Canadian Casino Guide

We’ve come up with a Guide to Online Gambling to make sure that all of our readers have access to the facts.  Whether you are new to the world of online gambling or are a seasoned player there’s always something new to learn, and we’re here to help you out!

Online Gambling In Canada

Gambling Laws in CanadaIf you are wondering what the law in Canada says about gambling, check this page out! You’ll find out more about the law, about player and casino operator rules and what the different age limits are. You can rest assured that we’ll always make sure the casinos we recommend are legal, licensed and above board, but it’s good to be in the know!

  • Choosing a Casino:
    Learn more about all the factors you should weigh up before choosing a casino that will really suit you, and find out how we rate the best casinos too.

  • Choosing a Game
    Find out what the most popular casino games in Canada are, what sort of entertainment is available and what types of games can be played online. This page is perfect for players who want to understand the different casino game options before they get started, or are looking for something new.

Playing at an Online Casino: The Basics

  • Playing for Fun: 
    If you’re not too sure what the benefits are of playing for free, or don’t understand how the free play games work, this page explains it all!

  • Online Banking: 
    Get to grips with the different types of payment options available at Canadian online casinos, and how they work!

  • Taxes on Winnings: 
    Find out more about the taxes that apply to winnings, and what Canadian players are liable for.

  • Bonuses: 
    An integral part of every online gaming experience, we explain what the different types of casino bonuses entail, and how you can use them to your advantage. Understanding how casino bonuses work will help you get the most out of every second spent playing online!

Game Guides

It can’t hurt to explore a gambling guide and it cannot hurt because at the end of the day, you stand to benefit. Our guides are not fairy dust or magic formulas. If you’re looking for the secret to cracking a game or undoing its software or anything along those lines, let me assure you, those tricks don’t work. I’m not saying this because we essentially promote the online gambling scene; I say this because the house has got all the angles covered.  What we offer you is practical advice and that advice, like the very nature of gambling itself, can either cost you the game or you win you the game. We’ve got tips and guidelines for the following games:

  • Roulette Guide
    Check out this guide and educate yourself on the more effective ways in which to approach online and mobile roulette.

  • Blackjack Guide:
    Let this guide give you the logical edge in your quest to profit from a card game that’s almost all about luck.

  • Slots Guide:
    Our slots guide is a really useful and handy selection of the best tips and strategies that you can use to make the most of your slot sessions.

Playing Casino Games for Fun

All of the best Casinos will offer plenty of “for free” games which don’t require you to make any deposit, and accordingly you don’t win any real money in return. There are several reasons for playing just-for-fun games before you spend any money, including:

Playing for Fun

Practice

Free games give players a fantastic opportunity to get to grips with the rules and complexities of a game before they play for real, meaning that they don’t waste any money trying to understand how it works. Most free-play versions will also provide handy tips and pointers to help you pick it up quickly and this makes learning even more enjoyable. Although some games such as slots may not require any skill, being able to practice them beforehand means that you’ll be familiar with the features and the ways you can maximise your winning potential, right from the minute you place your first real money bet!

Refining Strategies

Free games give you the opportunity to refine your skills and hone your strategies. A game such as Blackjack requires a modicum of skill, and by being able to play for free you can test out the various strategies and find out what works for you. Some games take a while to master and if there’s no risk of losing any money, you can check out all your options before you place a real money bet. The better your strategy, the greater your winning chances, so free casino games really are a stepping stone to big wins.

Enjoyment

Free games let you see if you like playing a game before you spend any money on it. There’s every chance that you will find a game you like as the variety at most online Casinos is exceptional, however the try-before-you-buy mantra is a sure-fire way to get better value for your money. You may find that some games simply don’t suit you, or that you prefer different games at different times. Being able to try out everything that’s on offer with no risk and no financial commitment ensures that you always have fun when playing online.

Save Money

Some people simply enjoy playing Casino games but have no interest in gambling, and that’s perfectly OK. Casino games can be extremely entertaining due to the exceptional quality of the game play. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue playing for free and never play for real money. Top class, exciting and enthralling, the best online casinos offer easy access to world-class entertainment with absolutely no strings attached.

