Online Casinos in Canada

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Ever since the first online casinos were introduced to Canadian gamblers back in the late nineties, they have been quite popular. Canada is a vast country and, while there are certainly quite a few brick and mortar casinos that one can visit, these are not within easy reach for most Canadians. This is why online casinos are so popular, you can play whenever you like, wherever you like.

Online casinos allow anyone of legal age in Canada to sign up and, within a few minutes, be able to play a range of slots and table games for fun or real money. If you are new to the world of Canadian online casinos, then we welcome you! You are about to enter an exciting world of fun, where there is always a new game to explore and big jackpots to be won!

Our complete guide to online casinos in Canada will take you through a bit of the history of gambling in Canada, as well as answer the all-important questions concerning the legality of gambling for Canadian citizens. We will also show you how you can find the best Canadian online casino to perfectly suit your needs. Learn how to spot a good casino from a bad one, how to always play safe, and what the biggest benefits are to gambling at Canadian online casinos.

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A Brief History of Gambling in Canada

For many Canadians, the arrival of John Cabot in 1497 got the ball rolling for the birth of what would become Canada.

  • How it All Started

    To alleviate boredom among his crew on the long voyage, Cabot encouraged the playing of various card games at the time. However, whether he knew about it or not, many of the sailors made these card games more interesting by putting wagers on the outcome of ever hand. Upon meeting the indigenous population, the sailors were quick to introduce these card games to them, but were pleasantly surprised to find that gambling was nothing new to them. Native people had been playing their own gambling game called ‘Slahal’, a game played with sticks and bones. The game was designed to test the participants and observers of the game were known to bet on the outcome.

  • The Evolution

    By the time Europeans began to settle in Eastern Canada, the attitude towards gambling had changed, becoming much more conservative. This was due to a number of factors. For one, many of the community elders were from a strict, conservative Christian background, where vices such as alcohol and gambling were forbidden.

  • Laws that Prohibited Gambling

    Another, perhaps more important factor, was the fact that British Common Law actually prohibited gambling. The laws, dating back to the late 1300’s, had been implemented by King Richard III and applied mainly to dice games like backgammon. It seems that Richard III felt that his soldiers were becoming too distracted by gambling and he implemented new laws to change that. These antiquated laws on dice games found their way into the Canadian Criminal Code, where they stayed all the way until 1999 when a new amendment replaced the old law. However, not all gambling in Canada was illegal but it certainly was frowned upon as a sinful vice by most communities. Throughout Canada’s history, small illegal gambling operations have come and gone but it wasn’t until 1989 that Canada’s first legal and official casino opened in Winnipeg.

  • The First Casino is Established

    Not to be outdone by their compatriots, Montreal opened their first casino in 1993 and a number of other casino resorts have popped up all over Canada over the past two decades. However, when the internet became a real thing in the mid-nineties, casino operators were quick to spot the potential of creating online casinos for all Canadians to access.

  • The Start of the Online Casino Era

    Within a few short years of the launch of the first online casinos, more and more Canadians have migrated to online casino platforms. Playing online is much easier to do, is a lot cheaper than travelling to a brick and mortar casino and, you can even play directly from your mobile device. However, one of the main issues that many Canadians experience regarding online casino gambling is whether or not it is actually legal to do so.

A Brief History of Gambling in Canada

security and licensing

Before the 1970’s, Canadians could not find any legal casino to gamble in (keep in mind that illegal gambling operations were available to those that knew about them). However, after 1970, certain amendments were made to the Canadian criminal code which paved the way for legalized casino gambling in the country.

New Amendments

The new amendments to the criminal code made it possible for various provinces and territories to:

  • Introduce legalized forms of gambling, as long as it was strictly controlled by appointed bodies within the state or territorial jurisdictions.

  • The decision is entirely up to each individual province or territory and not everyone will have brick and mortar gambling facilities available.

  • If you happen to live in one of those provinces or states, you may be out of luck.

This is why online casino gambling is so popular in Canada, as those in areas where no land-based gambling is available, can easily turn to online forms of it.

Is gambling online legal in Canada?

For many Canadians, this is something that needs to be answered first, before they’re willing to risk their money playing casino games online. After all, no one wants to be arrested just for playing a few slots at home or on your mobile, it would completely ruin the sheer convenience of not having to travel miles to play games and waste a lot of money along the way.

So, according to current Canadian law:

  • It is illegal to own or operate an online casino if it is based on Canadian soil

  • This also goes for online poker sites or online sportsbooks

Now, while that may sound like bad news, it really isn’t that bad, for one good reason.

Did you notice that the law only mentions Canadian soil? It doesn’t say anything about online casinos that are based offshore. This means that online casinos with servers located in other countries are perfectly legal for you to sign up with and play at.

But wait, there’s more!

