Complete Gambling Guide For Canada

When gambling in any jurisdiction it is important to know what is allowed and what is not. Familiarizing yourself with the laws and what types of gambling can be found is a way to make sure that you find all the best forms of entertainment. Over and above finding all means of entertainment, finding what suits your needs is made so much easier.

Gambling is no stranger to Canada and many provinces are fully equipped to handle the gambling demand of their residents and visitors. Additionally, gambling has been practised for a long time in the country and can be different in many provinces. Our dedicated team has put together a comprehensive guide on gambling in Canada that is sure to help you decide what to play, where to play and most importantly, what and where it is safe to play as well. We have you covered when it comes to the laws, tax obligations and even a bit of the history of gambling, it's always good to know how the industry has grown to what it is today.

Overview of Legal Gambling in Canada

Overview of Legal Gambling in CanadaFor many Canadians, gambling has become a favorite pastime. Gambling in its many forms offers Canadians excitement and hours of fun, whether it is at an online casino or a land-based casino. There are many options available to the country’s residents and the laws around gambling have come a long way. The Canadian gambling industry is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world and casinos in the different regions usually come with other perks too.

When it comes to land-based casinos, many of them have hotels and other amenities that go hand-in-hand with the gaming experience. Canada is well-known for its natural beauty and its ability to blend the old and the new world into a unique experience. Aside from the sights, gambling is taken seriously and problem gambling even more so. The laws governing gambling in the country are strict and the responsibility is given to individual provinces to make sure that a safe and fun gambling culture is upheld.

Canadian Gambling Industry Regulation

While all issues related to gambling are reported to the federal government, according to the laws each province is mandated to set their own rules when it comes to what is legal and what is not. The country has set up a system where each province has its own provincial gaming authority that oversees gaming in its different forms across Canada. Here are the regulatory bodies that oversee each province in Canada:

Alberta – Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
Ontario – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
British Columbia – British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC)
Newfoundland – Service NL
Manitoba – Liquor and Gaming Commission of Manitoba
New Brunswick – New Brunswick Gaming Control
Nova Scotia – Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division Service of Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island – Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission
Quebec – Lotto Quebec
Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake - Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Nunavut Territory - Community and Government Services: Consumer Affairs
Yukon Territory – Department of Community Service: Professional Licensing & Regulatory Affairs

Modern Gambling Laws in Canada

The way that gambling regulations have been set up in the country is very favorable for players and the different regions in the country. Giving each province the freedom to regulate their individual industries and also allowing players the freedom to choose where they gamble. As we know, each province is governed by its specific regulations pertaining to gambling activities. So, while one province may allow certain games, others may not.

Video Lottery terminals are popular in Canada and most provinces have legalized them as a means to generate revenue for the local governments and charities. Casino gambling as well as betting on horse racing are common and legalized forms of gambling in many of the country’s regions. The gaming industry was able to expand after changes to the criminal code were made in 1970. However, gambling laws and regulations have always been less strict than those found in other parts of the world like the U.S.

Canadians have always demanded their freedom when it comes to gaming in general, thus bringing about laws that favor its population. While online gambling is commonly referred to as illegal gambling, there are no specific laws that state that it is an unlawful act. While rules between provinces differ, gambling at an online casino is legal across the country. The Criminal Code states it is illegal for Canadian companies to set up online gambling platforms in the country, but no laws state that offshore companies are not allowed to offer their services to Canadian players.

The History of Gambling In Canada

When gambling was first officially legalized in the country, it did take a while for the industry to gain momentum. The first land-based casino was built in 1989, long after all the Canadian provinces were granted oversight in their regions. For the most part, gambling has always been present in Canada, a common game that has been cited when speaking about gambling was a game played with sticks and bones even before playing cards found its way to the Great White North.

The Canadia Criminal code only came about in the late 1800s and adjusted to fit the needs of all Canadians as the years went on. The decision to give each province authority on gambling regulation came when the Criminal Code was adjusted in 1970. Which has been the status quo for many years, a regulated gaming market that allows provinces and players the freedom to choose how they enjoy gambling.

