Canada Online Casinos for Real Money
In Canada, online casinos are both readily-available and popular. Online gambling is generally legal in Canada, outside of a few provincial and municipal restrictions. Besides learning a few little hiccoughs in Canadian law, citizens of Canada have a lot of freedom when it comes time to place a bet on a sporting event, a game of poker, or a hand of blackjack on the Internet.
Canada is a more welcoming environment for gamblers and gambling businesses than the United States. The entire country seems to hold a liberal position on the idea of legal gaming. It’s odd considering that immediately to the south is the very anti-gaming government of the United States.
Even in cases where laws against online gaming exist, the federal government (and provincial governments) have never prosecuted anyone for placing a bet online. The idea, for these governments, is simply to protect their own regulated gaming platforms by forcing citizens to play on them. If you live in Canada and want to place any kind of bet online, you’re safe, provided you’re of legal gambling age in your province.
At the time of this write, more than 250 licensed Web-based casinos exist accepting the Canadian dollar as currency and use the English language. Remembering that some Canadians speak French, I looked and found that more than 140 licensed gambling websites support the Canadian dollar and offers software and customer service in French.
Either way, Canadian gamblers don’t have to worry about a lack of available sites.
Are Canadian Online Casinos Legal?
Online gambling law in Canada is broken up into two general categories – provincial law and First Nations law. Canadian law allows each province to regulate its own online gambling law. Most of them have elected to run their own gaming and lottery websites.
But there’s a problem. The First Nations tribes claim a historical precedent that allows their members the right to offer games of chance and skill outside the purview of provincial and federal law. One group, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, uses this precedent to offer these games to millions of people around the world. So far, provincial and federal governments have recognized this right without intervention.
The bottom line is that it is legal to gamble online in most of Canada. There are no federal laws that make it illegal to place a bet online. Regulation is up to each provincial and territorial government. That means that regulating and overseeing the operations of all lottery, online, and brick-and-mortar gaming operations is up to provincial gaming authorities. Essentially, federal law in Canada passes the responsibility of liberal gaming laws to the shoulders of the provincial and territorial governments.
Regional Canadian Online Gambling Law
Like any other part of the world, some local laws within the borders of Canada restrict some forms of gambling more than federal law. Here are some brief notes on major exceptions to Canada’s liberal stance on gaming.
Ontario Gaming Law – Ontario has been a headache for online casinos for years. Most sites that accept bets from Canadians still ban players from the province. Most likely, this is because Ontario is trying to funnel all gaming traffic through their own casino, lotto, and poker website. Ontario gives gambling providers a headache, so most of the time they won’t even do business with Ontario citizens.
City Bans on Gaming – Some cities in Canada have passed their own city-wide bans on Web-based gaming. These are generally small cities in somewhat rural areas, like Markham, Ontario. If you live in Canada and want to make sure you are able to place legal online bets, look into your provincial and city laws. Don’t just assume that your bets are legal because gambling is generally okay within the borders of your country.
Popular Ways to Gamble in Canada
Online gambling is extremely popular in Canada. Because Canada is a technologically-advanced nation, it shouldn’t need to be said that Web-based versions of all the games described below are both available and popular among Canadians. Canadians own just as many smartphones, tablets, computers, and other gadgets as Americans, but unlike their neighbors to the south, they’re not burdened by restrictive legislation. Canadian online gambling is a big deal, as are all the types of wagers described below.
Canadians love to play casino games. They’re just as crazy for slots as Americans. According to Statistics Canada, 65% of Canadians of legal gambling age (18 and up) will place a bet at a slot machine or other casino table game in the next year. That number is competitive with the rates of play in the UK and Australia. Nearly ten-dozen land-based casinos are currently operating on Canadian soil, with a further 250 or so Web-based sites offering the same games of blackjack, video poker, and slots.
Lotteries are also very popular. One-quarter of Canadians play some form of lottery on a weekly basis. That makes Canadians some of the most rabid lottery players in the world. Statistics Canada reports that the average Canadian male at least 18 years old spends $753 a year on the lottery alone.
Sports betting is popular but not necessarily legal in Canada. It’s important to make a distinction here – Canadians have access to government-sanctioned multi-sports bets (parlays, teasers, etc.) but not single-sport betting. That means no legal sportsbooks, in the traditional sense. Even so, their government estimates that Canadians wager $15 billion a year on single sports events, and are considering legalizing and regulating it.
Pari-mutuel bets are a big part of Canadian culture. Horse racing and race betting are one of the only forms of wagering that are legal across-the-board in every province and city in Canada. It’s easy to find a live racing venue in Canada – they’re everywhere. Some tracks in Canada are even allowed to host a few games of video poker or a few slot machines. These “racinos” are modeled after similar venues in America, and they’re just as popular.
If you’re familiar with gambling in the United States and Europe, then you should think of the Canadian gambling industry as a blend of those two markets.
Canada has its own unique sports, both professional and amateur, but for the most part the country follows Western sports conventions.