Canada: Practical Online Gambling Guide

Before online gambling became a thing, questions related to casinos in Canada remained fairly simple. They were about whether or not it was legal to gamble and where can one go and wager real money. 

Now, though, with the local and international industries offering a variety of websites to players from Canada, and considering all the licenses, restrictions, and exceptions, as well as a variety of services, it is fairly easy for a newbie to get lost at first. This is why we are offering this detailed roadmap to gambling online in Canada.

In this review, we will be covering all the burning and frequently asked questions, including:

  • Which out of 1,000s of online casinos should Canadian gamblers trust?
  • What are the things a newbie has to know when choosing an online operator based on the available banking?
  • Why is it important to choose certified online operators over other casinos?
  • What should a player do if an online operator delays payouts or cancels payouts altogether?

For your convenience, we have broken the publication into sections dedicated to legal questions, payments, promotions, and recommended software. Plus, we have included links to some of the best Canada-friendly online operators — both local and international. So, without further ado, here are all the answers you’ve been willing to know about getting started in the world of online gambling.

Our Take on Gambling in Canada

Luckily for Canadians, online gambling in this country is accessible, regulated, and the local and international industries both offer lots of great online operators to choose from. What is more, in terms of international platforms being adapted to Canadian traffic, things look really good. The majority of the cashiers have CAD and at least one payment method convenient for players from this country (namely Interac, iDebit, Jeton, InstaDebit). Plus, players from the reviewed country will be able to enjoy an array of the live dealer and slot games from the best and most popular suppliers from around the globe.


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Licensing and Legality

In Canada, online gambling is legal and regulated. The rules regarding the availability of certain games in online lobbies will depend on the provinces. This leads to online operators adjusting their services and content accordingly. 

For instance, Net Entertainment received a license in British Columbia and residents of this area will be able to play the studio’s iconic slots, such as Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst. At the same time, games from this studio will be excluded from the online lobbies of the provinces where the studio did not apply for certification.

On our list of Canada-friendly online casinos, there are more than 400 sites welcoming players from this country, and they have diverse licenses. The one regulator that we would say hits closest to home (and is actually located within the country) is the jurisdiction of Kahnawake. Established in 1996, the Commission of Kahnawake regulates gambling-related questions and authorizes online casinos, poker, and sportsbooks, as well as land-based games of chance. Check our special list of sites licensed in Kahnawake to choose among 30+ locations.

Needless to say that the rest of Canadian provinces and territories may also have their regulators that authorized sites for the local communities of gamblers. But we would also like to point out that an array of international licensors also allow the sites that they certify to accept players from the reviewed country. The list includes Malta-supervised lobbies and websites with Curacao permits, among others.

Yes, quite a few regulators (we are talking only about certified websites when answering this question) will issue licenses specifically for players from their countries, thus restricting access to lobbies for clients from other jurisdictions. A website with a permit from UKGC will be available only to the Brits. At the same time, should this website have additional Maltese or other licenses that are friendly to Canadian traffic, the platform will immediately become available to Canadians. 

Once upon a time, when the online gambling industry only started, there was hardly any talk about regulating this process. With time, however, the communities of gamblers have spoken, and the industry started becoming more structured.

There are still lots of online casinos that have no licenses. Quite a few of them even manage to treat their players right. Overall, though, a website with a license is always better. To get one, the managing team has to jump through hoops to prove it is legit, reliable, has enough backup funds, and is ready to follow all the strictest guidelines to ensure its players receive the best services.

A licensed website pays a hefty fee to receive and then to prolong a permit, which it can lose should a commission find enough evidence that a platform started choosing rogue practices. Players can always count on a third-party issue resolver in case of non-payments, questionable bonus T&C, and other matters. In other words, choosing a licensed lobby is always a safer bet.

KYC stands for Know Your Customer, and it means that a website has the right to ask its registered members for additional verification by making a player submit proof of identity and address. The KYC is there to help online casinos monitor their gamblers and to timely spot customers from non-accepted countries or those who are under the age of gambling. Depending on the platform, it will ask a player to pass the KYC either prior to the initial deposit or when the first withdrawal is made.

Canadian players will not need to pass KYC on all the sites where they are accepted. This will depend on a permit that an online operator has. For instance, many Curacao-authorized sites will not have a KYC, while MGA makes this procedure mandatory for the brands that it regulates.