Canadian Player InformationPlayer Information

The majority of Canadians do see online gambling as a positive and do not consider it to be any threat to the country’s market and economy. As previously mentioned the gambling regulations and climate is extremely favorable for residents and visitors. Players from countries that have stricter gambling have even relocated to take advantage of what Canada’s gambling regulations have to offer. This favorability is one of the main reasons why the popularity of online poker and online casino gambling has grown in the country while other countries fight to keep steer their players away from these online gambling resources.

Even though international online casinos are not seen as a threat, some gambling jurisdictions have made amendments to their laws to allow iGaming as well. Offering players online casino games from a local operator. Which in no way makes international online casinos illegal. All the gaming options are allowed to be played by individuals between the age of 18 to 21 or older, the specific age would be stipulated by the specific province a player chooses to gamble in.

Laws for Off-Shore Sites

If you have gotten this far in our guide, then we are sure that you know that Canadians are allowed to gamble at international online casinos. There is a blanket restriction that states that a Canadian operator is not allowed to offer online casino platforms to Canadian players. However, as we also know by now, each province has the freedom to adjust gambling laws as they see fit.

Some provinces have gone through the legal process of adjusting their laws by making legislative amendments to allow for what is known as iGaming. In some cases, these platforms have been integrated into the local online Lottery platforms to make it easier for players to gain access. Players from these provinces still have the option of playing online at an international online casino, the local offerings are just an additional option.

Canadian Gambling Statistics

When it comes to gambling and what and how money is spent on it in Canada, the numbers include the majority of the population. The market value for the online casino industry offshore is estimated to be around $4 billion a year. With an estimated total of 19.3 million gamblers in Canada, the country ranks number 8 for the largest online casino market in the world. Even though the figures are set high for online casino gaming, this pales in comparison to what players spend at their local casinos. An estimate of $17 billion a year.

Online sports betting is the most popular betting type among men in Canada as well as classic table games at the local casino. Furthermore, bingo is a big crowd pleaser for women in the country. Additionally, 72% of online casino players enjoy slots and 59% of players enjoy online poker and other table games. The statistics don’t always include figures from gambling for charitable causes and other forms. The estimated total of Canadian gamblers comes in at 75%-85% of the total population.

Playing in Canadian Dollars

The gambling industry has and continues to grow every year. With new strategies in different provinces to garner even more support for the local gambling industries. This makes gambling in the local currency fairly easy. However, when looking at international online casinos, it must be difficult right? Wrong, with so many online casinos available to Canadian players, many include Canadian dollars as one of the main denominations they accept. This also goes to show the type of strength the market has in the international online casino market. In well developed online casinos, players should be able to change the language or location settings to Canada and all betting amounts, welcome bonuses and promotions are all reflected in CA$. There is no reason for Canadian players to complete any currency conversions making it so much easier for them to play the games they love most conveniently.

Deposits and Withdrawals at Online Casinos

Given that the gambling laws allow for gaming at online casinos, financial institutions have made it easier for players to transact on these websites as well. Many, if not all, Canadian banks offer the country’s players complete freedom to deposit and withdraw from online casinos with ease and in the method of their choice, debit card, credit card or even a direct bank transfer. If players don’t trust the conventional methods, there are prepaid cards and e-wallets available as well as specialized payment methods solely available to Canadian residents with a Canadian bank account.

Tax Laws for Gambling Winnings

As a general rule, no taxes will need to be paid when gambling in Canada. However, this does come with some conditions. If a player is casually enjoying gambling then there are no taxes to be paid. If players earn interest on their winnings then these winnings need to be declared and taxed. Finally, if the gambler in question is a professional gambler and makes a living off gambling winnings then this would need to be declared and the player will get taxed. In the eyes of Canadian law, gambling is not a constant stream of income and it would not be fair to tax someone if they are enjoying a recreational activity and this is especially the case when it comes to local lotteries.

Popular Online Casino Games in Canada

While the vast majority of Canadian residents might enjoy gambling activities, different players have different interests or games that they enjoy. As such, online and land-based operators in Canada have done a great job of ensuring that Canadian players are given many options. From traditional card and table games to lucrative progressive jackpot slots and speciality games, there is something for everyone. Below are some of the most commonly played games in Canada:

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Online Poker

Popular Roulette variations among Canadian players are European, American, French, and Mini. Learn how to play roulette with our guide and find the best casinos.

