPhillips has your bingo, too.
Finally, calling the setup at Assiniboia Downs a “casino” is a slight misnomer, though the place is sometimes referred to as the “Assiniboia Downs Club West Casino Lounge.” In case, at the Assiniboia may be found pari-mutuel betting on live horseracing and on simulcast events. This lounge also hosts video lottery terminals (VLTs), so those referring to the facilities at the Assiniboia are splitting hairs a bit.
In January 2013, Manitoba government officials announced the opening of an online Play Now outlet for citizens of the province. The frankly uninspiring website rains live and taking customers’ bets on casino games and sports.
Should a Winnipeg player decide to play casino games at a non-Play Now website, however, this remains perfectly legal (not to mention quite popular; at the time of the announcement of the Manitoba gambling site in 2012, government estimates placed the amount of money spent by Manitobans in online casinos at $37 million).
The potential problems extant in using a Canadian-based credit card at casino websites is twofold: Firstly, the financial institution at which the ‘card is based may reject such a transaction (as is the case with any bank majority-owned by U.S.-based interests); secondly, in cases of dispute, legal recourse is not easily gotten.
Luckily, both problems are rarely seen. Most alternative, electronic payment methods will allow citizens of Winnipeg to play at online casinos. As for player disputes with a given casino website, we can tell you that we’re honestly surprised at how *infrequently* we hear or experience any such disputes. Often operating within a legal grey area, most internet casino operators cannot allow issues to conflagrate.
But hey, if you’re a resident of Winnipeg, don’t be unsure about legalities! Simply choose a casino outlet for any of those posted on our pages. Every partnering website of Casino Canada is quality-checked for customer service and fairness – plus the accepting of Canadian players.