Is Online Gambling Legal In Canada?

Is Online Gambling Legal In Canada

Welcome to Worst Casino Reviews blog. In this guide, we are going to discuss how legal online gambling is in Canada and whether or not you should be worried. We’ll cover everything from the history of gambling in Canada to where exactly you can go and do your online gambling.

How Legal Is Online Gambling In Canada?

Online Casino Games in Canada are both legal and illegal. While many European countries have adapted their gambling laws to involve online gambling, Canada has done no such thing.
In short, it is illegal to operate an online casino in Canada without a gambling license but, at the same time, Canada will not issue any gambling licenses.

This might seem like Canadian Citizens are not allowed to gamble online but that’s really not the case. While the law forbids players to play at gambling sites within Canada, nowhere in the rules does it say that Canadian players are forbidden from gambling at offshore sites.

Canadian Gambling Laws

Canadian Gambling Laws

It’s only a matter of time until an official Canadian law is issued regarding how legal online gambling is within the state. Until then, Canadian players are stuck in a stalemate. Nothing is stopping anyone from making an online Casino in Canada but unless that casino is officially licensed and regulated by the Canadian gambling commission, it cannot operate.

At the same time, the Canadian Government does not issue any gambling licenses. It’s the equivalent of you need X to run a casino and even though we can give you X, we aren’t going to give you X.
It’s obvious that online gambling isn’t going anywhere and that the Canadian regulatory body will soon have no choice but to adapt its laws towards online casinos. Until it does, Canadian players have found solace in offshore gambling.

Moreover, certain local laws and provincial gaming authorities tend to be more restrictive than federal law itself. For example, the Ontario Gaming Law and the City Bans on Gaming make it harder for players in Ontario to place bets in many online casinos.

Canadian Criminal Code

While the Canadian Criminal Code clearly states that Internet-based gambling in Canada is illegal, nowhere in the code does it say that Canadian players can’t enjoy playing online poker or online horse racing bets from offshore gambling sites.

This is often referred to as the “grey area” of Canadian online gambling. Even though the issue was addressed multiple times, the Canadian government has never addressed how illegal offshore gambling is. Until a final decision has been made, Canadian players have been enjoying offshore gambling sites for many years and nothing bad has ever happened to them. Almost all offshore online casinos in the gaming industry are more than happy to accept payment from players from Canada and the government is yet to say “No”.

In short, it is illegal for players from Canada to gamble at online casinos that are based within the country, however, it is legal for players from Canada to play at offshore online casinos.

Check out our blog how to play online poker in Canada.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The only exception to this rule is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. This mohawk territory is very much located in Canada (on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River) is technically not part of the Canadian Government and can therefore issue its own gambling license.

In a way, this territory that is physically located on Canadian soil is able to bypass the gambling laws of Canada. Unfortunately, for various reasons, many online software providers and online casino owners have chosen to avoid doing business with them.

History of Gambling in Canada

History of Gambling in Canada

Gambling in Canada is as old as the country itself. While many believe that the first Canadian explorers played card games to pass the time, historians believe that even native Canadians engaged in some forms of gambling games using sticks and stones.

Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that the Great White North is no stranger to gambling. When brick and mortar casinos and sports betting shops started appearing all over the world, Canada followed suit. Of course, just like with any form of entertainment that involved money, certain laws and gambling legislation had to be implemented.

Nowadays, both brick and mortar casino games and sports betting is very much available to Canadian players as the country has an, almost, open-door policy to it. The only exception is Online Gaming/Gambling.

Best Canadian Online Gaming Sites

Best Canadian Online Gaming Sites

As we have already mentioned, there aren’t any land-based online casinos in Canada. The only type of online casino where players from Canada will be able to play would be an offshore gambling site located somewhere else. Here is a list of some of our favourite offshore online casinos that accept players from Canada:

Is Sports Betting Legal in Canada?

Just like the gambling laws of casinos (and online casinos), the sports betting laws are severely outdated and are in need of an update. According to the laws and regulations of British Columbia, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 (19) to place bets at brick and mortar betting shops.

While this law is very much self-explanatory, nowhere in its rules and regulations does it mention online sports betting. As a result, seemingly everything is allowed when it comes to online sports betting in Canada.

