Online gambling can seem a little confusing and, at times, scary in Canada. Although Internet casinos have been around for nearly two decades, the question of whether it’s legal to register and play at them remains a hot debate.
Some folks are arguing that online casinos and sports books are, per se, illegal, while others say the law prohibits most forms of gambling, yet it doesn’t say anything about doing so on the Internet.
We won’t be able to find an answer once and for all in this article, but we can at least make a clear distinction between Ontario and Canada’s remaining provinces.
Gambling in Ontario
If you live in Ontario, you can sit back and relax. As the first province, the local regulator AGCO completely reformed the online gambling laws. For that reason, online casinos in Ontario have been legal since April 2022.
As a resident, you can register and log in at a range of operator websites, which include big names like BetMGM and Caesars. Once done, you can play casino games, e.g., video slots or table games, and place bets on various sports. Most operators offer both and make it available to their customers through a single login.
These operators also make it easy for you to deposit and withdraw money, offering a wide range of options. Whether you prefer traditional bank transfers or rapid ones (Interac), e-wallets like Neteller or Skrill, or payments via debit and credit cards – it’s all available at casino websites in Ontario.
As far as restrictions come, there are not many to obey. In fact, Ontario kept its regulated market much more open than other countries, which allows Ontarians have a complete online gambling experience while being protected by the license requirements of the AGCO (the province’s regulator for Alcohol and gambling).
Other Provinces & Territories
Gamblers from other Canadian provinces aren’t that lucky.
So far, no other local government has announced reforming their online gambling laws, which means people from, e.g., British Columbia or Alberta must either play at the government-owned online casino or sign up with an international one.
Here, the debate from above comes back into play on whether current law prohibits online gambling at offshore sites or not. We’re no lawyers and don’t want to weigh in too much, but we like to mention that online casinos from overseas have been operating across Canada for nearly 20 years without shutting down.
Ultimately, these casinos are often big names across Europe and hold licenses from reputable commissions such as the Malta Gaming Authority. Therefore, you will often find an enjoyable and professional gaming experience at these operators. The only difference is that Canadian law has failed to adequately address such sites’ legality.
If the ongoing legal situation makes you uneasy, you can always register with a government-owned gambling website. In British Columbia, for example, this site is called PlayNow and offers the full range of games, from lottery to casino and poker. You can read more about it on BC’s website, including a PlayNow link.
Unfortunately, not all local governments run such a website, like Newfoundland, leaving you with absolutely zero legal options.