Free Software

Casino software and Casino Apps should be free to download, but you may be required to open an account in order to play the free games. This does not necessitate that you deposit any money, however, so you won’t risk anything by downloading the software, as you’re not committed to anything. If you do decide subsequently that you no longer wish to play at that online Casino, it’s very easy to uninstall the software and/or delete your account.

Promotions

If you decide to register with an online Casino in order to play games for free then it’s worth making sure you enter your correct email address when prompted. This is particularly useful if you are operating on a try-before-you-buy mentality, as you can then make sure that you receive email alerts about all of the top bonuses and promotions available to you. When you do subsequently decide to make a deposit, you’ll know exactly how to optimise your profit potential.

Playing for Fun or for Money

Money BagA study by the Canadian Gaming Association shows that the main motivation for gambling is enjoyment, whilst only a quarter gamble in order to win money. The majority of Canadians gamble responsibly, either taking advantage of free games or Bonus offers, or by carefully managing their budget. Over 75% will always set a limit on how much they are willing to spend at a Casino and will stop gambling after that money has been spent. It is important to remember that gambling should first and foremost be an enjoyable activity, whether playing for money or not. With this in mind it is much easier to appreciate the entertainment value of an online Casino and consider any winnings an exciting extra. Section 2 of the Guide goes into more detail about the benefits of playing for fun at an online Casino.

Most Popular Casino Games

The best online Casinos have an incredible range of Casino games and Slots to be played; with software developers creating new and exciting games every day there’s always something thrilling to be discovered when you play at an online Casino.

Popular Casino Games

Popular Casino Games

Odds and House Edge

Every game you play will have a house edge, and knowing what this is and what it means is essential.

  • Understanding the Odds
    If you know what odds are, you’ll be able to work out what sort of winning chances you have. Check out this page to make sure you know more about the most rewarding games online.

  • Odd Vocabulary
    Know your terminology and speak the lingo like a pro!

  • What is the House Edge
    An important factor explained in easy terms- knowing what the house edge is essential!

    • Crucial points to note about the house edge
      All the tips you need to ensure you stand the best chances of winning.

  • So, what's my best bet?
    Find out which bets work out the best in a variety of different casino games. This is sure to improve your chances of winning big!

  • Gambler's Fallacy: 
    Understanding the Gamblers Fallacy can help you refine your strategy and stop you making common mistakes!

Understanding the Gambler’s Fallacy

The Gambler’s Fallacy is a very common misconception when it comes to predicting an outcome, which fools many happy players into wasting the contents of their wallet. It’s an idea that feels logical, but in fact is entirely false. The Gambler’s Fallacy assumes that a certain outcome is ‘due’ because what has occurred previously is not what would be expected on average in the long term. The most common way that this mistake is made is when there are two events whose probabilities of occurring are entirely independent of one another.

Tossing a Coin

If you imagine that a fair, two-sided coin is tossed, there is a 50% chance of it landing on Heads, and a 50% chance of it landing on Tails. Statistically in the long term, you would therefore expect it to land on either side an equal number of times. A person tosses the coin 6 times in a row, and each time it lands on Heads. He might then conclude that because it is statistically improbably to get 6 Heads in a row, let alone 7, that a Tails must be ‘due’. However, in making this assumption he has committed the Gambler’s Fallacy. With each individual coin toss there is always a 50% chance of it landing on Heads and a 50% chance of it landing on Tails. Each coin toss is independent of the last one and so has absolutely no impact on the outcome of the next.

Roulette

It is very easy to fall into this trap when playing Roulette. After observing a long run of red, for example, it is very common for players to bet increasingly large amounts of money on black, as they are sure it must be ‘due’. However, a long-term average of 50/50 is by no means automatically represented in the short term, so any players who believe a streak like this must necessarily end the longer it continues are falling victim to the Gambler’s Fallacy.

The Monte Carlo Casino

One of the biggest gambler’s fallacies ever recorded in the history of gambling occurred way back in 1913 in the Monte Carlo Casino.  On the 18th of August of that year in a game of roulette, the ball landed on black 26 times in a row. This rarity in the history of gambling is not just notable for the consistency of one colour but for the tremendous amount of money lost. Due to the laws that govern the gamblers fallacy, everyone around the table just assumed that the colour red would eventually avail itself, as it was ‘due’ and thus many players bet massive amounts against black expecting a long streak of red.