Licensing Bodies

casino licensing bodies

Some of the biggest and best online casinos in the world that are specifically designed to accommodate Canadians actually still have their servers in Canada. While this may seem like a contradiction in terms, especially considering that we just mentioned that it is illegal to own or operate an online casino on Canadian soil, there’s a perfectly good explanation for this.

If you’ve spent any amount if time looking at various online casino options for Canadians, you may have come across a familiar licensing body, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The Kahnawake Native Reserve is home to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which is technically and independent territory from Canada. In other words, it counts the same as any other offshore territory.

The other part of the question usually asked regarding the legality of online gambling in Canada is:

The reason for this cause for concern and confusion is based on an old Canadian law that stipulates that it is illegal for any citizen of Canada to be found gambling in an ‘illegal gambling house’.

However, since, by definition, an online casino is virtual (on the internet), and the servers are located offshore (Kahnawake), you are neither:

  1. An illegal gambler

  2. Nor playing at an illegal gambling house (site)

At the end of the day, online gambling is still a bit of a grey area, legally speaking, in Canada. What we do know for sure, is that no Canadian has ever been prosecuted, arrested, or even warned about gambling online in Canada. This good news should give you the confidence to go ahead and pick one of our recommended online casinos for Canada, and enjoy playing the best slots and table games with total confidence!

Licensing Bodies

Finding a good online casino in Canada to play at is the key to being able to enjoy every minute of your online gambling experience. With all online casinos, there are certain aspects and key elements that need to be sought out and considered. To help you find the best CA online casino for your needs, take a look at the top criteria that we use when selecting CA casinos for our recommended listings:

Licensing and regulation

Every top CA online casino that we choose has been thoroughly tested and approved by leading gambling licensing bodes including Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and others.

Online safety and security

To be considered safe and secure, online casino must employ the latest in SSL (Secure Socket Layer) digital encryption. This ensures that all player data is always encrypted whilst stored on their servers.

Choice of software

Choice of software plays a vital role in the quality and quantity of any online casinos gaming and performance. Some casinos prefer to stick to just one or two top providers, while others will feature dozens of the best software brands including Microgaming, IGT, NetEnt, Betsoft, Evolution Gaming and many more.

Range and depth of games

Having a top-notch provider onboard has a significant influence on the range of depth of games that will be available. Any top CA online casino should feature a wide range of 3-reel and 5-reel slots, progressive jackpots, virtual table games, video pokers, live dealer table games, bingo and more.

Customer support

Ideally customer support should be available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. There should also be multiple communication channels available, including live chat, email and phone support.

Currency support

Available currency options should include CAD as well as USD and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Banking options

The best CA casinos feature a wide range of payment options for instant deposits and fast cash outs including credit and debit cards, e-Wallets, prepaid cards, instant bank transfers and others.

Mobile casino options

Mobile casino gaming is the future of online casinos and our top CA casino options all feature great mobile platforms which you can enjoy on your tablet or smartphone. Support includes iOS, Windows, Android and Blackberry.

Other enhancing features

Other features that can add to your overall experience with an online gambling site includes a sportsbook crossover, online poker, bingo, live casino and even virtual reality features.

Top Benefits of Gambling at CA Online Casinos

Canadian Online Casino FAQ’s

Yes, it is. As long as you choose an online casino that has been thoroughly tested and vetted by experts such as the CA online casinos that we recommend right here.

Signing up for an account with a CA online casino is easy. You can pick one of our recommended casinos and simply click through on our safe and secure links. On the homepage, click on the sign-up button and fill in the pop-up registration form by following the instructions provided.

Not all online casinos will support CAD but the vast majority of our recommended operators do support CAD, along with USD and some, cryptocurrencies as well.

The range of available bonus offers varies from one CA casino to another and it all depends on what their marketing strategies happen to be. However, the most popular bonus offers for Canadians includes no deposit bonuses, welcome bonuses that include free spins, reload bonuses and high roller bonuses. You’ll also find great rewards and incentives including VIP rewards and player loyalty points, which may be added to your account automatically.

Every casino game has a payout percentage known as an RTP or Return to Player. This is basically an indication of how much you can expect to see returned to you based on your wagers. For example, an online slot with an RTP of 97% means that, for every $100 wagered, you should see a return of at least $97.

In most instances you need to be at least 18 years of age although there are some casinos that require you to be 21.

Yes, you can. Our top CA online casinos support mobile casino gaming for iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry smartphones and tablets.

There are several ways in which you can contact customer support. The fastest and often most effective way is to simply click on the live chat icon located on every page of the casino. You can also send them an email, or email request and phone them directly (most casinos).

The safest way to choose an online casino in CA is to follow the advice set out in this guide. You can also simply select one of our recommended casinos which have already been tested and verified.

Depositing money at an online casino is easy. Simply select your preferred payment option located on their banking page, click on it, and select the amount you would like to deposit.