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Is Online Gambling Illegal in Canada?

01-07-2021

Online gambling as a hobby is becoming more popular than ever in Canada, but there’s still a lot of confusion over what the law says on this matter. While a lot of Canadians have been enjoying online casinos and sports betting, some people are still under the impression that it’s illegal to take part in any form of online gambling. This isn’t the case, however, and gambling online is actually totally legal.

What Does the Law Actually Say?

The Canadian Criminal Code outlines the criminal laws and procedures that apply in Canada. This code mentions online gambling in part VIII, saying that online gambling operations within Canada aren’t permitted, although a few exceptions are listed. What this means is that online casinos and sportsbooks can’t operate in Canada. However, it doesn’t forbid Canadian players from enjoying any online casino game at an offshore online casino.

In other words, the law allows players to enjoy all forms of online gambling, provided they’re not playing at a Canadian site, with the only exceptions being sites licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. This is a regulatory body that was set up in 1996 to regulate and license any form of gambling in the Mohawk Territory. Today, the commission has licensed over fifty different casino operators and ensures that these sites follow the rules to provide safe and fair gambling.

Are Offshore Online Casinos Safe?

Because Canadian law explicitly states that online gambling sites can operate within the country, players wanting to enjoy online casino games or sports betting have to choose from one of the offshore sites that accept Canadian players. Some players might be a little way of this, but provided they choose a licensed site with a good reputation, there’s no danger.

Canadian gamblers don’t face any legal risks by joining an offshore site, and there’s never been a case of a player being prosecuted for online gambling in Canada. Therefore, the only possible risk of playing at an offshore casino is that you lose money by playing at an untrustworthy site. To pick a good online casino and ensure you can play the games with the best odds, you need to look for a license from a proper gambling authority. Examples include:

• UK Gambling Commission – The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is one of the strictest gambling authorities that imposes a lot of rules to protect players and their funds. A license from this authority is a great sign that the site is legit and will treat you well.
• Malta Gaming Authority – Malta Gaming Authority licenses are extremely popular, and most of the top offshore sites that accept Canadian players have one. A license from this authority means that the site is secure, and all of the games have been tested as fair.
• Kahnawake Gaming Commission – The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is based in Mohawk Territory within Canada and provides licenses for online casinos and sportsbooks all over the world. Canadian players can rest assured that the site they’re playing at is safe if it has a license from this organization.
• Gibraltar Gambling Commission – Gibraltar is a British overseas territory that has had a strong presence in the online gambling industry over the last few years. It provides licensing for online casinos and sportsbooks, performing strict checks and controls on any site it licenses.


Aside from ensuring that games are fair, gambling authorities usually make sure that casinos aren’t offering gambling to those with an addiction. Through enforcement of these rules, most online casinos will have to provide responsible gambling tools such as deposit and time limits that help players control how much they play. On top of this, some gambling authorities will also make sure that player funds are protected in case the casino becomes insolvent. This is very important, as it prevents players from potentially losing their money.

Do Canadian Gamblers Pay Tax On Winnings?

The issue with taxation on gambling winnings in Canada isn’t completely black and white. Although most winnings aren’t taxed, some may be subject to taxes. In general, any money you win from gambling at an online casino won’t be taxed, as it’s considered a hobby. Those who are gambling professionally may be subject to paying taxes on money they win, however.




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