A Complete Guide to Canadian Online Casinos, Payment Methods and Games
When it comes to online gambling in Canada, the country has some contradictions. For players, it is clearly legal to enjoy any form of internet gambling, however, the legal age to gamble in Canada is 19. For casino operators, the opposite is true. No private companies can operate an online casino.
Add in the overspill of US banking laws involving gambling transactions (and Canadian banks’ fear of breaking them), and things get more complex still.
Fortunately for casino fans, Canada has a huge choice of reputable online casinos – including many of the biggest international brands. This guide gives you everything you need to know about the best online casinos Canada has to offer in one place – here is how the information is laid out.
- Canadian Online Casinos and the Law: Canadian laws, US banking laws and the independent territory of Kahnawake are covered in this section.
- Taxes on Casino Winnings: Do Canadian players need to report their wins on tax returns?
- Deposit Methods: How the laws impact depositing and withdrawing.
- Casino Bonuses: What kind of online casino bonuses are available in Canada?
- Popular Casino Games: Covering slots, live dealer games and more
How the Law Affects Online Casinos in Canada
Before 1970, all forms of gambling were illegal in Canada, though it took until 1985 before the liberal regimen we know today would take shape. This was the date when jurisdiction over gambling was handed to the provinces. It enabled the first brick and mortar casinos, and the first lotteries.
That 1985 law, which obviously pre-dates online casinos in Canada, still holds. It was updated in 2010. This made crimes such as running a gambling house into ‘serious’ offenses – with the potential for jail time if caught.
Today’s accepted interpretation of the Canadian gambling law is as follows:
- Running an online casino or poker room is not legal for private companies or individuals
- Playing with real money at an online casino in Canada is legal
More recently, provinces including BC and Ontario have created their own casinos (alongside limited sports betting options and lotteries). There are currently no laws in process to restrict players from the international brands in these provinces.
There is also the role of Kahnawake. This is a sovereign native territory inside Canada. The Mohawk tribe who live there run gaming servers and award licenses for Canadian online casinos. This allows the servers to be closer to the players (speeding things up).
How US Gambling Laws Impact Casino Sites in Canada
While the US does not have any direct jurisdiction, their laws have an indirect impact on Canadian casino players. Primarily, this is the UIGEA law, passed in 2006. That makes banking transactions to online casinos illegal (to or from the USA) – though does prevent individual players from enjoying real money games.
Canadian banks including TD and RBC have extensive networks south of the border. In order to avoid breaking the US laws, they restrict credit and debit card purchases for Canadian players to online casinos. Payment brands including Skrill also won’t support casino deposits and withdrawals to Canadians.
As you’ll see below, this is a nuisance, though there are plenty of alternative ways to move your money around.
Do Canadian Players Need to Pay Taxes on Casino Winnings?
For online and brick and mortar casino players, Canada counts wins as ‘windfalls’. This puts the money in the same category as a lottery win or sweepstakes jackpot – in other words not subject to tax.
The only time the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) will get involved is when someone is deemed to be a professional gambler. Poker players who make their sole living from online games can be classified this way. Here winnings are counted as business income. On the positive side, travel and other expenses could be deducted!
Live Casinos in Canada
This section outlines the various brick and mortar casinos by province. Unlike the United States where there are thousands of casinos across the country, Canada has less than 300, with the province of Prince Edward Island having only one. The majority of the casinos are in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.
