Legal Online Casino Canada – Where To Play and Why


One question that seems to come up time and again from new players is, “Are Online Casinos Legal?” Well, the answer depends on where you are in the world. But, for most countries, yes, they are.

Whether or not a particular online casino is legal depends mostly on its individual operations, licensing and general compliance with both industry standards and the regional regulations of the geographical location in which it operates.

In the USA, for example, online casinos are mostly illegal, although some states have started to allow some form or another of gambling. Many cynics would argue that the reason for the shutdown was to stamp out the competition and then run the show – taking a lot of the money – when regulation began.

In Great Britain there is a different approach, whereby online casinos are allowed to operate within the country so long as they operate within the law, pay taxes and are fully regulated.

Gambling in Canada is something of a grey area when it comes to the legality and that’s no surprise really, considering the different opinions around the world when it comes to legal gambling.

It’s not difficult to find some reputable legal online casinos in Canada but it’s helpful to know what you’re looking for.

Check out our reviews for the best legal online places to play right now, learn more about what we look for in an online casino Canada legal operator, and the history and current state of play of Canadian gambling laws.

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Finding a Legal Online Casino in Canada

Despite the laws surrounding Canadian online gambling being somewhat hazy, now is the best time for Canadians to gamble online thanks to helpful sites like We have done the legwork to make sure that you can play at the best legal online casino in Canada without the risk of unsafe websites or disappointing games.

When looking for a great online casino Canada legal site there are several factors you need to consider.

First off you need to make sure that the online casino has a reputation for fair payouts and reliable operations. You’ll also need to make sure that it is licensed and registered with the proper authorities and that it is allowed to operate in the country you wish to play in.

Generally speaking, you will not be breaking any laws by playing at an illegal site, but more likely you’ll find yourself being ripped off by an underhand operator. If you want to be 100% sure that you’re playing at a trustworthy and legal establishment, check out our top recommendation.

How We Pick the Best Legal Online Casino Canada

When we review casinos we always look at the following criteria to ensure players enjoy the very best all-round experience:

  • Trustworthy – All of the online casinos that we recommend are 100% trustworthy.
  • Rewarding – With big Welcome Bonuses, brilliant payouts and amazing Jackpot prizes, the legal casinos we recommended are the most rewarding you’ll find anywhere
  • Legal – We only recommend sites that are 100% legal. You can trust that any deposits you make will be safe and secure whilst you play.
  • Fun and Fair – The best casinos ensure fair gaming so that you have the best chance possible of winning whilst having a great time.

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Brief History Of Gambling Laws In Canada

Now you know how we go about finding the best online casino Canada legal options, we’re going to tell you more about the history of local gambling laws and the current status of gambling in the country.

Between 1892 and 1969 there were no such things as legal Canadian casinos – in fact it was illegal to gamble on anything in Canada other than horseracing and charity lotteries and raffles. The Criminal Code of Canada stated that it was illegal to run a betting house or to be found in one. However, in 1969, the federal government decided to allow the 10 provinces to hold their own lotteries as this seemed like a good way to fund various local projects.

Next, in 1985, the federal government decided to devolve all control of gambling to the individual provinces; this means that each region can control the gambling laws in its province. But the Federal Criminal Code did not change, adding more confusion to the issue.

After the 1900s, bingo and casual raffles were allowed for charitable events only, and a decade later, horse races were legalized.

Canada’s first legal online casino,, launched all the way back in 2004. This was the starting point for the legal use of the services online casinos provide with the relevant provisos adhered to.

In 2012, British Columbia followed suit and launched a site that offers Poker, slots and table games to residents of British Columbia. However, no one from outside of the state is permitted access.

In the years that followed, more casinos started to appear as gambling operations started to become increasingly popular among local players. However, the Criminal Code still stands, although it’s now an archaic and outdated law, and difficult to apply to online ‘betting houses’ or online casinos without further clarification.

Federal And Local Gambling Laws

Federal and local gambling laws differ, and it’s important to understand how they impact local activities.

  • Gambling laws in the country come in two categories, First Nations Law, and the Provincial Law
  • Federal laws are designed to pass regulation of online gambling to each respective provincial or territorial government
  • Some local laws are more restrictive when compared to the federal law
  • The Ontario Gaming Law and the City Bans on Gaming are examples of these restrictions

The Provincial Gaming Authorities

Land-based and online casino Canada legal activities are regulated per province, and the following entities are responsible for ensuring local laws are followed:

  • Ontario – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
  • Alberta – Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
  • British Columbia – British Colombia Lottery Corporation (BCLC)
  • Manitoba – Liquor and Gaming Commission of Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
  • New Brunswick – New Brunswick Gaming Control
  • Nova Scotia – Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division Service of Nova Scotia
  • Quebec – Loto Quebec
  • New Foundland – Service NL
  • Prince Edward Island – Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission

Many of these provinces have legal land-based casinos that operate under their jurisdiction and are regulated by provincial law.

