If you want to bet online for real money, the issue of legal casino sites often crops up. That's why we've created this 2018 legal guide for players. The topic of legal online gambling in Canada is something that confusing quite a lot of people. This is still a slightly "grey" area because it's a complicated subject that involves the federal and provincial governments, and native claims.
Gambling has always been popular in Canada and in our guide we provide you with all the information you need. This includes legislation, online casino choices, and more. Find all the latest happening on the legal status of online casinos in Canada. Check back each week for updates.
A Brief History of Gambling in Canada
Gambling in Canada has been around since the time of the natives. In 1497 playing cards were introduced and this brought about early versions of poker and blackjack. In the late 1800's gambling came under scrutiny by the government who wanted to regulate and limit it. In 1892, the Canadian Criminal Code was enacted and included statutes permitting gambling. That part of the Criminal Code was amended in 1910 to allow pari-mutuel betting for horse racing, and other games of chance were allowed for charitable and religious purposes. Citizens demanded their freedom to play games at legal casinos and by 1970 the government decided to leave the gambling decisions up to the individual provinces. This was done in an amendment to the Criminal Code again. The first land based casino in Canada was built in 1989 in Winnipeg, with more following in Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan. In addition to land based casinos and horse tracks, many provinces approved the installation of video lottery terminals, which generate revenue for the governments. Today the decisions about online casino gaming are left to Canadians themselves with the provinces controlling what happens within their borders.
The Best Legal Casino Sites For Canada 2018
Play Your Favorite Online Games For Real Money
It is not illegal to play online casino games in Canada. It is however illegal to operate an online casino from Canada. Most sites are offshore establishments that are perfectly legal. Many have their servers based on a native reserve such as Kahnawake, or elsewhere which means they are technically operating from outside of Canada.
Whether you are interested in playing live poker or playing your favorite slots games online, you are free to do so. Canada has in fact gained a reputation as being friendly to gamblers and this in turn has led to a lot of international casinos moving to Canada over the past number of years.
Finding The Best Casinos That Are Legal
With so much choice out there, it is important that you only play at legal casino and those that are properly regulated. Our expert casino reviews will help you to do just this. They all offer secure wagering for real money and are regulated through international gaming commissions. This means you are guaranteed, honest, reputable, and trustworthy sites for your hard earned cash. You can make deposits and withdrawals without having to worry about currency conversions either because the sites we recommend allow CAD.
On top of this, we also make sure the casinos we review have excellent software available in download and no download instant play options, superb graphics, advanced gameplay, high payouts and the best bonus offers available to Canadian players. We have a section of our site dedicated to no deposit offers and free spins so be sure to check these out too. Most of the top sites also offer mobile gaming and the games can be enjoyed on mobile and tablet devices such as the iPhone or iPad. Don't forget, a lot of legal casinos will allow to play the games for free so you can try them out first before making a real money deposit.
Playing At Provincially Legalized Casinos Online
Over the past number of years, certain provinces have decided to introduce their own provincial casino sites. British Columbia has PlayNow where residents of BC can play real money casino games, bingo, lottery, sports betting, and poker. Quebec also has their own website called EspaceJeux and Ontario has Play OLG. If you want to play at any of the provincially run internet casinos, you have to be a resident in that province. Online gambling per province will vary. Each province has their own gambling laws and while some allow players to place real money bets at 18, others don't allow it till a person turns 19. You can find out more by visiting our Ontario, BC, and Quebec online casino pages.
Legalized Casino Sports Betting and Poker
Online sports betting and poker are very popular in Canada. Sports betting has been legal for many years now but there is a downfall to this. Canadian residents are only allowed to make parlay bets. What this means is that they can only place bets on the outcome of three or more events. This decreases the odds of winning greatly. If players want to place single bets, they have to do so through international offshore betting sites. There is a bill in the senate at the moment called the C290 and if passed this will amend the Criminal Code to allow wagering on single sporting events. This bill has been debated in the Senate since 2012.
Poker is available through the Canadian Poker Network (CPN) which is operated by Spielgo G2 but the only sites authorized to operate within Canadian provinces are EspaceJeux, PlayNow, and Play OLG. The problem with this the small network size. This is why Canadians often prefer to play at international online poker sites that allow players from Canada.
Legal Online Casino Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I gamble legally at an international online casino? Yes you can. There are no laws that specifically prohibit Canadians from using international online casino sites. Many of the offshore brands allow you to place real money wagers on games like poker, blackjack, video slots and more.
- Can I legally deposit and withdraw money from an online casino? Yes you can. There are numerous deposit and withdrawal options available including Instadebit and e-check which are both very popular in Canada.
- Can I place wagers in CAD? A lot of the top rated casinos will allow you to deposit and withdraw in CAD. This means that you don't have to worry about exchange fees or rates. In addition to this, some of the larger international casinos offer game play in CAD too. Check our casino reviews for more information. Link to casino reviews here <
- How do I know my funds are safe? You should look for casinos that are properly licensed. This ensures that site is legitimate. In addition to this, you should look for certification seals and banners from the likes of eCOGRA which shows that the casino is deemed responsible and trustworthy. The casino RNGs are regularly audited so you will have peace of mind.
- Is fair play guaranteed? Legal casinos will be properly licensed and use encryption software and Random Number Generators to ensure customer safety. Fair play is also assured and all protections must be in place for these gambling establishments to maintain their licenses.
- What can I do if I suspect unfair games? If you are suspicious about any of the games you can contact the Canadian Gaming Association and their local governments. Players can also contact eCOGRA or the licensing entity for any site that they suspect of unfair activity.
Legal Canadian Casinos: Things to Remember
- Canadian citizens are not at any legal risk by gambling online. The Criminal Code of Canada does not make it illegal to gambling online.
- no charges have ever been brought against those taking part in online gambling in Canada. Servers hosting online casinos and poker rooms from Indian reservations was deemed to be illegal by the Attorney General but no charges were filed and the serves continue to operate.
- Sports betting is only available using parlay bets of three or more matches. The C290 bill which will change this and allow single event bets has been caught up in the senate since 2012.
- Online gambling sites can operate legally once they are based outside of Canada<
- The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is regarded as a sovereign nation in its own right, and is therefore not governed by Canadian laws making gambling sites licensed by them legal.
- Legal provincial online gambling sites within Canadian borders are PlayNow for residents of British Columbia, Play OLG for residents of Ontario, and EspaceJeux for residents from Quebec.
- Canadian vs U.S. Law In Canada, provincial governments can allow and license online casinos but in U.S. states are not allow to run online gambling websites.
- Taxes The tax laws in place do not require to pay tax on any gambling winnings unless they are deemed to be gained through a business orientated transaction. Taxes are applied to professional poker players.
- There are no laws prohibiting Canadian players from accessing and using online poker sites that are located outside Canada.
- Our site only recommends legal casinos that Canadians can play at so there is no risk to you.