Other instances of the Gambler’s Fallacy

The gambler’s fallacy is not exclusive to gambling. It’s also reared its head in childbirth as far back as 1796 when Pier-Simon Laplace published his paper called ‘A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities’. In it he wrote essays about soon to be fathers who could calculate their probabilities of having sons.  Laplace observed that soon to be fathers assumed that if more sons were being born in the community, that their likelihood of having daughters increased. In other cases, expecting parents would believe that after having had same sex children consistently, that they would be due one of the opposite sexes.

Gambler’s Fallacy Variations

According to researchers, there are actually two kinds of gambler’s fallacy – type 1 and type 2.  Type 1 refers to the belief that a certain outcome is due after a long streak of the opposite outcome or a different outcome. Type 2, expounded upon by Charles Lewis and Gideon Keren, refers to the observation of a certain number of outcomes which then leads to the incorrect estimation of a certain number or outcome. A prime example is when a player watches a roulette wheel for a length of time and then elects to bet on numbers that have occurred often.

What Do the Different Casino Compliances Mean?

At the bottom of reputable online casino and affiliate websites, such as jackpotcity.com and iphonecasino.com, there is always a host of certifications and endorsements. As a responsible gambler you probably check to make sure that there are some words and letters there, because you know that you should, but do you actually know what they all mean? What are the casino certifications that you should look out for, and which are the ones that should absolutely be present at every Canadian friendly online casino? Let’s take a closer look at casino certifications and compliances and reveal what they mean.

Jurisdiction Licences

The area that licenses and regulates an online casino will have its own stamp of approval, which will either be seen on the site’s home page or be easily found on its information pages. This important icon verifies that an online casino complies with international stipulations and is monitored to ensure that it always does so, and that there is recourse for players if this is not the case.

If you have difficulty cashing out or claiming your bonuses, for instance, you’ll be able to take your complaint to the body or commission that has licensed the casino, if you’re playing at a legitimate site. This is an absolute deal-breaker; without a proper licence an online casino could simply make off with your money and you wouldn’t be able to follow it up through any channels.

There are no online casino regulatory bodies within Canada, so you won’t ever find a Canadian Gambling Commission or similar sign on any site. All provinces and territories within Canada have permission from the federal government to regulate their own online gambling environments but Quebec is the only one to take advantage of this so far, and only in relation to Espace jeux, a virtual online casino run by Loto-Quebec.

For the most part, you’ll be playing at online casinos that are licensed by one or more of the online casino regulatory bodies that are recognised throughout the world: the Alderney Gambling Commission; the Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s Division of Gaming; the Curaçao Gaming Control Board; the Dutch Gaming Authority; the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority; the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission; the Malta Gaming Authority and the United Kingdom Gambling Commission.

While it remains illegal for any casinos other than Espace jeux to be run legally from within Canada’s borders, all of these outside jurisdictions are fine and provide access to high-quality online gambling for players within Canada. The last online casino regulatory body on the legal list is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, based on the Indian reserve within Canadian borders. However, this commission is completely independent of Canada’s laws since Kahnawake is a sovereign nation, which means that it has the same status as all other regulators.

Age Certifications

Seeing a sign that says “18+” means that the online casino has verification procedures in place to check that players are 18 or older, and thus legally allowed to gamble. This is usually done by filling in your details including your identity number on the My Account section of the site, and then clicking the “verify my details” button, at which point the casino’s software will check your ID number against a database. You may also be required to supply certified copies of documents before being allowed to play.

Assurances of Secure Sessions

Make sure that you see the words “SSL Secure Connection” or something similar on the online casino you’re considering. This means that the session between the browsers and your web server are completely secure, and that all your personal and financial information will be completely encrypted for every communication between them. If you’re playing with real money online, this peace of mind is absolutely essential.

Safety and Fairness Endorsements

While not as critical as a licence from an online casino regulatory body, an endorsement of safety and fairness from an independent testing body is always a great sign of a quality casino. These seals of approval mean that all games at the casino have had their Random Number Generators tested to be sure that they do create totally random results for absolutely fair gameplay, and that payout percentages are accurate. The reports that these bodies produce are available and will show you what the payout percentages actually are.

