Canadian Online Casinos
There are many real-money casino options available to Canadians, both from within Canada and from overseas. In this article I discuss the legality of these games, how you can deposit to the sites and how to ensure that your online gaming is both safe and enjoyable.
Legal Environment for Online Casinos
The Canadian gambling laws were changed in 1969 and then 1985 – and so you will not find any reference to the internet gambling at all. The more recent statute does mention gambling using a computer – though this has never been tested in court. The power over gambling legislation has been devolved to the provinces. Some of these (including Quebec and British Columbia) have created their own online gambling portals.
As long as the gambling site operator is not located within Canada, gambling online is considered legal. Operators from all around the world offer their real money casino games to Canadians. When elections come around the topic of new online gambling legislation rears its head – though no real moves have been made to draft any new laws in recent decades.
The sovereign nation of Kahnawake is an Indian reservation located within Canada’s borders. This tribe license online casinos (including many of the biggest names offering real money games to USA players such as Bovada, and the Canadian-friendly Bodog brand). They also host servers for casino sites, allowing them to be close to the population centers. With the big international brands open to Canadian players, there is little need to use the smaller ’unknown’ offshore casinos licensed here – or those out in the Caribbean or in Central America.
One gambling law which affects Canadians, even though it is not strictly speaking within its jurisdiction, is the US ‘UIGEA’ of 2006. This targets banks (not individuals) and makes transacting with casinos illegal. Many Canadian banks which have a US presence will sometimes block credit card transactions for Canadians – presumably for fear of knock-on effects on their US business.
Additional Online Gambling Options
As well as real money online casinos, Canadians can enjoy a range of other gambling types online. The government approved betting companies such as ‘Sports Select’ offer the option of sports betting online via provincial sportsbooks and lottery outlets. Betting on individual matches is not allowed, with a minimum of 2 matches required in a parlay format (up to 12 matches are possible). The focus on NHL as well as the betting type restrictions make this system limited in comparison with the range of bets (and sports) available at the big international sports betting sites.
Provincial portals also offer poker (with limited liquidity), lottery type games and casino games.
Internationally, all of the major poker sites welcome Canadian players. Once you add the bingo sites and casinos to this list you’ll see that Canada has what is probably the biggest choice of options of any country when it comes to gambling online.
Real Money Casino Payments in Canada
You’ll find a wide range of deposit options available at the international sites. The most popular option of all is a credit card deposit, with the majority of sites offering both Visa and MasterCard. These do get blocked sometimes, due to overspill effects from those US gambling laws. Interac is a popular alternative, and is both reliable and cheap. Interac has the added advantage that you do not need to share your credit card information directly with a casino. Several of the major eWallet services used internationally (including PayPal and Neteller) are not available for Canadian gambling transactions. Between Interac, credit cards (including prepaid), Bitcoin and money transfers (for example Western Union) – you should have no problem getting your money on board.
Choosing a Reputable Canadian Online Casino
With such a wide choice of the biggest and most reputable brands – Canadians are in a great position to choose quality sites to play at. There are 3 things I recommend you look out for before signing up, with a 4th (Interact deposits) a great sign that a casino welcomes Canadian players!
First, any real money casino should be licensed in a known gambling jurisdiction. The key reputable licensing authorities are the European ones including Gibraltar, Malta, Alderney and the Isle of Man. A UK license is a good sign (though this does not apply directly to Canada the UK has strict standards). Casinos licensed by Kahnawake, Antigua or the Netherlands Antilles are not generally subject to the same strict oversight as the European licensed operators – though many of them are still reputable.
Second, you should look for evidence that the deal fairness and advertised ‘return to player’ percentages have been tested by a reputable 3rd party. All honest casinos will include links to the companies which have verified their games. Finally, make sure there are no major scandals or payment issues.
You can see the reviews here at OnlineCasinosRealMoney.com for an overview of some of the best real money casinos for Canadian players!