Is Online Gambling Legal In Canada?

Online gambling laws in Canada are an issue often talked about by residents and casino players. It is more like a grey area with laws only favouring certain sections. So, the big question remains- Is it legal to gamble online in Canada? Here, we will look at some of the online casinos available in Canada and check whether it is allowed by the national and provincial laws. A quick search online will tell you that gambling in Canada started years back, and as the world evolved, so did the gambling laws. 

The current betting laws for online casinos are a bit vague and won’t state clearly whether you can gamble or not. However, specific clauses allow online casinos to operate, so there are plenty of online casinos in Canada. IN a nutshell, it is illegal to operate online casinos in Canada. However, players can access online casino rooms from Canada as long as the casinos are not operated within its borders. Even when laws are a bit confusing, online casinos and sports betting remain some of Canada’s most popular forms of gambling. 

A Brief History Of Gambling Laws In Canada

Canada’s first document mentioning gambling was formulated in the 60s, and it was noted under the Canadian Criminal Code. This document was created to prohibit all forms of gambling within the borders of Canada. But in 1969, some exciting statistics showed Canadians were still gambling and realized it wasn’t something they could stop, even with stringent laws. 

Later in 1969, the government decided to change a few clauses in the Criminal Code, which saw lottery and gambling as legal forms of sports. Since this time, casinos in Canada have flourished, and there was a massive surplus of land-based casinos. For a few years, the gambling industry was booming, and up until the 90s, casinos were making millions of returns. 

After the internet boom, everything changed. The need for online platforms was massive, and people saw it better to access gambling sites online instead of having to go all the way to the casinos. This saw a quick rise of online casino sites, which immediately brought attention to gambling laws again. 

The first online casinos in Canada came after that, and despite being relatively good, it only offered a few games. But still, it was a nice revolutionary change, and players wouldn’t mind at that time- as long as they could gamble online, it was okay. Canadian government became concerned with online casinos because they weren’t regulated. And once they realized this, new laws slowly came to pass in a bid to better the gambling status in Canada. 

Online Gambling Laws In Canada 

Despite online casino gambling being in operation for more than twenty years, laws governing the realm are yet to be streamlined. As it is, Canadian players can play at online casinos as long as the casinos are not operated in Canada. This means the casinos can only get licenses from overseas. This move is not entirely favorable for casino operators forced to seek licenses to open casinos in Canada. In a genuine sense, this mostly favors Casinos in other countries as they can freely operate within Canada’s territory. 

However, for Canadian players, this just means more online casinos to play. For some time now, online casinos strive to provide more games and top-quality graphics. These sites offer every casino game title, including poker, slots, roulette, blackjack, and more. 

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was put in place after the 1996 Kahnawake Gaming Law was enacted. The laws were brought to regulate activities in the Mohawk territory in Canada. While the province is within Canada, it has its jurisdictions and sovereignty, including regulating online gambling laws. 

That said, the Kahnawake Mohawks have over 50 licensed online casino operators with 250+ online casinos already opened in the club. As of 2016, the commission stopped issuing licenses to players operating in the USA. There are strict requirements to operate with Kahnawake’ Gaming Commission, some of which are: 

  • Should have top-notch software 
  • Guarantee huge payouts 
  • Have necessary information about the company, shareholders, and founders 
  • Give detailed rules and regulations about gameplay and payoffs 
  • Guarantee players safety and private data security 
  • Limit age of gambling to persons over 21 years 
  • Pass an independent audit 
  •  Give detailed information about payment systems and how it handles tech-support 

Winner’s Tax Requirements In Canada 

The winner’s tax in Canada’s online casinos is not that different from regular gambling. It states that your winnings aren’t subjected to tax if you win as a recreational player as you were only playing the game by chance. There are some exceptions when players get interested in the winnings, which would now be taxable. 

Professional gamblers, on the other hand, have to pay taxes and file returns every year. Since they have posed themselves as professionals, the government considers them freelance businesses; therefore, income is taxable. Alternatively, gambling losses from professional gamblers aren’t considered tax write-offs. 

As we wind up, it is essential to note that Canada is still actively implementing betting laws and regulations. Early this year, the country’s MPS approved a bill that would regulate single-game betting, which is already illegal in a couple of Canada’s provinces. The bill is still in motion but still needs to be approved by the whole House to become a law. 

Online gambling is here to stay, and the boom will only get bigger. Besides, the current global situation is not conducive to offline casinos, and more Canadian players opt for the online way. Gambling rules will need to be adjusted and hopefully not affect Canadians in the future. 

In the meantime, existing gambling operators continue to offer casino services with tons of games in the lobby. The gambling laws may seem strict but don’t affect Canadian players that much. As long as there are several hundred online casinos available in the country, players should have an easy time finding a legal and genuine online casino.