Just like with online casino gaming, no law also forbids players from Canada from placing bets at offshore online sports betting sites.

The Sports Betting Industry in Canada

On June 22, 2021, the Canadian Senate voted in favour of allowing single-event sports gambling in Canada. While this isn’t very relevant to online sports betting, it is still a good sign of what is to come in the sports betting industry.

Canadian citizens have shown that they are willing to adapt their laws to allow more forms of sports betting so we are hopeful that more positive changes are in store for online sports betting as well.

Canadian Laws For Online Sports Betting

As we have already stated, the Canadian Laws for sports betting were made to exclusively accommodate brick and mortar betting shops. Unfortunately, they haven’t been updated in quite some time but that didn’t prevent the sports betting industry from evolving. While it’s clear what you can and cannot do inside your local betting shop, there is almost nothing preventing you from betting from home using the Internet.

There are also no mentions of how legal or illegal it is for gambling at offshore betting sites. Until an updated law has been passed, players from Canada can enjoy almost restrictions-free access to all online sports betting sites both provincial and offshore.

Best Online Gambling Sites for Sports Betting

Down below you can find a list of some of our favourite Canadian Online Sports Betting Sites:

  • Bet365 – Lots of bonuses available.
  • BetWay – C$30 in free bets
  • Pinnacle – Best odds, high limits
  • 888 Sport – 100% up to C$100
  • BetVictor – Bet C$5 get C$30

How We Select the Best Canadian Betting Sites

When we select the best betting sites we like to take a couple of things into consideration. We start by asking: “What can this betting site offer us that others cannot?” Usually, the answer to this is better casino bonuses.

While one casino can give us a 100% bonus for our first deposit, another can improve our casino winnings by 200 or even 300%. Obviously, higher numbers don’t always mean better payouts as wagering can play a huge role.

Reliability is something that we also carefully consider. While we are no strangers to placing our trust in new betting sites, a reliable and reputable betting site is probably going to be a much safer choice.

Online sports betting is a huge business that involves a lot of money and many people are trying to get in on it (and often not for the right reasons). A positive word of mouth can travel a long way but a bad one will be heard much further.

Money Transactions at Legal Online Casinos

Money Transactions at Legal Online Casinos

Online payment is something that we go through on a daily basis. Whether it’s ordering an online delivery, paying for your electricity bill or buying digital products, online money transactions have become a very convenient way of acquiring goods and services.

With online gambling already being so convenient, it’s no wonder that so many payment methods are available. Whether players prefer paying using their credit or debit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers or cryptocurrency, casinos are no strangers to online payment methods.

Deposit Methods

When we talk about payment methods, we are mostly talking about how players from Canada can deposit their funds onto an online casino/sports betting account. While withdrawing money from a gambling website is usually a straightforward process, we will mostly be focusing on the initial part of online gambling in Canada. Players from Canada have a wide variety of choices when it comes to depositing money and we are going to list some of the most popular ones.


By far, the most popular and widely accepted payment method in the world for both brick-and-mortar and online payments. Using Visa as a deposit method for online casinos is pretty straightforward. Players simply need to enter their 16 digit front code, the expiration date and the 3 numbers on the back of their credit card and they should be good to go.

The only problem with using Visa as a payment method is that banks can charge transaction fees with each transaction. Another issue that some casino players might face is how withdrawing money does tend to take longer than other payment methods.


Just like Visa, Mastercard is another widely accepted payment method. While not as popular as Visa, most online casinos will gladly accept your Mastercard as payment. The procedure is the same, simply enter your 16 digit code, the expiration date and the three hidden numbers and you will be ready to claim that welcome bonus.

Just like with Visa, banks and online casinos alike can also charge a transaction fee for using this payment method so make sure you read the payment details before you make any transactions.


In the past, using your credit cards for direct payment has been a risky procedure. If you entered your credit card information directly onto an online site, you were at the mercy of the receiving party. Quite often, online businesses would often not deliver the goods that they promised or would even steal your entire credit card information and money. This led to the rise of e-wallets, such as Paypal, Neteller, Skrill, etc.