We recommend steering clear of using a VPN and tampering with registration. Let’s say that you did manage to pass through the registration filters and even got to win some real money. However, when the cashout time comes and you are asked to pass the KYC, the truth will come out, leading to all sorts of penalties. One of them is you losing both the wins and the funds deposited.

Banking and Payments

Banking is the cornerstone of any online gaming platform. This is why, when writing our casino reviews, we always focus on the targeted demographics of particular platforms and the banking that they have to offer. The most frequent situations where banking problems happen are with cashouts. 

If you have spotted a great international lobby that claims it works with Canadians, check out its cashier first. Does it accept CAD? Are there convenient payment methods? Will you be able to withdraw the funds in case of a win?

Plus, we recommend checking the minimum and maximum withdrawal limits. Sometimes a platform sets unrealistic minimums, stating up to 500 CAD for a minimum wire cashout. Or, if you are a high roller, it is unlikely that you will be satisfied with the maximum monthly cashouts capped at 5,000 CAD.

It all depends on your preferences. If you feel more comfortable using CAD and fiat banking methods, then this can be the best choice for you.

At the same time, if you feel curious about exploring new payments, it could not hurt to check what crypto payments have to offer. 1000s of players around the world enjoy gambling in BTC or other currencies. Many clients find crypto to be cheaper in terms of transactional fees and faster when it comes to withdrawals. In terms of safety, every popular blockchain has a set of protocols that secure transactions no worse than the banks do.

There are lots of great platforms that took time in adjusting their cashiers to the needs of players from Canada. By adjusting we mean including CAD in the list of accepted currencies and featuring popular local payment methods.

For instance, if you are used to paying via Interac Online, there are more than 50 great platforms that we can recommend, including MondCasino. If you prefer InstaDebit, check Sloty Casino, among others. Plus, plenty of online operators have Jeton among their payments, or support banking via iDebit. 

Follow the algorithm suggested by the T&C of an online casino or receive the guidelines from the help desk. Usually, the first step of arguing one’s side is creating a ticket within the selected gambling platform. If you believe that your issue was not resolved, you can take it a level higher, getting assistance from the licensor or the listed third party for the casino in question involved.

As precautionary measures, we always recommend playing only in licensed casinos and preferrably those that have a good track record of comments across the gambling forums and portals.

Cryptocurrency wins. Receiving wins to crypto wallets can take between one hour to 24 hours. In rare cases, fiat wallets can catch up with the 24-hour speed. Cards, bank transfers, and checks will take from three workdays.

A lot will also depend on the pending time that the platform reserves, as well as on the KYC. These two can add up to 72 hours to the time that you wait for your wins.

In most cases, deposits will be free from fees. Casinos are charged by the banking supplier but they do not charge their clients. Certain banking suppliers can add fees on deposits, though. Cards usually add up to 2.5% in charges to any payment.

Withdrawals almost always have additional fees added to them, either by an online operator or by a banking method. E-wallets are among the exceptions. Cryptocurrencies can also be fee-free.

Promotions and Bonuses

No, neither of the so-called free bonuses are actually free. For every set of free spins that you receive, there will be the rollover requirements (sometimes going up to 90xB), which means that you will need to roll the cash that you have won from the free spins over times the amount stated by the casino in order to complete the terms.

If you are looking for an online operator with free spins deals, check out SlotsRoom.

No-deposit bonuses are a great marketing tool to attract new players. Without fear of losing money or as a simple way to test out the services, newbies can claim cash or free spins (depending on what the platform supports). The deal is always subject to the rollover requirements, though. And while you will not be asked to make any deposit, you will still need to create an account. Among others, 888 Casino has no-deposit propositions for Canadian players.

Deposit bonuses are credited as a cash match to the amount that you have decided to deposit. So, let’s say, you are getting started with a deposit of 20 CAD in an online operator that offers a 100% welcome cash match. This means that in addition to the 20 CAD you’ve added to the account, you will receive another 20 CAD from an online operator. And you will then need to fulfill the rollover requirements to benefit from the bonus.

For starters, rarely any promotion will have no wagering requirements or T&C. Even those newest bonuses that are currently trending in the industry, where the operators say that 0 rollover requirements apply, will still have terms and conditions.