10 of the Biggest Brick and Mortar Casinos in Canada
- Casino Rama Resort: 5899 Rama Rd, Orillia, ON L3V 6H6 – Phone +1 (800)-832-7529
- Woodbine Raceway: 555 Rexdale Blvd, Etobicoke, ON M9W 5L2 +1 (416) 675-7223
- Casino Niagara: 5705 Falls Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6T3 +1 (888)-325-5788
- Casino de Montréal: 1 Avenue du Casino, Montréal, QC H3C 4W7 +1 (514) 392-2746
- Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino: 377 Riverside Dr E, Windsor, ON N9A 7H7 +1 (800)-991-7777
- River Cree Resort and Casino: 300 E Lapotac Blvd, Edmonton, AB T7X 3Y3 +1 (780) 484-2121
- River Rock Casino Resort: 8811 River Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 3P8 +1 (604) 247-8900
- Casino Regina Show Lounge: 1880 Saskatchewan Dr, Regina, SK S4P 0B2 +1 (800)-555-3189
- Casino Nova Scotia: 1983 Upper Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 3Y5 +1-(902) 425-7777
- Pure Canadian Gaming: 7055 Argyll Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 4A5 +1 (780) 465-5377
Online Casinos in Canada: Deposit and Withdrawal Methods
With the banking restrictions in place, you’ll need to know how best to move your money around. Here are the key payment methods used by Canadian casino fans:
Visa / MasterCard: Many banks will block deposits to casinos using your regular cards. This is patchy, sometimes the transactions go straight through – other people report constant blocks. Prepaid Visa cards work, as will virtual ones. If your bank card or credit card gets declined, you have several more options.
Interac / Citadel: These 3rd party gateways are designed to provide security between your bank account and online merchants. Since they can be used for shopping as well as gambling, the transactions will go through no problem.
PaySafeCard / UKash: These prepaid voucher systems are a great bet if you want to keep your banking and casino gambling separate.
PayPal / eWallets: This can be tricky, with many electronic wallets no longer serving Canadian gamblers. New brands and mobile payment systems often pop up to fill the gap.
For withdrawing your winnings, you can take a bank transfer, a check (paper or electronic) or use an electronic wallet.
What Kind of Bonus Offers Can Canadian Players Expect?
Canadian players have the best of all worlds, with most of the big international brands welcoming them, the competition for your CAD is huge. Bonus deals on offer range from free play with no-deposit needed to matched deposit bonuses worth $1000’s.
Below is a list of the kind of casino bonuses you will find – after than some important notes on terms and conditions that some less than reputable casinos include with their offers!
- No Deposit Bonuses: These take the form of either free spins on slots or free play where you choose which games to play. Many casinos offer these simply for signing up, with the deal restricted to one per household / individual. These ‘teaser’ deals usually have restrictions on what you can cash out. If you look carefully you might find some free spins offers which allow you to win big progressive jackpots.
- Matched Welcome Bonuses: This is the primary ‘headline’ offer you will see at all casinos. This can be a one-off match based on your first deposit, or it can be split into pieces for up to 5 deposits after you join. 100% and 200% offers are common, with some casinos going even bigger than this.
- Extra Deposit Free Spins: While the no-deposit free spins are usually a small number, some casinos offer up to 100 (sometimes more) free slot spins after you deposit. You’ll need to play-though any winnings in the same way you would a matched bonus. Sometimes you’ll find free chips for Live Dealer games as well.
- Tournament Entries: Slots tournaments are a lot of fun, and some casinos will let you enter these as part of a bonus package. Prize pools are small.
- Loyalty / Comp Schemes: This form of casino bonus can keep your bankroll topped up long after your welcome offer is completed. Expect cash back or the ability to buy bonuses with the points you collect. Many of these schemes work in tiers, where you get bigger rewards as you climb through the levels.
- Reload Bonuses: Another extra for regular players. If you lose your bankroll, an extra bonus for a reload can be very welcome. These are often tied to specific types of game on different days.
- One-Off Promotions / Offers: The best Canadian casino sites keep things interesting by offering new promos on a regular basis. I recommend you check out the previous promos before you sign up and make sure that regular players are well looked after.
Bonus Terms to Watch Out for at Canadian Casinos
Before you go ahead and grab the biggest headline bonus available to Canadians – make sure you are familiar with some key terms. Not all casino bonuses are equal, with some important distinctions
First, some bonuses can be withdrawn, and others can’t. This is important, a big bonus which simply sits in your casino account can be used for play – though the first time you withdraw any winnings it will disappear.
Second, bonuses which can be withdrawn are subject to a play-though (wagering) requirement. This shows the number of times you need to gamble the bonus plus deposit amount before you can withdraw. Compare this for different casinos before you commit to one bonus.
Finally, if you enjoy table games, then check the ‘weightings’ assigned to each game for the bonus clearance. Most casinos weight (or even exclude) table games, though there is a lot of variation between the operators.