Differences Between Casino And Sports Betting Laws

Online casino Canada legal activities are governed by each province. However, the same laws that apply to online casinos don’t apply to sports betting. In August 2021, single-sports betting was legalized when lawmakers passed Bill C-218. This gives provinces the opportunity to regulate and tax wagering in the way they see fit.

Ontario is the first province to go ahead with offering legal sports betting. Many other provinces are planning to follow their example.

The legal casino or sports betting age also differs per province. In Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta the legal age is 18, while in all the other provinces you may only gamble or place sports bets if you’re over the age of 19.

Gambling Tax Laws In Canada

Canadians do not have to pay tax on any gambling winnings unless they are playing professionally. In this case, gambling is considered a business activity and taxed accordingly.

However, this is not the norm, and casual players do not have to declare wins. Just remember that if you earn interest on your winnings, you must legally declare this on a T5 form.

Understanding Offshore Operators

So, you’re probably wondering, then, where everyone else plays online, and the answer is, simply, offshore.

In fact, ‘offshore’ may be a bit of a misnomer since the majority of Canadian offshore casinos are located within the borders; but they technically fall under their own sovereign jurisdiction since they are Native reserves.

Kahnawake Mohawk Nation, for example, is located just outside of Montreal and in 1996 they set up the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, offering gaming licenses. This provides a loophole within the Canadian Criminal code that seems to allow many legal gaming sites to operate and Canadian players to play online freely.

All of the online casinos recommended here at are perfectly legal for Canadian players.

Who Regulates Offshore Legal Online Casinos in Canada?

Online casino Canada legal sites must be regulated and meet the rules set out by the Kahnawake Mohawk nation by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. 

As an Indian reservation and a sovereign legal entity, the Mohawk Commission is not bound by Canadian law. Therefore, it has the jurisdictional right to license and regulate offshore online gaming sites. To date, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has licensed over 50 online casinos.

The directives include:

  • Operators need to provide the Kahnawake Gaming Commission with all relevant information about the company. This includes data on its founders and shareholders.
  • Brands need to register an office within the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory First Nations reserve. Documents proving this are required.
  • Documents detailing the rules and regulations for holding games and payouts need to be submitted.
  • The software in use should be of the highest quality.
  • An independent audit of operations will need to be passed.
  • Large payout sums need to be guaranteed.
  • Proof needs to be given that players’ private data is protected and that the site has unmitigated integrity in terms of security.
  • Operators need to demonstrate how they will limit access to people who suffer from gambling addiction, as well as those under the legal age of 21 years.
  • Operators also need to offer detailed information on how their payment systems will run and provide evidence of technical support that is well-adjusted.

These regulations must be strictly adhered to at all times. Failure to do will result in the operator losing their license.

Summary Of Online Casino Canada Legal Pointers

Now that you’ve got a better idea of the legality of online casino gameplay for Canadian players, you can play with more peace of mind. In summation:

  • Canadians are not at any legal risk when they play real money or demo mode games at an online casino.
  • Canada’s Criminal Code does not view playing at online casinos as an illegal offence.
  • No Canadian citizen has ever been prosecuted in a court of law for playing at online casinos.
  • Online casinos are not permitted to provide their services for Canadians without a license. The only exception is if they are located offshore. And in this case, they will be licensed and regulated by a relevant body. The online casinos rated, reviewed, and recommended by our experts all adhere to the proper standards of operation.
  • Winnings aren’t taxable. You don’t have to give even a tiny percentage of your returns to anyone you don’t want to!

Legal Online Casino Canada FAQs

Are Online Casinos Legal In Canada?

Yes. Despite there being a lot of grey areas when it comes to gambling in Canada, legal Canadian online Casinos do exist. There are technically very few laws that relate to playing online, with many provinces never legislating either way, or others allowing several forms of online gambling. At the end of the day, it is not illegal as a player to visit an online Casino, so you’ll never be in trouble for doing so. What is illegal in some circumstances is the hosting of an online Casino, which is why so many of the legal sites exist offshore.

What is the legal gambling age in Canada?

You have to 19-years old to play at online casinos in most Canadians cities, provinces, and regions. The exceptions to this law are Alberta, Calgary, Manitoba, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec. Here, 18-year olds can legally play.

Is online gambling legal in Canada?

Online gambling in Canada is legal, but there are a few things you should be aware of. The law does not prohibit you from gambling at locally licensed or offshore online casinos and sportsbooks. However, it is illegal to operate an online casino without a license from one of the country’s official regulators.

