Gambling in Canada is a $15 billion industry that provides over 135,000 full-time jobs and more than 267,000 total jobs. According to the research, in 2012-2013 gambling participation was highest in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan (87%) and lowest in Quebec (67%). Across the country, there were 79% of adult Canadians participate in some form of gambling in given years.
While the popularity of gambling in Canada has increased since 2004, online gambling is the least common form. The proportion of citizens who access the gambling sites appears to be relatively small. In 2007, it was estimated that almost 3% of Canadians reported participating in online gambling, and, in 2013, there was even less.
Licensing & Legalities
Online gambling is permitted in Canada by The Criminal Code, but only when it is owned or licensed by a provincial government. However, it has been estimated that there are nearly 1500 offshore casinos and gaming websites available to Canadian citizens. The Criminal Code gives the power to prosecute onshore Canadian establishments that run online gambling activities without proper authorization.
This has been enacted only once when Starnet Communications International (SCI) was pursued by British Columbia. Although SCI was a corporation based in Delaware USA, it was run by Canadians in Vancouver. A penalty of $100,000 was imposed on SCI, and they also had to surrender almost $4 million in profits.
There are 10 provinces where gambling is allowed and each of them has its own website for the players to find all important information. These provinces are:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Other four provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador – consider gambling online and offline illegal.
Until 2004 Canada had no legal online casino, and the first one, Playnow.com, was established by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. It is available to residents of British Columbia and is the only legally registered website in British Columbia and Manitoba.
Players can play poker, bingo, lottery and make sports betting here. The website has been the home for the biggest ever online prize in Canada – individual from Vancouver Island won $7.6 million on a lotto ticket. In keeping with the early days of using revenue for good intentions, income from Playnow.com goes toward socially responsible causes such as healthcare, education and community services via the provincial government.
There are many online casinos that are already licensed in Canada by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Quebec. The Kahnawake First Nation maintained the right to license and regulate online gaming and that licensed sites be available to the whole world. So, Kahnawake Tribe has been licensing and regulating online gaming since 1999 for more than 200 operators – longer than almost any other jurisdiction in the world.
One of their rules for being licensed by them, is that the online casino must be located on Kahnawake land, on their secure servers. Interestingly, it has been estimated that 60% of the world’s online gambling traffic is received by this Gaming Commission.
Illegal offshore online gambling industry
Many Canadian residents prefer accessing illegal online gambling sites hosted offshore because they are likely to have higher jackpot. For example, Manitoba residents can only use Playnow.com for legal online gambling, but they spent $37 million in 2012 at illegal online casinos. So, there is a sizable illegal offshore online gambling industry – up to 1400 offshore sites that allow Canadians to play different games.
Online gambling industry in Canada is aiming to attract more customers, and internet casinos have been raising the stakes to compete against more traditional land-based venues. Likewise, the provincial governments quickly realize there is a lot of money to be made in the online gambling industry. With the increasing number of the gamblers, the question of the taxation comes up.
Canadian tax law is very similar to the ones in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It claims that the gambling winnings are not usually taxed by the state. Nevertheless, if you are a professional gambler and a part of your income depends on the casino winnings then taxes may apply. But if you are playing casino games for fun as an amateur your winnings won’t be taxed for sure.
- Slots – There is an enormous variety of the slots machines in the Canadian casinos, and that is why there are a lot of people who play slots online. While some gamblers claim that playing online slots is a waste of time because real money can be won in the table games, there are more and more gamers start playing. The most famous and popular slot games casinos are Spin Palace, Royal Vegas and Ruby Fortune.
- Roulette – This is one of the most played casino games online in Canada. There are two kinds of the roulette game that you can choose – American and European. The best Canadian roulette games can be found at Spin Palace, GamingClub, Royal Vegas and JackpotCity. These sites registered in Quebec and British Columbia and accept only gamblers from these regions.
- Poker – Canadians like playing poker offline and online as well. A lot of poker games are available at 888poker, FullTilt, PokerStars.com, PartyPoker, WilliamHillPoker and TigerGaming.com.
- Blackjack – This game became very popular among the Canadians who use the smartphones, and that is why they play at the mobile casinos. The most popular casinos for blackjack in Canada are Royal Vegas, BetWayCasino, Lucky24/7, Spin Palace, All Slots Casino, 888 casino.
Deposit and Payment Methods
There are numerous methods for deposits and withdrawals available for Canadians.
Withdrawal and Deposit Methods
- Click2Pay – it is a third party payment processor that allows you to deposit and withdraw money using traditional banking methods – credit and debit cards or bank transfer
- ClickAndBuy – Allows you to withdraw money easy and secure and is accepted by all Canadian casinos
- InstaDebit – One of the best choice for Canadian players
- Neteller – it is a payment service that let you transfer money and make purchases online without having to reveal your credit card or other private financial data
- Ukash – a pre-paid voucher system that are accepted by many casinos
- MasterCard – one of the most convenient way to pay online
- Wire transfer – an equivalent of the paper check payment, all details you get electronically
To Deposit You Can Also Use
- Paysafecard – it is a prepaid system when you need to buy a cash voucher and activate it with the pin code
- 900pay – you can deposit money using the telephone if you don’t have a credit card or don’t want to use one
- Payspark – a payment method used as a prepaid card
- EcoCard – it is e-wallet where you can put money using credit or debit card and then transfer them to the casino’s account
- Entropay – a third party processor that allows you to make payments in most of the Canadian casinos. This method allows totally anonymous payments that keeps you personal data closed
Due to the right combination of the fast mobile phone hardware and connection speeds, the mobile casino industry was created in the late 1990s (just after online gambling). Owing to the fact that today almost every Canadian has a smartphone or tablet, mobile gambling is of great popularity in this country.
The trend is caused not only by the increase in a smartphone (tablet) penetration, but also by the growth device capability and the users’ confidence. Spin Palace Casino, Ruby Fortune Casino and Royal Vegas Casino are among the top rated mobile casinos in Canada.
According to the Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC), global mobile gambling market is expected to increase, reaching around 44% of all interactive gambling by 2018 (from 18% in 2012) and representing about 5% of total gambling market.
Choosing online casino
If you want to play at the online casino without worries you need to find a safe gambling site. There are some certain qualities of the casino that you need to seek for to find really reliable one. To do a right choice you need to find a site that:
- has a strong protection system that keeps safe all your personal data
- is legal
- has more than five different payment methods
- has a lot of good feedbacks from the players and a clean track record
offers a well-thought bonus system
- has a professional and always available customer support service
Online gambling in Canada is not as popular as in Australia or America. Besides, there is a sizable illegal offshore online gambling industry. Nonetheless, as individuals turn to more diverse and accessible options offered by online gambling, this industry is sure to expand its operations across the country.
Can I play online poker in all provinces?
You can play online poker in any province except New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador where gambling is forbidden at all by the law.
Is “home gambling” allowed in Canada?
It is legal to participate the home gambling game as long as the host that runs it doesn’t profit from the game and the whole thing is not a commercial issue. If such home gambling works like an unlicensed casino it is of course forbidden by the law.
Are the gambling winnings taxed in Canada?
Canadians who win a lottery or a game of chance are not subject to income tax on those winnings according to the Income Tax Act. Similarly, money earned from sports bets are not taxed unless they are a primary source of revenue for the individual.