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Canadian Online Casino Regulations: What You Need to Know
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When it comes to industries that have experienced explosive growth over recent decades, almost none compare to iGaming. Although the first online casino launched way back in 1994, players were slow to embrace the idea of gambling on the internet.

Fast forward to 2022, and the industry was valued at more than $80 billion internationally. This number is expected to rise to $131 billion by 2027, with an estimated 233.7 million gamblers opting to play online by that time. Of these, Canada is expected to lead the pack with a projection that 46.8% of gamblers in the country will use online services to place bets.

Due to the large number of operators already in the country, it is no surprise that the Great White North will be on top. However, for Canadian gamblers, it is imperative to know what the gaming regulations are.

Gambling Legality

One of the first things prospective gamblers should know is that it is technically illegal to gamble in Canada. Yes, you read that right—the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits any games of chance. However, it does allow Canadian provinces to permit gambling on the condition that the province then regulates all gambling activities.

Due to this clause, almost all provinces within the country legally allow gambling. The only exception to this is Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Gambling regulation in these three provinces is underdeveloped, and there isn’t much effort being put into place to change this.

Legal Online Casinos

With all other provinces having active regulations in place, many online casinos for Canadian players are available. These operate under strict provincial laws and are subject to regular checks to ensure they remain compliant.

Among these territories, Ontario stands out in working toward a sustainable and dynamic regulatory framework for online gambling. Massive strides were made in 2021 with the launch of iGaming Ontario.

iGaming Ontario (iGO) works as a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which is responsible for regulating all gambling within the province and ensuring that all providers are legitimately licensed.

Because of the long process of attaining a license with the AGCO, iGO was launched as an intermediary for operators looking to enter the Ontario market. While operators are still required to register with the AGCO, iGaming Ontario assists them in fulfilling the necessary requirements to operate legally.

Offshore Casinos

For players who are located in provinces without extensive gambling restrictions, access to the best online casinos operated outside of Canada is available. Many of these openly welcome Canadian players, and some even allow gambling in local currency.

Because they operate outside the country, these websites have no obligation to comply with local laws and cannot be penalized under the Canadian Criminal Code. This leads many players to exercise caution with these casinos.

However, there is little need for players to worry as long as they choose a reputable casino. Although a Canadian authority does not license them, many are licensed by other governing bodies, such as the UK Gambling Commission, and are just as safe to play at.

Online Sports Betting

Sports betting is one of the most common and popular ways to gamble. It combines the thrill of placing wagers with the action of your favourite sports. In Canada, sports betting providers are subject to the same laws as online casinos—that is, they must be licensed by the regulatory body within the province they operate in.

As with casinos, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut are slightly behind the times, offering sports betting only at retail locations with no option to place bets online unless with a provider operating outside the country.

It should be noted that the ability to place bets on a single game is relatively new to Canada. Before 2021, only pari-mutuel bets were permitted by law, which was enforced nationally rather than provincially. Due to changes in this regulation that allowed a broader scope of bets, gamblers can now place as many single-event bets as they choose.

Legal Gambling

Age One of the more essential regulations to know is the legal gambling age. In Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, it is 18. However, in almost all other provinces, including Ontario and British Columbia, you must be 19 or older to gamble. Trying your luck if you’re underage could result in a maximum penalty of two years in jail. Taxation While most people don’t think of taxes when gambling, they can take a large chunk of your windfall in many parts of the world. In Canada, however, this isn’t the case.

Because gambling winnings aren’t seen as a regular form of income by the Canadian government, anything you’re lucky enough to win is yours to keep. This includes winnings from online casino games, lotteries, sports betting and any other form of gambling.

However, should you gamble as a profession or earn your primary source of income by dancing with Lady Luck, things are a bit different. If that is the case, your winnings will be subject to income tax, and it may be best to consult with a tax specialist to ensure all your bases are covered.

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