Online Gaming in Canada and the Law

Public gambling venues are relatively new to the Canadian scene. Historically, Canada hasn’t always tolerated gambling, and didn’t begin to liberalize its laws until the 1960s. Currently, each province has the authority to issue licenses for gambling activities. These include casino gaming, some sports betting, as well as online casino sites. Because this field of law is still developing across the various Canadian provinces, some potential players may be unsure if the site they wish to use is legally permissible according to the laws of its own jurisdiction. For non-Canadians, such as those from Australia or the United States, the murkiness of some Canadian criminal codes regarding gambling may shy them away from Canadian online casinos.

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Each Canadian province is empowered to regulate gambling within its own territory and to issue licenses pertaining to gambling activities and venues. Gamblers should expect that a legitimate online casino based in Canada will be licensed through a specific province, and not the Canadian Federal Government itself. Unlike the United States, Canada permits each province to offer licenses for its online casinos and regulate them accordingly. This includes online casinos, which must also be licensed by their respective provinces. In addition to provincial governments, regulatory support is also offered by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, a private company with its base of operations in Canada that is also responsible for maintaining servers and providing regulatory oversight to member casino sites all around the world.

If for any reason you are unsure whether the site you intend to use is legitimate and trustworthy, the best thing to do is to check reviews online. You may also want to check how long the site has been in operation and what industry organizations it is a member of, as both of these can help you decide if the site presents any risk to non-Canadian gamblers. As of today, no private individual has ever been prosecuted under Canadian law for participating in an online casino game.

While it’s true that some laws could be more clearly phrased, no Canadian has ever been charged with a criminal offense for participating in an online casino game. In very rare cases where a website or its servers are placed under legal scrutiny, players themselves are never penalized. If you are still unsure whether the site you intend to use is legitimate and above-board, it may be helpful to look at how long the site has been in operation, whether they have ever been subjected to legal action, and what industry organizations they belong to. Online casino gambling itself is not forbidden by the Canadian Criminal Code. If unsure, always investigate other options.

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