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Who doesn’t love slots? They are packed with exciting bonus features such as free spins and bonus rounds. You can always choose to play for free or with real money.

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Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpots are one of the most popular games across the world. The jackpot increases in value every second and can go as high as millions. 

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Blackjack is a classic, well-loved casino game that comes in many different variations. Whether you like to play for free or real money, there’s always something for you to enjoy.

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Popular Roulette variations among Canadian players are European, American, French, and Mini. Learn how to play roulette with our guide and find the best casinos.

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Live Dealer

Enjoy the real casino atmosphere in the comfort of your home. You’ll experience the thrill of playing with real dealers and can access the most popular live casino games all in one place.

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Sports Betting

Place real money bets on your favorite sports, from football to basketball. Find out more about the best sports betting sites in Canada.

Safe and Secure Canadian online Casino GamingSafe and Secure Canadian online Casino Gaming

Even though there is a huge market for online casino gaming offshore in the country, playing at one of these online establishments does come with some risks. Players must ensure that they are gambling with a reputable online casino, governed by one of the international regulatory bodies. There is constantly information being supplied to online gamblers in the different regions of Canada to help gamblers identify the criteria that makes an online casino safe and reputable.

While identifying if the online casino is regulated with the correct licenses and from a reputable source is the most important thing, it's not the only thing. finding out if the online casino regularly does audits on its platform and games is another aspect that needs to be confirmed. Third-party auditors make sure that all games are running smoothly and making sure they are random and fair.

The Safety of Gaming Credits and Funds

Any online casino that is fully licensed by one of the leading international gaming authorities can be fully trusted. These industry leaders make sure that all gambling practises are kept to a high standard and if online casinos do not comply with these standards, licenses are under threat to be revoked. Some of the big names to look out for are the Malta Gaming Authority, UK Gambling Commission, Curaçao eGaming or The Alderney Gambling Control Commission

Additionally, third-party auditors also ensure that the platform is run smoothly, safely and fairly. So, it's not only the games on the online casino that go under review but the platform itself. The payment systems, payment methods and many other aspects leading to a successfully run online casino.

Fair Play at Online Casinos

As previously mentioned, when games are developed they are sent to a third-party, or the third-party is called in, to test these games to make sure that they are safe, random and fair. These companies put online casino games through rigorous testing using cutting-edge technology to ensure that the end product is worth playing and that the player stands a chance of winning.

In many cases, these auditors would leave a stamp or a badge on the specific online casino to show their approval. So, this makes it easier to find out whether the games are fair and the website is secure. Some of the main international auditors are the UK Gambling Commission, which also provides gaming licenses to online casinos, eCOGRA, one of the most trusted names and Technical Systems Testing (TST). These are the watchdogs of the online gaming industry and the names that you should be looking out for when choosing an online casino.

Complaints and Concerns

So, if the online casino is based offshore, what happens if something goes wrong? A really good question and probably one of the main reasons why many countries have outlawed the engagement of online casinos in their countries. However, given that it makes up such a big part of the Canadian gamers’ culture, Canada has seen to it to provide its people with some sort of protection along with other ways to clear up any discrepancies. First of all, players can get in touch with the Canadian Gaming Association, which is made up of provincial Canadian regulators that hear you out and take action on your behalf or at least send you in the right direction.

Additionally, players can also contact the auditor that the online casino has received its approval from, which will probably be eCOGRA. Finally, all the information down to the address for the licensing authority is provided on the website, so contacting the regulatory authority directly could also be used as a last resort. Major issues that require major steps as the ones mentioned, don’t happen often but know that there is recourse if anything goes wrong and the online casino cannot fix it themselves.

Canadian Responsible Gaming Resources

Even with a fairly laid-back approach to gambling in the country, responsible and problem gambling is taken very seriously. There are tons of resources related to gambling responsibly in Canada. These include Gamblers Anonymous as well as the Canadian Gaming Association. If you or someone you know presents with signs of problem gambling get into contact with one of these resources as soon as possible. More information can be found here:

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