Online Gambling Laws in Canada

Different countries around the world have different legal approaches to gambling in general, and online gambling in particular. In Canada, it is often thought of as a legal grey area. While many forms of offline gambling are perfectly legal, the online gambling laws are a bit unclear. This is because gambling falls under provincial jurisdiction, but the Internet does not pay attention to provincial boundaries. But never fear: we have laid out a clear guide to the online casino laws in Canada, so you don’t have to worry that your next spin of the slot machine online is going to get you arrested.

Canadian Online Gambling Laws

Up until the 1970s, gambling laws in Canada were very strict. Today, they are much more relaxed. Online gambling laws however, are a little more complex. Some provinces offer their own online casinos, and you can rest assured that these are perfectly legal. It is also legal all over Canada to purchase lottery tickets online. However, online gambling is illegal in Canada if the online casino you use is not licensed by the government. This seems pretty clear: if you want to play at an online casino in Canada, just make sure it is fully approved and licensed by the government. If you stick to these, you’ll be totally fine and enjoy your game time. You’ll also be fine if you use sites licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, based in the Indian reserve of Kahnawake. This is because Kahnawake is a sovereign state, not governed by Canada’s laws.

Grey Area

Where the grey area of online casino laws comes in is when it comes to companies that are based overseas, but allow Canadians to use their gambling sites. If these companies operate from places where online gambling is entirely legal, it could be argued that Canadian online gambling laws  do not apply.

So What Do I Do?

So how does one make sense of this grey area? Well, it’s worth noting that there are actually no official online casino laws on the books that specifically make online gambling either legal or illegal. In addition, as far as we know, no Canadian has actually been arrested or charged for using an overseas online gambling site. This doesn’t make your decision clear cut, but it means you don’t have to decide based on fear – you certainly aren’t going to go to jail or even get fined for using an overseas gambling site.

It’s Up To You

Like any legal grey area, you need to look at the facts and make your own decision. If you want to be sure you are operating entirely within the law, stick to licensed Canadian online casinos. However, if you do want to use overseas online casinos, you can use the fact that the online casino laws are unclear to your advantage. You are most likely not going to face legal consequences for betting on overseas sites. But don’t blame us if you do!