Does Canada Allow Online Gambling in 2021?

Are you curious about Canada’s online gambling laws? Read our online gambling guide to learn more about online gambling in Canada.

Does Canada allow Online Gambling in 2021?

A common question that Canadian potential punters ask is “Is gambling legal in Canada?”. This is a valid question as it is only smart that a punter is well informed about the legal status of online gambling in their country before they start their career in real money online gaming. In this article, we’re going to clarify all there is to know about gambling in the Great White North. We hope our readers will find this post useful when navigating the best Canadian online casinos.

Gambling Laws in Canada: What is Legal and What is not?

In the past, gambling was frowned upon in Canada, however, things changed in the 1960s when the Canadian government discovered the financial benefits of legalizing gambling.

Presently, a good number of Canadians participate in gambling, that is why the market size of the gambling sector in Canada has consistently increased since 2016. In 2019, about C$392m was recorded as the gross gambling turnover at offshore casinos with an expected increase in the subsequent years. This is largely a result of the lax gambling laws in Canada.

So, what is online gambling legal in Canada? In plain text, operating and gambling on an unlicensed online casino based is illegal in Canada. However, Canadians can legally and safely gamble at any offshore online casino that holds a valid license. Because the Criminal Code of Canada does not state in clear terms that playing at an online casino site is a criminal offence, no citizen of Canada has ever been convicted for gambling at an online gambling site.

However, for the safety of our readers, we recommend that you only play at licensed offshore online casino establishments. Casinos licensed by reputable bodies are known to follow stringent rules which makes them safe and fair to play at. These casinos are also mandated to have a link to the Problem Gambling Program on their website to encourage gamblers who might need help to get counselling.

Additionally, Canadian punters do not have to remit taxes to the government on any winnings made from online gambling. However, if a punter plays frequently and practices gambling as a form of employment based upon skill and frequency of payout, they will then be required to pay taxes on their earnings.

It is also worth noting that licenses play a huge role when selecting an online casino to play at. Since the Canadian government does not regulate offshore gambling establishments, punters can only rely on regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions. This is why we recommend offshore bookies licensed by renowned regulatory bodies such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming Authority.

The Grey Area

The Canadian gambling laws do have some ambiguity in them. For example, the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake has the ability to grant licenses and regulate online casinos. Although located in Quebec, the Indian reservation which is also a sovereign legal entity is not bound by Canadian law. The Kahnawake Commission has issued licenses to various software companies such as Microgaming. However, recently many e-gaming companies prefer to be licensed by popular gaming authorities such as Malta Gaming Authority and Gibraltar Gaming Commission.

Additionally, single-event sporting bets from bookmakers with Canadian licenses are prohibited, but combined bets such as parlays are allowed.

Essentially, there are no specific Canadian laws aimed at offshore gaming sites, hence, most of these gambling establishments are happy to accept Canadian players. However, since the criminal code of 1970 allows individual Canadian provinces to regulate and license any gambling in their territories, there are several local land-based casinos and lotteries operated by the provincial gaming authorities. Canadians who crave real-life casino action can legally gamble at any of these licensed local casinos.