Is Internet Gambling Legal in Canada?
This is a question that is often asked by new gamers and in fact there is no straight forward answer. The rules and laws that govern online Casinos and internet gambling in Canada are cloudy at best. They’ve pretty much been considered to be a grey area, but to date, no one has ever gotten into trouble for playing their favourite games online!
However you can rest assured that there are plenty of ways for Canadians to play at online Casinos that are 100% legal. At Gambling Insider we only ever endorse legal, licensed casinos, so if you stick with us you can play with complete peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that your best interests are always put first.
The confusion arises from the fact that it is illegal for companies to operate online Casinos from within Canada. The local laws apply to the casino operators and it’s their responsibility to meet the requirements and adhere to the regulations set out by the Canadian government. A closer look at the laws, however, paints a different picture:
- It is NOT illegal to access an online Casino from within Canada if the Casino itself is operated offshore.
- Many offshore gaming servers are located within Canada – perfectly legally – just outside Montreal in Kahnawake. This evades prosecution, although technically still illegal, since it is an Indian reservation which is hosting the servers.
- In recent years provincial governments in Quebec, Columbia and Ontario have launched their own government-run Casinos in order that they might generate more funding from the revenue and these too are entirely legal to play.
Can I Get in Trouble for Playing Online?
The only law that might suggest it would be illegal for Canadians to play at online Casinos states that it is illegal to be found in an illegal betting house. However, since offshore Casinos aren’t based in Canada, players cannot be found in an illegal Canadian betting house, so you have nothing to worry about.
The term ‘betting house’ is also one that is incredibly old fashioned, and it’s also a clear indication the Canadian laws have not been updated to reflect the ever changing landscape of online and mobile gaming. As technology has evolved at such a rapid rate the law doesn’t always manage to catch up at the same pace, and this is the perfect example. However, if online gambling was a serious issue or considered to be a major problem, it’s almost certain that Canadian authorities would have stepped up and amended regulations to ensure that they covered all angles.
The age at which you can legally gamble in Canada varies depending on which territory or province you live in, but will either be 18 or 19. It’s up to the player to stick to the rules and to realise that they may be in trouble if they do otherwise. Online casinos try their best to regulate under age players and enforce security checks that pick up if a player meets the minimum age requirement. If you do happen to be underage and get caught out, you will face the consequences, and an online casino will certainly not pay out any winnings to players who are under the stipulated limit. Responsible gambling is something that is very important, and top Canadian online casinos ensure that they uphold the highest standards and allow for fair, unbiased and legal play at all times. The current legal gambling ages are as follows:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- New found land and Labrador
- Northwest Terrirtory
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Yukon Territory
A Well Regulated Industry
Canada has a well balanced approach to gambling and the brick and mortar casino industry is also incredibly well run, with each province taking responsibility for the growth and development of local gaming establishments.
This progressive stance encourages players to give gambling a try, and a recent survey showed that over 75% of Canadians have gambled at least once in the past year. Gambling in Canada has also become a multibillion-dollar industry, and this is further proof of how many people enjoy regulated game play in their region.
With laws that allow for legal gambling, both online and off, and an abundance of casinos that welcome players from Canada, the industry looks set to continue flourishing, and you can join in the fun when you play at any of the licensed and legal online casinos that we suggest.