If you stick to the reputable real money casinos featured here, tricks and traps hidden in bonus terms will not be an issue!
What Games Can I Play at Canadian Online Casinos?
You found a reputable casino that welcomes players from Canada, checked out the deposit options and bonus terms – next, you’ll need to explore the selection of games.
These days, online casinos collect the best games from many different sources. These include blackjack, slots, roulette, live dealer rooms and more. Here is a summary:
This is the most popular table game and comes in a lot of different formats. One distinction is whether the game uses US rules (dealer peeks at the hidden card) or European rules (dealer has one card only until all players have acted).
You’ll find single deck, double deck, multi-hand, multi-player and games with pro level graphics and animations online. Many of these have side-bets like ‘Perfect Pairs’ or extra bets involving 7’s. Rules variations also cover how many times you can split, whether you can double after a split and whether you can surrender.
All this variety is just the standard blackjack games. Online casinos offer many quirky variations based on this game. Examples include Spanish 21, Zappit Blackjack, Super Fun 21, Pontoon and more.
Unlike in the US, all the major slot software makers license their games to Canadian casinos. This gives you a choice of 1000’s of titles. The exact mix at each casino will depend on the software used.
Most slots have 5 reels these days, and you can expect entertaining themes, bonus features and often stunning graphics and animations. Many slots are created for online casinos – though you can also play popular live casino slots from big names like Aristocrat and IGT.
Look out for slot games with progressive jackpots. These can get huge when linked between several online casinos with life-changing money regularly won online.
If you prefer a traditional feel to your slot gaming, then classic 3-reel games can also be found at online casinos.
Virtual roulette tables allow you to bet on your lucky numbers at your own pace – or to try out new betting strategies. You’ll find 3 main types of roulette games, along with some entertaining variations.
The main wheels are the US and European versions. These are easy to tell apart. US wheels have both a single and a double zero, while the European wheel has only a single zero. If you want to keep the house edge as low as possible, you should always choose the European wheel. Better still, find a Canadian online casino offering French roulette. This returns half of your bet for 50 / 50 bets only when the ball lands on the zero – reducing the house edge further.
Other roulette variations include Mini-roulette (with a smaller wheel) and pinball roulette.
Live Dealer Casino Games:
Canadian casino fans now have access to live casino games. These are a hybrid, you’ll bet online using your PC or mobile device, and watch a real dealer in real time spin a roulette wheel or deal cards.
This is slower than playing against the software, though does have a social feel – and puts any nagging doubts about the fairness of the deal to rest. Live dealer studios include blackjack, roulette, baccarat and several casino poker game variations.
Once you try them, it is difficult to go back to the old software versions.
If You Have a Gambling Problem: Where to Go For Help
While we provide readers with information on the best casinos online Canada has to offer, we also want to make sure readers know where to go for help. Gambling is addictive and we encourage everyone to gamble responsibly and seek help when needed.
|Province / Territory||Name||Website|
|British Columbia||BC Responsible Gaming||bcresponsiblegambling.ca|
|Alberta||Problem Gambling Alberta||problemgamblingalberta.ca|
|British Columbia||Gamblers Anonymous BC||gabc.ca|
|Saskatchewan||Saskatchewan Gambling Helpline||spgh.ca|
|Nova Scotia||Gambling Support Network||gamblingsupportnetwork.ca|
|New Brunswick||GA New Brunswick||saintjohn.cioc.ca|
|Newfoundland & Labradour||Gambling Addiction Resources||communitysector.nl.ca|
|P.E.I||P.E.I Support Line||princeedwardisland.ca|
|Northwest Territories||Community Counselling Program||+1 (800) 661-0830|
|Nunavut||Kamatsiaqtut Help Line||+1 (800) 265-3333|
Wrapping Up: Choosing the Best Real Money Casino in Canada
Canadians have the best of all worlds. Online gambling sites are 100% legal for players, and the operators are happy to welcome you from outside the country. With so much competition out there, finding a reputable brand with a big welcome bonus offer is easy.
Once you identify a reputable real money casino, you’ll find a huge choice of slots, table games and live dealer options to choose from.