Legal -justice is blind statueIn the past, Canada was anti-gambling and had very strict laws that only allowed limited forms of gambling. However, following the new changes introduced to the legislation in the 1970’s, things changed quite significantly, as the amended Criminal Code gave the provinces the right to allow gambling within their own regions.

As a result, a number of brick-and-mortar casinos opened throughout Canada, and many of the provincial governments began to hold their own lotteries, and continue to do so till date. Today, several government-approved sport betting outlets also exist across the country, and while they allow a legal way to place bets on sports, the betting opportunities offered are fairly limited.

 Legal Status of Online Gambling in Canada

When it comes to online gambling, however, it is often referred to as a ‘grey area’ due to the uncertainty surrounding policy making. Does this mean that Canadians playing a game of online slots from the comforts of their home should be worried about the police one day knocking down their door and swarming in to confiscate their laptop?
Well, the answer is no. Since the online world is complex and ever-evolving, the laws of the land are still catching up. Some provinces and territories in Canada are operating their own online casinos - which are both well-run and very professional - whereas majority of the government-approved sports betting outlets allow players to place their bets over the web.

It’s completely legal for Canadian players to use these online options for their gambling needs. As for the offshore companies operating in Canada, you are likely to come across thousands of them squirreled away in places such as Cyprus, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, where provincial governments receive the tax revenues.
For gamblers, though, there is no clause in the Criminal Code as of yet that implies gambling through an offshore casino is illegal. Canadians have enjoyed poker and casino games online for years now without bother.

So, it can be safely said that it’s not illegal for Canadians to gamble online, and you can most definitely enjoy your favorite casino games online without any worry!

How Canadian Gambling Laws Affect Players?

If you reside in Canada, and want to play casino games online, you don’t need to be too concerned about whether an online casino is government-approved or not. You may, though, be confused regarding the use of an overseas online casino, as the current legislation doesn’t state clearly whether it is legal or not.

However, there is not even one specific law in the country that states online gambling is an illegal activity. Although an old law says that being found in a ‘common betting house’ is illegal, it’s pretty obvious that this is an outdated term, and there’s still uncertainty surrounding whether or not this law applies to individuals using online casino sites for gambling purposes.

Since the inception of online casinos, and its widespread popularity throughout Canada, there have been no reported instances of a player being charged or getting into any sort of legal trouble for gambling on an offshore site. Sure, this doesn’t make things clear cut, but it also suggests that players have absolutely nothing to be worried about when gambling online.

So, if you have been turning away from gambling outside state and government approved operations simply because of the fact that they have no regulation for these online gambling sites in Canada, the good news is that you don’t have to. You can always play at reputable online casinos that are regulated and licensed in a different jurisdiction!

The Future of Online Casinos in Canada

The online casino industry in Canada is encouraging and promising. The government of Ontario believes that an online casino hosted in the province will generate valuable revenue, and has been planning to release casino games under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. A number of private enterprises have been engaged to assist them with the project, however, they haven’t launched anything yet officially.

Alberta and British Columbia are other provinces who are considering launching online casinos through traditional downloads, mobile devices and lottery terminals in retail stores. They have also sought the assistance of private enterprises, but have been unsuccessful. As for the other territories and provinces in Canada, their stance regarding online gambling remains uncertain, but let’s face it - they don’t have the population to make online gambling a profitable venture.

Canada has always been a lot more progressive in terms of wagering and online casino laws as opposed to its neighbor - the United States - and there seems to be no change as of yet in this stance amongst the general public. All this indicates that the future of online casinos is safe in Canada, and this trend of online gambling will only continue to grow over the coming years.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, gambling online is not going to get you arrested, especially if you are playing at a government-approved online casino. However, if you are uncertain about whether you should play at a particular online casino, it’s recommended that you double check with an independent casino review and exercise caution. But, if you consider the laws and what’s in writing, there is nothing that indicates Canadian citizens would face legal complications for gambling online.


Disclaimer: While TopOnlineCasinos has done its best to make sure the information here is up-to-date and accurate, this article shouldn’t be considered a substitute for professional, legal advice. After all, we are not lawyers, and local enforcement, legislation and restrictions are subject to change over the course of time. The Canadian government is frequently discussing about introducing amendments to the legislation for online gambling, and though we are not responsible to update this page for any circumstance that occur afterwards, we will provide you with updates, provided that the situation changes. 

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