It is illegal to operate an online casino in Canada without a license. However income earned from the winnings of online casino sites is not taxable under Canadian law, unless gambling is your main source of income.
Whilst the whole world goes through these weird and wacky times, many Canadians are stuck at home wondering just what they can do to help pass the time. In the last decade, the boom of the online casino industry has certainly not gone un-noticed but just what are the laws governing online gambling in Canada?
Whether you looking to play at new Canadian online casinos or just wondering how the law stacks up, we’ve got all the black and white details here to help solve your queries. Because until Canada regulates online gambling at a federal level, it is all a little confusing.
Online Casino Licenses
A lack of regulations back in the day saw a sort of wild west of online gambling emerge which soon became rife with fraudulent activity. Online theft and money laundering created a dark stain on the industry and some hefty regulations were needed to tidy it all up and provide safety to online players.
Casino licences were implemented to offer players the choice of investing in safe sites that were regulated and deemed secure or to risk their coin at the sites who chose to continue to operate unlicensed. This was a game changer for the online gambling industry and created the extremely secure base that exists today.
In Canada, 1996 saw the formation of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission set up by the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake to license and regulate online casinos that are based in Canada. As an Indian reservation, the Mohawk commission isn’t bound by the same laws of Canada so has the right to offer casino licences and regulate offshore gaming sites. So, at present, only these licensed sites are allowed to legally operate on Canadian soil whilst a federal law is confirmed.
Off-Shore Based Sites
The lack of federal law on online gaming in Canada means that any site that is based offshore is fair game for Canadian citizens, who are welcomed with open arms. Countries like Malta and Gibraltar have become online gaming hubs over the last decade and offer strict licences to any site looking to regulate their product.
So, Canadians looking to play online have the choice of playing at Kahnawake Gaming Commission licensed sites which are based in Canada, or any offshore sites, without the need to pay taxes on their winnings (if gambling isn’t your sole income). However, many sites do still operate without a license, so it’s up to the individual to ensure they only participate in secure online casinos.
Any site that has gone to the hassle and investment to procure an online casino license will proudly display it as a badge of honour on their homepage, usually found near the bottom. If in doubt, continue to shop around as thousands of sites are open to Canadians around the globe.
What the Future Holds
It seems inevitable that the federal government will one day form a bill that covers online gambling specifically, as currently millions of dollars in player investment leaves Canada’s shores every month. This will form a government controlled Canadian License to regulate Canadas exploding market which will see players with less choice, but profits remaining within the country.
At the present time however, there is no talk about when this may happen, and the government is happy for Canadian players to continue playing at many of the licensed off-shore sites around. That’s great news for Canucks looking to take a punt, as the choices are seemingly endless.
Online gambling within Canada is perfectly legal and no one has ever been prosecuted in Canadian history. Off-shore based casino sites welcome Canadians with open arms, many operating 24/7 live support and Canadian dollars, as well as having sites that are bi-lingual.
It is illegal to operate an online casino in Canada without a license. However income earned from the winnings of online casino sites is not taxable under Canadian law, unless gambling is your main source of income. Non-professionals and those playing for fun are exempt.