Is online gambling legal in Canada?
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 in the past year some states have started to allow some form or another of gambling. Many cynics would argue that the reason for the shutdown was in order that they might 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.
Are There Really Such Things As Legal Canadian Online Casinos?
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 off shore.
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.
Finding a Legal Canadian Online Casino
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 GamblingInsider.ca. We have done the legwork to make sure that you can play at the best legal Casinos without the risk of unsafe websites or disappointing games.
When looking for a great legal place to play 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 here at GamblingInsider.ca and always ensure you know the answers to these important questions:
Does This Casino Have a Good Reputation?
It’s important to ask this about any site you’re thinking about playing at, as word of mouth and, of course, Internet reviews are a great way of finding out if a brand is a legal, safe and enjoyable place to play. You might decide that, for some of the bigger household names, such as Betway or 888, you can already trust their reputation; however there are many perfectly safe and legal options that aren’t quite so well known, and doing a little digging around can help you to discover the best Canadian online Casinos.
An online Casino that is operated by a company that is publicly traded and displays gaming licences and auditing certificates can usually be trusted as reputable and legal. If it is running any underhand operations then a quick Google of its name should bring up any red flags
As well as checking out our list of top recommended options, many players find it useful to browse online forums to discover what real players think. Although gambling forums can be a great source of information, everything you do read should be taken with a pinch of salt, as players rarely use them to talk about the great aspects, only their gripes and grumbles, so general views are a little skewed.
Are Players From My Country Welcome?
As gambling laws vary from location to location, many online Casinos will be legal in one country and illegal or unregulated in another. It is crucial that you ensure that it is legal to play in your country before doing so. Although you are unlikely to face any issues gaming at a site that is illegally operating in your location, if site is found out, it might close down in your area without warning, potentially deactivating your account and all fund associated with it.
To protect yourself and your winnings from being caught out like this it is crucial that you only gamble at a legal site.
In Canada it is illegal for online Casinos to operate within Canada; however, it is perfectly legal for local players to enjoy gambling at any site that is located offshore. There are also several local government-run legal online Casinos that were launched in order to generate regional funding.
Latest Player Reviews
How We Pick the Best Canadian Legal Online Casinos
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 here at GamblingInsider.ca 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.
It’s not difficult to find some great legal online Casinos but it’s helpful to know what you’re looking for. Read our top tips below, or check out our reviews for a list of the best legal online places to play right now.
Who Regulates Legal Canadian Online Casinos?
Legal Canadian online Casinos must be regulated and must meet the rules set out by the Kahnawake Mohawk nation via the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
The Criminal Code
Between 1892 and 1969 there were no such things as legal Canadian Casinos – in fact it was illegal to gamble on anything in Canada at that time, other than horseracing and charity lotteries and raffles. 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 at this point did not change, adding more confusion to the issue.
The Criminal Code of Canada states that it is illegal to run a betting house or to be found in one; however, as an archaic and out dated law, it is difficult to apply this to online ‘betting houses’ or online Casinos without further clarification.
In 2012 British Columbia launched the first fully legal Canadian online Casino in the whole of North America. The site offers both Poker and slots and table games to residents of British Columbia, but no one from outside of the state is permitted access.
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 GamblingInsider.ca are perfectly legal for Canadian players.
Legal Online Casino FAQs
Are Online Casinos Legal In Canada?
Yes. Technically speaking, Canada has very few laws related to playing online. Most provinces have never legislated either way and there are some that explicitly allow certain online gambling. It’s not illegal for you to play at online casinos in Canada.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Play At An Online Casino 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.
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.