Canada is a tricky country when it comes to betting online at casino sites. By and large, online gambling is widely considered to be legal in Canada, but there are more than a few grey areas where the laws aren’t quite as nicely sketched out as the gambling community would have you believe. Breaking down the strange rules of this country is a must if you wish to play at Canadian online casinos. So, how do Canadian betting laws work?
Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada?
There isn’t one Canadian gambling law that states explicitly that only Canadian licensed casinos can operate inside the country. Nor are there laws which mention anything about Canadians playing at offshore casinos, or those foreign casinos being able to offer their services to players in Canada. Instead, gambling laws are tied to each province. This grey area, as you might imagine, causes quite a bit of confusion.
In Canada, each province has its own laws on gambling. Gambling laws are generally accepting of online casinos offering their services to Canadian players, provided they are physically based or licensing out of a given province. For instance, casinos wishing to provide services to players in Ontario need to be licensed out of that province, and so on.
To further add to the confusion, Native American tribes have their own laws regarding gambling, and they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the provinces of the country. This is the case with Kahnawake, which is home to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, a licensing authority which offers licenses to many leading casinos across the globe.
Moreover, operators in one province may offer their services to players in another if there is an intra-province agreement in place between the gambling commissions. It all makes for very difficult reading.
What does this all mean for players at so-called Canadian online casinos, though? There is light at the end of the tunnel, and to break apart just what is or isn’t going to be permitted, we need to look at the two types of casinos available, the so-called Canadian ones, and the foreign sites, more commonly known as offshore casinos.
Canadian Online Casinos
As we have established, there is no such thing as “national” Canadian online casinos. Instead, there are just online casinos which have permission to offer their services to Canadian players inside a province, or several provinces. When referring to Canadian casinos, we are talking about any site which provides their services to their players, and that includes foreign domains. As for actual, province-licensed sites, they are 100% legal and will utilise the Canadian dollar currency as well as offer gameplay in both French and Canadian.
If you were, for instance, residing in Ontario and playing at an online casino licensed out of Ontario, you would have no problems. However, if you were based in Quebec and wanted to play at an Ontario licensed casino, you would, in theory, be playing at an offshore casino.
Offshore Casino Sites for Canadian Players
Offshore casinos can best be used to describe any online casino (licensed or otherwise) which accepts players from a Canadian province that they aren’t allowed to. These can include casinos which are licensed out of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar, as far away as Curacao, or even closer to home, such as those registered out of Kahnawake.
Foreign casinos such as these will also likely offer up the Canadian dollar as a currency option, and in many cases, they will offer French as a language. Many of these sites may even target Canadian players specifically, and there is a good reason for that. There is not currently any law or punishment in place which prohibits Canadians from trying their luck at offshore casinos.
Residents of Canada are not required to use VPNs (virtual private networks) to access foreign casinos, or even Canadian casinos in other provinces. The ISPs (internet service providers) in the country do not block access to such sites, so, in theory, Canadians can play at any casino in the world.
Where they may encounter some difficulty, though, is banking. Several laws have been put into place to try and limit the movement of money from Canadian banks to offshore casinos. Even this, though, has had a limited effect.
Is Anything Likely to Change in the Future?
At this moment in time, the situation regarding Canadian gambling law is not likely to change. The gambling authorities are unlikely to prosecute any operator who offers their services to Canadians as this would open an unwanted can of worms. For example, if they were to punish casinos based out of the United Kingdom for accepting Canadian players as an “offshore casino”, they would also have to punish Kahnawake licensed casinos, even though they are based in Canada, as they accept players in other provinces. Canada will simply not go down this road.
What may happen in the future is that the country drafts together a national gambling laws, once which imposes its will upon all the provinces. This would allow Canadian gambling authorities to prevent their citizens from accessing any site not licensed out of “somewhere” in Canada. However, again, offshore casinos could just acquire Kahnawake licenses to get around that (as many of them currently have), so this is unlikely to happen either.
Top Canadian Casino Sites
It doesn’t really matter at this moment in time whether you wish to play at a provincial Canadian casino, or an offshore or foreign one. Players in Canada are free to do as they choose without punishment. This means that virtually any top casino site in the world is open and available for Canadian players to try their luck at.
However, some casino sites are arguably better than others at offering services which are tailor-made for Canadian players. Some of these notable online casinos can be found here, and they include sites such as Paradise Casino, Cleopatra, Slots Million Casino, Karamba, Video Slots Casino, Casino.com, Slots Heaven, BetWay, FruityCasa, BGO Casino, and many more.