Are Online Casinos in Canada Legal?

Are Online Casinos in Canada Legal?

Canada is one of the most liberal places when it comes to online gambling, having tremendous amount of freedom when it comes to what people can bet on, especially when compared to their US neighbors.

As of yet, it’s still not quite a free-for-all when it comes to betting in Canada, but most forms of gambling are allowed within their country in one province or another. As time goes by, this is gradually increasing and while some nations are tightening the regulations, Canada seems to be doing the opposite.

However, the legality of gambling still remains a grey area and often, Canadians themselves don’t know where they stand when it comes to playing at online gaming venues. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork and made it a bit more black and white, so you’ll know what you can and can’t bet on online.

Legality of Casino Games in Canada

As is the case in most countries, the most popular games to play in Canada are casino games such as slots and table games. As a result, they’re the most widely accepted in the country, and generally, you can play all types of casino games online. However, of all the gambling laws in the country, the ones surrounding casino games are the most varied. This is because they’re decided by the individual provinces in Canada themselves, similar to how it is with gambling laws in the US.

The good news is that in some of the biggest provinces, such as British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec, all casino games have been legal to play since 2010. As such, if you’re a resident of these states then you’ll be able to play slots, poker, blackjack, baccarat, roulette and all other online casino games to your heart’s content.

However, in some other parts of the country this isn’t the case and there has been no law permitting you to play casino games yet. That said, while the provinces mentioned above have been legalized, the states where it’s not technically legal don’t actually have any laws either way, hence the “grey area”.

Ultimately, in these provinces the legal status is simply, “unregulated”, so you should be able to play with no consequences, but we’d recommend you to seek more detail about what your state specifically says on the matter before playing online.

In every province, Bingo and Lottery are permitted.

Legality of Sports Betting in Canada

Sports betting is a subject that’s very much up for debate in the country, and one of the types of gambling that’s looking at serious changes in the near future.

Currently, the situation with sports betting is that you can only place a bet on sports if you place a “Parlay” bet, which requires you to bet on various teams’ results at one time. Obviously, this isn’t a policy that’s hugely favored by the Canadian sport betting fans, as the bet is less likely to win.

Sport betting fans in the country have a desire for this to be changed, and Canada wants to start allowing the practice of single-game sports betting. This is so that they can just bet on individual results, allowing them to simply back their favorite team and not rely on a whole host of results to come home.

The likelihood of this happening has been rapidly improved recently, following the landmark decision by their neighbors in the US, to allow single-game sports betting. Previously, they had the same set-up as Canada for sports betting, however, in May, this changed and so it’s now highly likely that Canada will follow suit.

It would make sense, as Canadians are already spending £4 Billion annually betting on single-games at offshore locations. So one should expect that Parlay bets may soon be done away with, and provinces will be allowed to get a slice of that money for themselves.

Operator Law in Canada

If you’re looking to open a new online casino in Canada then, unfortunately, this is going to be very unlikely in the near future.

While playing at casinos is generally either accepted or at the very least, unregulated, operators aren’t allowed the same freedom.

Although there are a handful of online gaming venues, such as PlayNow in B.C., which is regulated by the British Columbia Lottery Association, it remains a rarity.

Where Can I Play from Canada?

Although there aren’t many operators based within Canada, there are countless casinos that are based in places such as Malta, Gibraltar, and Curacao – all of which offer their services to Canadian players. So you do actually have a huge amount of choice when it comes to your online venue.

Many of these casinos have a Canada-specific section on their website which offers exclusive games and bonuses for players from Canada with all currencies in Canadian dollars.

The most popular casino operators in the world, such as GIG and Direx N.V., have websites that are dedicated to Canadians, which means all Canadian players will only get the optimum service available.

Still worried about legality? There’s no need to be!

As Michael Lipton, a lawyer and Gaming Law expert with Dickinson Wright in Toronto, explains:

“As a player, you aren’t committing any criminal offense by being in a position where you’re engaged with an offshore operator playing poker, playing slots, or whatever the case may be“.


As you can see, there’s a whole host of different playing options available, if you’re looking to play from Canada.

All you have to do is find one that suits you, sign up and start playing your favorite games!

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