• By: Allen Brown

How Interac online and e-Transfer became the prevalent online casino payment methods in Canada

The history of online casino gambling in Canada has been plagued by one major problem, how exactly do Canadians get their real money into a casino so they can play? Although technically legal in Canada, gambling at online casinos in Canada does have some legal problems and it is those problems that have caused casino banking to be a major issue. Interac, with the help of Gigadat Solutions Inc, has made those problems dissipate and now Interac online and e-transfer have become the gold standard of online casino payments.

Before the early 2000s, Canadians could play at online casinos, poker sites and sportsbooks using their credit cards. Visa and Mastercard, along with the major banks, put an end to this and the race had begun for Canadian gamblers to find other methods to continue playing online. Neteller and Skrill (Moneybookers), were already established internationally to process these types of transactions and quickly became the banking methods of choice at online casinos.

Legal Problems affecting Online Casino Payment Processors

The legal problems began as early as 2007 for Neteller and Skrill. In September 2006, the US Senate passed a bill that made online gambling illegal in the United States. In 2007, Neteller was charged by the US government with illegally processing online gaming transactions and ESI, a Canadian payments provider was also charged. This led to an avalanche of legal problems around the industry. Calvin Ayre, the notorious Canadian online gambling Tycoon, was also running from the law at this time and ended up leaving his Bodog related assets to the Kahnawake gaming, located on the Kahnawake reserve outside of Montreal.

This brings us back to Canada where Neteller and Skrill also operated. Although no bill has ever been passed in Canada making internet gambling illegal, the gray area left too much open to interpretation. Online casinos can only be licensed by provincial governments, like Play OLG casino, and the ones that are the most popular in Canada are all licensed in overseas jurisdictions like Malta. The issue of legality thus comes to jurisdiction and the fact that the Canadian government cannot prosecute foreign companies under the Canadian Criminal Code. The only possibility of being prosecuted comes if the company related to online gambling has any physical presence in Canada. Since Neteller and Skrill has physical presence in Canada they eventually determined that the risk was too great to remain operating in the country.

Explosion of New Canadian Casino Banking Methods

Over the intervening years there have been many other payment providers come and go from the online casino banking sphere. Recently there are companies that market e-wallets such as ecoPayz, iDebit and Instadebit. PayPal has never entered the online casino market at all and Apple Pay has just started being accepted this year.

A common way for many Canadians to deposit real money at online casinos is to avoid payment processors entirely and use prepaid cards. Paysafe, Neosurf and Flexepin are all widely accepted at most online casinos in Canada. These cards are available at corner stores and gas stations but can only be used to deposit money. If a player wants to get paid out, they will need to have another withdrawal method, in most cases is the archaic bank wire or cheque in the mail.

Why Interac Online and e-Transfer Became So Popular

This is where Interac has become a groundbreaking revelation for online casino players. Interac is the most widely known and used payment processor in Canada. It is the most trusted financial services brand in Canada, ranking 4th on the University of Victoria’s Gustavson Brand Trust Index. Every Canadian that has a bank account is aware of Interac e-Transfer. Some of the major banks and credit unions also offer Interac Online.

Just under two years ago the first online casinos started offering Canadian players Interac online as a deposit method. LeoVegas was one of the first online casinos to do this but withing a year, every serious online casino brand in the Canada was offering Interac.

The company that made this partnership happen is third party payment processor, Gigadat Solutions Inc. They offer the service to connect Canadian banks with merchants and they specialize in online gaming, gambling and casinos. They have also recently partnered with MiFinity to offer their payment method in Canada, leveraging Interac’s vast customer reach.

The Difference Between Interac Online and e-Transfer

Interac online casinos have been become so popular because of the broad reach of the banking method and the ease of use. According to Canadian online casino banking specialists realcasinos.ca, there are two main online casino types, Interac Online casinos and e-Transfer casinos. Interac Online is a direct banking method that transfers funds directly to the casino using Gigadat as the third part processor that links the two parties electronically. E-transfer on the other hand is processed by the financial institution. Gigadat still provides the information necessary to complete the transaction and is part of the electronic transfer of funds.

There are some key differences between Interac Online and e-Transfer. Both casino banking methods can be used for deposits but only e-Transfer can be used for withdrawals. Interac Online is available at only select financial institutions including RBC Royal Bank of Canada, TD Canada Trust and First Nations Bank. Effectively, if the debit card is associated to Visa or Mastercard then it will not have Interac Online associated to that account. Interac e-Transfer is available at all banks and credit unions in Canada. E-Transfers also take more time to process whereas Interac Online deposits are instant.

After nearly two decades, Canadians finally appear to have a stable, secure, and widely available casino banking method to use at online casinos in 2021. The companies that control the method, Interac and Gigadat Solutions, are Canadian and will not leave the market unless it is regulated.