Toronto Mike

What’s the current legal status of online casinos in Canada?

Online casino gambling in Canada has been thriving for more than 20 years; however, in most provinces, there’s still a lack of regulations, which makes many players question the legal status of this activity within the country.

This article aims to shed some light on this topic to provide some clarity as to where things currently stand. We’ll also offer a few tips that will help you find the top-rated online casinos in Canada.

Online Gambling in Canada

According to the federal Criminal Code (sections 201 - 206), gambling - both in-person and digitally - is illegal in Canada, although there are some exemptions, such as pari-mutuel betting.

However, like the United States, decisions as to the legality of gambling are taken at provincial level, meaning that the federal code doesn’t tend to apply in most instances. Furthermore, there’s no specific definition of online gambling within the code, which highlights the need for it to be updated, in our opinion.

While there’s no clear legislation that prohibits or criminalises online casino gambling in Canada, it is largely accepted that operators should not be based in the country. So, in a nutshell, many offshore operators willingly accept players from Canada, and to this day, no casino or player has faced charges. With that said, according to an article on The Comparative Legal Guides website, it’s claimed that provincial regulators have adopted a position that these online operators are illegal and should be shut down. As yet, no action has been taken.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

One region of Canada where there are crystal clear regulations is the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. This was one of the world’s first jurisdictions to acknowledge the vast opportunities of online gaming, and as such, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in the late 1990s.

Online gambling companies licenced by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission are required to have their servers hosted at the Mohawk Internet Technologies data center, which is within the territory. Several well-known operators, including Baytree Limited and Fresh Horizons Limited, hold licences from this Commission.

Tips for finding a good online casino in Canada

Make no mistake; there are many top-rated online casinos that welcome players from Canada. However, the lack of country-wide regulations does leave the door open for some rogue operators to barge in. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you find a good online casino.

  • Licences - Canada, with the exception of Kahnawake, doesn’t issue casino licences; however, you still want to check where the operator is licensed. Sites that hold Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) licences are widely regarded as legit.
  • Transparent offers - All casinos have an abundance of bonuses and promotions, both for new and existing players. We advise players to check the terms and conditions of the promos to ensure the terms are fair.
  • Payment options - Casinos that use trusted and reliable payment vendors like Visa, Mastercard, and Skrill are the way to go. These are reputable brands, so we know they are safe.
  • Security - SSL certification and hardened firewalls are paramount. You can quickly check if the casino is SSL-secure by looking for the ‘s’ on the end of ‘http’ in the URL.
  • Check reviews - Perform a quick online search to find out what kind of experience other players have had. It’s a good way to get a feel for a particular casino.
Author image
About Toronto Mike
I own TMDS and host Toronto MIke'd. Become a Patron.