When it comes to gaming in Canada, legal online casinos are a topic that still generates some confusion among players. Considering that the country’s laws haven’t exactly kept up with the rapid growth of the iGaming industry, this is hardly surprising. Future legislation may expand online gambling permissions which would help to boost the economy, but at this stage no one is sure about what’s going to happen.
We’re here to help you make sense of the legality around Canadians playing casino games online. Now, because you’re probably champing at the bit, we can sum it up by saying that legal gaming sites do exist, and that it is not illegal for Canadian players of legal age to gamble at them. That said, there are some laws that must be followed by operators to ensure that their sites are not illegal. Let’s unpack this.
Recommending the best online casinos in Canada is a big part of what we do, and we wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t a need for it. The number of Canadian players who play online is huge, and, thankfully, the country’s current gambling laws do not make criminals of them.
The laws do not say anything about playing at gaming sites, whether they are licensed or not. Most players have the sense to play at sites that are licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission or by a foreign jurisdiction. Although playing at an unlicensed site is not illegal, it is foolish.
Legal online casinos licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and by other jurisdictions are regulated. This means the games are tested for fairness, the operators have the funds to cover operating costs and to honour players’ winnings, the sites are encrypted, and they are powered by top-quality software. The brands we recommend are licensed, so you know you can trust them.
Unlicensed sites are not regulated, so there is no guarantee that they offer you fair play, or that they have any intention of honouring players’ winnings. The software that powers those sites, as well as the security they use, is also questionable.
What Canada’s gambling laws do make clear is that the servers of legal online casinos cannot be based in the country. The operators of gaming sites may be based in the country, but their servers must be based in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake in Quebec, or they must be in an offshore location such as the island of Malta. The law also does not exclude offshore operators from offering gambling services to Canadians.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in 1996, following the Mohawk Council’s passing of the territory’s gaming law. At first, the commission focused on land-based gaming and betting. Its reach was extended to include iGaming in 1999.
The commission now licenses and regulates the best online casinos in Canada, as well as online Poker rooms, and sportsbooks. More than 50 operators of approximately 250 gaming sites hold licenses issued by the commission.
Not every offshore iGaming jurisdiction is trustworthy, but you can trust those that license the legal online casinos that we recommend for Canadian players. The Malta Gaming Authority, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, the UK Gambling Commission, and the Curaçao Gaming Control Board are among the jurisdictions that we are happy to recommend.
In addition to assessing the fairness of game results as well as other aspects of the sites they license, they also offer assistance to players who have grievances with any of those casinos. As well as governmental authorities, we try to recommend establishments that are also endorsed by independent authorities such as eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA). This gives you even more proof of their safety and fairness.
Among Canada’s legal online casinos are those operated by several of the country’s lottery operators. Two notable examples include Loto-Quebec and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). The BCLC is proving that it is not unaware of what attracts players to the best online casinos in Canada, and so it is constantly improving the quality of its offering. The operator made headlines when it signed content deals with the renowned software providers NetEnt and Lightning Box Games.
Tax is another hot topic when it comes to legal online casinos. One of the biggest concerns of players is that they will need to pay tax on their winnings.
According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), gambling winnings are not taxable, so you are under obligation to report your payouts or jackpots. There is one exception, and that is if you are a professional gambler. If playing Blackjack, Poker, or other games is how you pay your bills, you may need to report your winnings because they are your income.
You do not need to waste precious hours hunting for legal online casinos that accept Canadian players. That is our job, and we are happy to share the results with you. The sites we recommend are licensed, secure, and powered by premium-quality software. Use our reviews to find brands that you can trust. If you choose from our recommendations you can be sure that the operators are legal, safe, fair and reliable – so you’re free to pick the sites that are most suited to your playing preferences.
For example, if you want to use a specific banking method, you can play at any of our reviewed establishments which offer that system and know that all standards of security and fairness will be high. You won’t have to compromise and register at a website that doesn’t offer your banking method of choice, just to be sure that it is a trustworthy and legitimate online casino.
As well as listing legal online casinos that are regulated and licensed, we only ever showcase sites that have a good reputation amongst industry insiders and players alike. Whether they are newly launched or have been around for some time, we take a close look at what others have said.
We also look at the game selection, bonuses offered, and payout rates. Trust us to take the headache out of finding a legal online gambling destination in Canada – and even making the process fun!