Published on 19/11/2020
Canada is a beautiful and diverse country rich in nature, history, and culture. The same goes for its gambling scene as well. There are a large number of brick and mortar casinos, along with provincial-owned online sites for players to use. Even so, while online gambling is perfectly legal, there are some restrictions that players need to know. But first, let’s take a look at Canada’s gambling history since its inception.
The history of Canada’s gambling dates back to 1892 when there was Canada’s Criminal Code that sort of tolerated gambling. In 1910, the introduction of pari-mutuel betting led to more casinos being formed as the law allowed the house to take a cut in bets made in a pool. The system is still being used to date in horse racing and dog racing. Winnipeg was home to the first casino in Canada which was opened in 1989. Online casinos came in later in the 90s and here is when online gambling laws became intertwined.
The laws allowed the provincial government or a partnership with the provincial government, to offer online gambling. However, this meant that no Canadian citizen was allowed to own or operate a betting shop independently. It was something that spurred the formation of offshore gambling sites with jurisdictions overseas. Playing at any online casinos is legal in Canada, as long as the company has regulations in the country that it operates. For instance, if the casino is based in Malta, you need to check to see if it has a license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
Most countries have some form of gambling laws in place and though they may vary from country to country, the general idea is the same. The United States for instance, allows its citizens to access offshore online casinos. But still, some states in the US have restrictions on gambling and they make it difficult for citizens either directly or indirectly. A state may decide to bottleneck certain payment options, a move which is in line with the Unlawful Internet Act of 2006.
Canada has a wider variety of online casino games as compared to America due to the number of offshore companies located in the country. Game providers in Canada casinos online strive to give the best quality of games with features such as live casino games. For instance, Canadian players recommend online-casinos.ca as a genuine resource for the top sites to play at, many of which have the best slots and other games to play with huge jackpots. Folks can also use this page to find casinos with the best no deposit and other welcome bonuses.
This quality gives them an edge as most of the providers do not have licenses to give US based casinos games or software. However, some progressive states like Nevada, Colorado, and New Jersey have enhanced gambling regulations that are more open to international game providers.
Though players in Canada don’t have to pay taxes for their winnings, online casinos and bookies play a huge role in boosting the country’s economy and generating revenue. This is true to both countries and reports show a significant revenue increase each year. For instance, Colorado which is one of the popular gambling hotspots in the US gave almost $85 million to the country in August 2020 alone. Such numbers show that the relaxation of certain gambling laws in a state can bring more input to the economy of a state or country as compared to restricted states. All in all, as a player it is important to check how the gambling laws are shifting before committing any money.
The laws covering land-based gambling are quite straightforward. It is legal in accordance with the province it belongs. Gambling legislation is given according to provinces in Canada. In online gambling, however, the laws will vary from province to province as there is no general regulation governing all provinces in Canada. Betting companies located out of Canada may give betting services to Canadian players, but it’s trickier for those who want to operate inside of Canada due to the lack of private licensing.
In theory, online gambling sites are supposed to cater to people within their province’s jurisdictions. But we see so many people in Canada gambling online at international casinos. While it seems out of the law, Canadian authorities have very little recourse against these companies with those in Malta, Isle of Man, and other locations hardly reachable. In a bid to make people not bet on certain sites, the government has set up strict advertising laws and even banning international operators from advertising locally.
If we are going to discuss gambling laws in Canada, then it is prudent to mention the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Kahnawake is a mohawk territory outside Montreal and is not guided by Canada’s gambling laws. Since they are not within Canada’s jurisdictions, they decided to form the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
This gaming commission licenses online casinos as long as they are within Kahnawake. Though Kahnawake is in Canada, it is governed by completely different laws and that’s why they were able to form their own gambling commission.
Over the past five years, there has been a decline in gambling in brick and mortar casinos in Canada mainly due to the changing laws in online gambling. Players have more access to online sites that offer a variety of promotions and bonuses that you wouldn’t find in your nearest casino. While most sites are popping up almost every day, the main factor separating the top sites is their generosity to offers and promotions. Operators have focused all efforts to ensure players get the best welcome package or free spins whenever they sign up.
Gambling laws have also paved the way for payment services that were never heard of back when online gambling was starting out. Players no longer have to use credit cards alone to process payments. We have seen more tech-savvy methods like e-wallets, prepaid payments, and cryptocurrencies make it easier for online gambling to thrive in Canada. Also, these payment methods come with critical safety measures to ensure they are the most attractive and sought after platforms in online gambling.
Generally speaking, online casinos appeal more to players because they can offer a huge catalog of games making sure there is everything under one roof. Players can access themed game titles, chat services, and site-specific games, thanks to talented software providers. While these sites do not generate money directly for the Canadian government, they are Canada's stepping stones to creating their own online gambling site. Indeed, it did not take long before AGLC launched its first legal online gambling this year. The government has shown interest in setting up a similar framework in other provinces to try to funnel the gambling revenue back to the country.
In an economy that brings close to $31 billion every year, Canada’s laws and regulations need to be tighter. But the bigger elephant in the room at the moment is land-based casinos, which the government has had to deal with numerous complaints of casinos using the money for terror financing, money laundering, and other unlawful uses. Consequently, the online gambling scene doesn’t seem to be a top priority yet for Canada. We have already seen a host of mediocre gambling sites finding their way to the country and affecting unsuspecting users. So, it is important to note some of the red flags when choosing an online site in the country.
First off, a fake iGaming site will have unreasonable welcome bonuses or no deposit bonuses in order to attract players and shift their focus to the bonus rather than the site’s integrity in the first place. To check if a site is legitimate, make sure it is licensed by reputable gaming authorities like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC). These licenses give online casinos permission to serve online games. Also, check whether the online casino has regular audits and a strong gambling responsibility statement somewhere on the site’s page.
Winding up, the online gambling realm is still a fresh addition to the laws of Canada and a lot needs to be done in terms of laying out the fundamental laws and regulations. It is still hard to predict the future of Canada’s online gambling laws. The inability of the Canadian government to collect taxes is still a major issue. Land Based casinos are here to stay and we may see more coming up in the next few years. The need for change in gambling laws is something the country constantly checks and thinks of as a slow process. However, Canada will continue to come up with favorable regulations that benefit both the country’s economy and the player’s interest.