The best-known independent casino testing organisation is probably eCOGRA, or eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, but you can also trust the certifications provided by Technical Systems Testing and Gaming Laboratories International, often abbreviated to TST and GLI on casino sites. The European Sports Security Agency, or ESSA, monitors betting patterns for suspicious activity on sportsbooks, and is the sports betting equivalent of something like eCOGRA.

Casino Certifications of Support for Problem Gambling

Online casinos don’t have to provide support for agencies that help to deal with problem gambling, but many of them recognise how serious this problem is and do endorse such initiatives. The casino that you’re checking out may have its own explanation of problem gambling on a separate page, or may simply take you to the home page of the support organisation when you click on the name.

The presence of logos such as GamCare, GamblersAnonymous or GambleAware shows that an online casino endorses responsible gambling and may even make financial contributions to support services for gambling addiction. Licensed casinos also make sure that their staff has been properly trained to identify and deal with problem gambling behaviour in the best possible way.

Ensure Your Casino Complies

If you ever see a casino certification from a body or organisation that you don’t know, research it carefully before you commit to signing up. Thorough regulation and endorsement mean very little, after all, if it is not from a respected authority. The different certificates, first introduced in 1996 just two years after the first online casinos made their debut, are meant to keep playing safe and transparent for you, so empower yourself and check that they’re legitimate before you sign up or part with any of your hard-earned cash. You’ll enjoy yourself and be able to concentrate on your games so much more if you know you are playing at a well-regulated, legal, licensed and certified online casino.

Taxes on Casino Winnings

  • Globally 

The tax laws in different countries vary in regards to the treatment of gambling winnings, particularly when it comes to the largely unregulated area of online gambling. Some countries distinguish between what might be considered casual gambling winnings and income gained through professional gambling. Although understandably these are two different things, it is difficult to draw a distinct line between them.

  • In Canada

In Canada, tax law defines taxable winnings as “income from a source”. However, there is no clear determinant for establishing when, where and how “income from a source” should be understood.

In terms of the practical application of the law, most people in Canada will never owe tax on their online gambling winnings. Gambling winnings are considered “windfalls” and as such, by law, are exempt from tax.

The ambiguity becomes greater, however, for those who make a decent portion of their living through online gambling, which is often the case with professional poker players. If an individual is able to consistently make a profit from gambling and spend a considerable amount of time doing so, it could easily be claimed that they are running a business, and therefore the winnings are taxable. It has also been claimed that in order for winnings to be taxed there needs to be evidence that they were more than just the result of a lucky streak, but that the gambler has a workable system for minimising risk and optimising their profits.

Reasonable Taxation Expectations

In order to answer the question as to whether or not gambling can be considered a form of income or business, the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that players must have a reasonable expectation of profit, or the pursuit of profit, to determine whether or not they can deduct losses from a business. If this expectation is met, then taxes must be paid, as losses are being claimed against.

By applying the theory of a player seeking a pursuit of profit, players can be seen as running a business, and any funds they wager are considered an investment. Should the investment end with a loss, then they can use this to offset taxes owed. However, when gambling is undertaken as a personal endeavour, the pursuit of profit is harder to prove, and players may be exempt from taxes if they can prove that the gaming they enjoy is purely recreational and just for fun.

Cases in Point

We can learn a lot from players who have challenged the system and have tried to claim losses or avoid taxation.

A case that is of particular interest is that of the Le Blanc brothers who played sports lotteries in Quebec and Ontario, and regularly won large sums of money. The brothers also spent huge sums in their pursuit of winning and developed a program that analysed wagers and negotiated a discount on bulk ticket prices. Understandably, the Canada Revenue Agency treated the Le Blanc brothers’ gambling activities as a business, as it was operating with the sole intention of generating a profit.

In contrast, the case of Steven Cohen went the other way when, in 2011, Cohen wanted to claim his losses from playing Poker. Cohen said he was a full time Poker player, and was thus engaged in the Poker business, participating in tournaments on a regular basis and racking up an impressive 2,500 hours in playing time. The court however ruled that Cohen was not a business entity, saying that there was certainly an element of personal consumption in his gambling habits, and thus a tax deduction on losses was wholly denied.

Guiseppe Tarascio was also denied a tax deduction after he tried to claim that his gambling habit had seen him net losses of up to $100,000. The court disallowed Tarascio’s deductions as they said that his gambling was not a business and that he loved the thrill of it, thus negating any proof of him turning a hobby into a business endeavour.