This means you can play one of the provincial lotteries online and you can play your favourite slots, table games, card games, and live dealer games at a recommended Canadian online casino with peace of mind. The online gambling sites we recommend are licensed and regulated by some of the most trusted regulators in the world, such as the Malta Gaming Authority.

When was gambling legalized in Canada?

Canada’s gambling laws have evolved gradually over the past few decades. Before 1984, practically all forms of gambling were illegal, but that year saw the legalisation of certain forms of sports betting. In 1985, Canada’s provinces were granted the right to establish gaming regulators that could issue licenses and oversee gambling activities in those regions.

Those early laws were written before the arrival of online casinos in the mid-1990s. The country’s lawmakers responded by creating laws that prohibit operators from locating their servers within Canadian territory. The laws do not prevent players from accessing gambling services offered by offshore operators. In Spring 2021, the passing of C-218 legalised single-event online sports betting in Canada. We predict that the future will see the country’s gambling laws continue to evolve.

Can Canadian Players Gamble At Offshore Casinos?

Absolutely. Even though certain offshore gambling servers are in Kahnawake, which lies in Canadian territory, it’s legal for you to play there, or at any other internationally hosted sites too. Kahnawake Mohawks have jurisdiction over their territory and govern their own affairs, including gambling at online casinos.

Are There Any Online Casino Games That Are Illegal In Canada?

Whatever game you access at a licensed and regulated online casino that welcomes Canadians you’ll be able to play lawfully. This includes Baccarat, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Craps, Roulette, and many more.

What gambling laws in Canada should I be aware of?

There are several gambling laws in Canada that you should be aware of. For starters, the law prohibits online gambling operators from locating their servers within Canada. However, the law does not prohibit you from gambling at offshore online casinos or at sites run by the provincial gambling authorities, provided you have reached the legal gambling age.

The legal age for gambling in Canada depends on the type of activity and the provincial authority. In some provinces, the legal age is 18, and in others, it’s 19. You should also be aware that you will not be taxed on any gambling winnings you make under the existing gambling laws.

Is gambling at home illegal in Canada?

The legality of gambling at home in Canada depends on how you gamble. Current legislation does not prohibit you from gambling at sites licensed by provincial gambling authorities or from playing at offshore online casinos.

However, the law does prohibit you from offering online or offline gambling services to your friends, family, and neighbours if you do not have a valid license from your provincial gambling regulator. If you want to gamble at home in Canada, the safest way to do it without falling afoul of the law is to play at recommended licensed and regulated online casinos.

Is sports betting legal in Canada?

The short answer is, yes, sports betting is legal in Canada. Until Spring 2021, the laws around sports betting in Canada were a little murky. Before the passing of C-218, you could only bet parlays at licensed sportsbooks in the country.

C-218 legalised single-event sports betting in Canada, giving operators the green light to offer betting products to punters. That said, the law never prevented Canadians from betting on sports at offshore online sportsbooks. Use our recommendations to find online sports betting brands that you can trust. Our top sites are licensed, regulated, secure, and powered by best-quality software.

Is online poker legal in Canada?

You can play online Poker in Canada without fear of breaking the law. Canada’s gambling laws do not prohibit players from playing real-money or free Poker games at offshore online casinos and Poker rooms. You can also play online Poker at sites operated by the provincial gambling agencies of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec. If you live in Ontario, you can play Video Poker games via OLG.

However, operators in Canada who do not have a license from the relevant provincial gambling regulator may not offer online Poker games to players. In terms of Canadian laws, unlicensed online Poker operators are breaking the law, and not players.

Are Online Casinos Always Open?

If there is a Canadian-friendly online casino that has closing hours, we have never heard of it! These sites are always available, whenever you’re in the mood for a game. If a site is down, it will only be temporarily, and this will usually be because they’re doing maintenance or have run into server issues. If you stick to our recommended online casinos, this will never be an issue.

What Casino Sites Are Good for Beginners?

The sites we recommend generally cater to players of all levels of experience, so you won’t be thrown into the deep end. Games are provided in real money and Demo mode and there’s a wide selection of titles to choose from.

What's In Store in the Future?

No one is really sure what the future holds for legal Canadian online Casinos, as the government seems to be fairly hesitant in changing the criminal code from how it stands currently. Certainly legal sites can be useful in pumping money into the economy and the arguments for regulation and legalisation are strong. Most likely Canada will eventually come up with a liberal form of regulation whereby online Casinos are regulated but can be fully legal so long as they stick to certain restrictions and pay what is likely to be a fairly high amount in taxes.

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