A bonus is usually limited to either a cohort of games (most frequently, it is slots, and in rarer occasions, live games) or games from a certain developer. The operator will always let you know the number of times you will need to wager a bonus or deposit amount (or both amounts) for the rollover requirements to be complete.

Plus, there are always deadlines. They are usually shorter for free spins, and longer for cash match offers. The maximum bets can be capped at 5 CAD or more/less. These are the most basic things that you will need to familiarize yourself with. We always recommend reading full T&C for the deal prior to claiming one.

VIP programs are a great way for online operators to motivate players to come back and play because the competition between different gambling lobbies is fierce. 

There are two types of VIP systems. The first one is where the rules are clearly laid out. In order to become a privileged player, you will need to accumulate a certain amount of bonus points. Across other platforms, VIP programs can be available by invitation only, and most probably, it will mean that the teams are looking for a certain level of investment that a player makes prior to becoming a potential VIP customer.

Regardless of the way you got in, all of the bonuses within the VIP program will still be subject to the rollover requirements. Plus, and this is something that we recommend clearing up in advance, some VIP clubs may require you to maintain a certain level of deposits within a month or a quarter in order to remain a privileged player.

Generally, players from Canada will qualify in most of the lobbies, including international ones. The main sign that you can count on a bonus deal is it being offered on the website in CAD. At the same time, quite a few gambling platforms that accept international traffic can restrict certain countries from claiming bonuses. So, if you feel like you enjoy the sign-up offer but are not sure Canada qualifies for it, the fastest way to get answers is from the help desk representatives.

Games and Software

Plenty of studios are acknowledged around the world will be available for Canadians. In the lobbies that accept players from the reviewed country, we often come across Net Entertainment, Wazdan, Endorphina, iSoftBet, BetSoft, Pragmatic Play, and Quickspin, to mention a few. These companies are known for producing diverse reeled adventures and non-live table games.

When it comes to MGA-licensed brands, content from Evolution Gaming will be available to Canadians in all of its diversity, including live roulette, blackjack, baccarat, table pokers, and game shows. In Curacao-licensed lobbies, you will also come across live casino software by Ezugi — another great supplier. Plus, there are lots of lotteries and Keno from BetGames TV and unusual live releases from Atmosfera.

Megaways is a technology that allows creating reels with changing paylines. Per spin, the number of paylines can vary from a couple hundred to 100,000+. The grid has seven reels. This technology was invented by BTG and later patented by a lot of content suppliers, including Red Tiger, NetEnt, Blueprint, iSoftBet, and Yggdrasil Gaming.

Our database has reviews of more than 7,000 reeled adventures, many of them taking place in the winter landscapes or inspired by Indigenous people. Adjust the search filters on our Games page and you will definitely come across plenty of great Canada-themed content.

When choosing a slot, the first and the easiest parameters to check are the game’s theme, story, and genre. The reeled adventure can be classic (usually, fruit slots are not rich in bonus features), video, or progressive. Then, if you have particular favorite winning features, check for their availability, too. Some of the most popular winning mechanisms are free spins, Wild cards, multipliers, and bonus rounds.

Of course, math matters, too. Two of the common parameters important for slots are their RTP and volatility levels. RTP stands for return to player percentage, and for slots, it should be above 96.5%. Volatility is the frequency and amount of payouts. A game can pay out frequently, but in small amounts, or it can play more money but it will take more spins to deliver you these wins.

Finally, depending on whether you are a low or a high roller, it can be helpful to check the slot’s minimum and maximum bets, as well as the advertised payouts.

Currently, the selection of live content is huge. So, atmosphere-wise, you can sort this content by games streamed from the custom-built studios (Evolution Gaming is the master of such streams) or from land-based venues (Ezugi does it, and so does Vivo Gaming). 

Then, decide on whether you would like a game of chance and a simple experience (Andar Bahar, roulette, baccarat, and Dragon Tiger are among the games that require no advanced skills), or a game that will call for using some strategies (like blackjack or table pokers). Then, there are also game shows that can differ dramatically from classic table games but can still lead to wins.

Depending on whether you are a low or a high roller, you will probably want to opt-in for classic or VIP variations of games. A few of them, like Caribbean Stud by Evolution Gaming, can also be progressive.

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