An Open-Ended Question

In Canada there is no set framework for analysing the taxability of gambling income or losses, so you can enjoy your favourite casino games online with complete peace of mind. It’s highly doubtful that there are many players who are eligible for taxation, but if you do feel you are heading towards pro status and that gambling is becoming your business, its best to seek professional guidance and see whether or not you qualify for deductions, or if there are any other tax-related implications.

Gambling Addiction 

Casinos can be incredibly fun but gambling addiction is no laughing matter. Although only a small percentage of Canadians suffer from compulsive gambling, that doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a problem, so always use your common sense and engage with your actions. If you think you may have a problem then there are many organisations across Canada that can help you. Visit the following website for advice on where to seek help: https://learn.problemgambling.ca/

Before you Play

You should never gamble more than you can afford to lose. If you’re not sure if you should be gambling, there is a simple test you can take to help you decide. It’s not a definitive assessment but a simple guide that might be worth considering. Look at the following three statements and reflect on which is applicable to you:

(1) I have paid the rent and have money I can afford to lose.

(2) I can either pay the rent or I can have a bet.

(3) In order to pay the rent, I need a winning bet.

If your answer is (1) then your attitude to gambling sounds healthy and harmless.

If your answer is (2) then you need to consider your priorities and wait until you have paid the rent and you have some expendable cash.

If your answer is (3) then you may have a problem.

Gambling is not a reliable way to fund your lifestyle and should never be depended upon as a source of income.  

It’s easier said than done: quit whilst you’re ahead

Got That Winning Feeling? 

A winning streak makes you feel invincible but sensible playing means that you know when to cut your losses. When you’re on a good run it’s tempting to keep playing as you feel like you can’t go wrong. However, whether it’s greed, competitiveness or pure exhilaration that is driving you, stopping before it’s too late means that you can leave with your head held high and a tidy sum in your pocket.

Knowing When To Stop

To help you make the most of every online and mobile casino experience you have in Canada, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to tell you everything you need to know. Playing sensibly, and with your head and not your heart, is essential for any successful gambler. That’s why we knew we needed to give you some advice on how not to get caught out when you’re enjoying the world-class games and rewards that our recommended casinos deliver.

Plan Ahead

One way of knowing when it is time to take a break is by planning ahead and setting either a time limit, a spending limit or both. It’s very easy to think “just one more bet”, particularly if you are trying to turn a losing streak around, but you’ll end up winning more in the long run if you stick to your limits and spend no more than you intended.

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Game

Gambling is fun, but getting carried away by not sticking to your limits is no laughing matter when you’ve spent more than you can afford.

Great Bonuses and Dodgy Dealers

There are some great bonuses and promotions waiting for you at the top online Casinos and the prizes can be very persuasive! Just remember not to spend a cent of your hard-earned cash until you’ve checked out the small print. You should also look around and choose casinos with bonuses that are best suited to your playing style.

Cashing in Your Winnings

You’ll find everything you need to know about cashing in your winnings in the small print, so read it in advance so as to avoid disappointment. Legitimate online Casinos will always give you everything you’ve earned, but in order to claim your winnings you may need to play through your deposit and bonus a specified number of times before you can cash it in.  Make sure you’re aware of these terms and conditions before you agree to anything or opt in. As a general rule of thumb, it’s also a good idea to cash in your winnings once you’ve made back what you deposited into your casino account, or as soon as you can after you’ve reached that amount. That way you’re always playing with capital and not with winnings. You can put your payouts in a separate account and watch them accumulate, which will make using them for something meaningful even more worthwhile.

Apply Our Advice Today

In a nutshell:

  • Knowing when to play… And When not to play: Smart players know when to quit! Make sure you play responsibly and are always in control with our sage advice.
  • Don't get caught outWe’re here to make sure you always play at the best casinos online in Canada! Use this information wisely and make sure that unscrupulous casinos and dodgy deals don’t catch you out!

Now that you know all of the things you need to be careful with, you’re ready to start playing and enjoying yourself. Remember, gambling can be very rewarding and equally enjoyable, as long as you play carefully and think logically. Keep our advice and pointers in mind as you play, and always behave like a winner who is in control. Have fun!

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