Even though online internet payments and security have come a long way, many people still prefer to use e-wallets for extra security. Users simply need to link their credit card or bank account with an e-wallet and use it as a middle-man for all their transactions.

Naturally, each transaction done using an e-wallet will have a transaction fee but when you consider the added security (including full refunds should things go south), this is an easy trade-off.


This payment method is the equivalent of writing an online cheque. When users use Instadebit for an online casino deposit they will need to log into their Instadebit account, from there, they will proceed to write an online cheque that will be linked to their bank account. While Instadebit doesn’t necessarily work like an e-wallet it’s similar enough in terms of usability and safety.


If the idea of using your bank account or anything linked makes you feel uncomfortable then the Paysafecard may be the perfect solution. This prepaid payment method is perfect for online gaming as it requires no bank account and no credit cards.

You simply purchase the card from your local newsagent with the funds already on it and you will be ready to make your first deposit. Once you run out of funds, you simply go back to the same newsagent’s or any of the other 600,000 worldwide available locations and deposit some more. Unfortunately, using this payment method is a one-way street as withdrawals to your Paysafecard aren’t possible.


Bank Transfers are notorious for being slow and expensive, especially in the world of online gambling. Interac is a form of bank transfer, exclusive to Canada, that remedies this process somewhat. While it technically works the same way as regular bank transfers work, Interac adds speed, reliability and security to the mix to offer a better alternative.

Transactions take much less than regular bank transfers and users can enjoy the extra security and the ability to refund or cancel their transactions. While not the perfect solution for making online deposits at online casinos, this is still a reliable way of transferring money between casino players and online casinos.


Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are slowly but surely becoming the most preferred payment methods for online transactions. It’s no wonder why given how secure blockchain technology is as well as how easy setting up a crypto wallet is.

While not all online casinos that are available to Canadian players will accept cryptocurrencies, many brand new online casinos will happily accept several forms of crypto payments. Every single online casino that accepts cryptocurrencies will accept Bitcoin and Ethereum and many others will also accept Litecoin, Tether and Dogecoin. Many Bitcoin casinos will also accept lesser-known cryptocurrencies.

The Future of Online Casino Sites And Sports Betting in Canada

The Future of Online Casino Sites And Sports Betting in Canada

As we have already stated, the Canadian Senate has recently passed a new law to allow single-event sports gambling. Clearly, the government of Canada is active and well aware that changes and improvements need to be made in the world of the Canadian online gaming scene and we are hopeful that more changes will be coming soon.

As far as online casino gaming is concerned we will simply wait and see. While the current state of online casino gaming is not against Canadian casino players, it is clear that a new law related to online gambling needs to be passed. How much will it positively and negatively affect players from Canada remains to be seen. Hopefully, it will not be as rigorous as USA online gambling laws.

Responsible Gambling

The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping problem gamblers by offering advice, help and prevention in online gaming. While it is not mandatory for online casinos and sports betting sites to be associated with RGC, you can often find their logo at the bottom of homepages.

Websites that are RGC friendly will give their players various options so that they can enjoy their favourite money games without the fear of going overboard. Things like financial limits, reality check tests, time-out periods and self-exclusion are all part of the Responsible Gambling Council preventives.

If you feel like you might have a problem with real money games, picking an online casino/sports betting site with the RGC logo might be in your best interest.

Online Gambling In Canada Summary

There are no laws in Canada that say online gambling is illegal. Even though Canada has laws that state that online gambling sites can’t be situated in Canada, there is no legal risk at hand. As of writing this, not a single person in Canada has been prosecuted for gambling at an online casino and we feel like this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

While it’s only a matter of time before the government of Canada gives in and updates its laws regarding online gambling, there’s nothing preventing Canadian players from enjoying gambling online. So open up an online casino account and enjoy some of the best online casinos out there! Play your favourite casino games using secure payment methods and see where your luck takes you.

dice title stripLinden Smith


"Linden is a professional and independent casino reviewer. Writer. Internet guru. Infuriatingly humble beer lover. Unapologetic coffee fan. He started cooperating with Worst Casino Reviews from the very start, writing unbiased casino reviews. He was born in 1984, Montréal, Québec."