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What Is the Legality of Online Gambling in Canada?

What Is the Legality of Online Gambling in Canada?

Whether online gambling is legal or not, in Canada, is a question that keeps popping up now and then. The laws that govern online casinos are cloudy, and the matter has been considered as a grey area.

It is illegal for companies to operate poker rooms or online casinos in Canada. Accessing an online casino from within Canada is not illegal if the casino is operated offshore. However, most offshore gambling servers are located in Kahnawake, which still lies in Canadian territory. See casinomatcher for rankings and reviews of online casinos.

Even with the law stating that players are not supposed to be found in poker rooms and gambling houses, the rules are not clear. Still, betting and casino games remain among the most popular forms of entertainment, and the country's residents enjoy an attractive and safe gaming environment.

Gambling Laws in Canada

Some decades ago, gambling was illegal in Canada, but the laws keep on evolving. Casual raffles and bingo were legalized for charitable events and horse races, a decade later. Gaming machines followed in 1985, and several years later, online gaming as gambling became more popular.

Organized crimes have had illegal gambling financing them, and in the modern tech-savvy generation, these individuals rig sports events, bilk customers, and avoid paying taxes.

Criminal Code of Canada

This code is a bill that defines illegal gaming in Canada, and their legal charges, unless they are included in exceptions which are clearly stated in the code itself.

Part VII of the code prohibits online gaming operations in the country's territory, with some exceptions in section 207. However, provincial governments can operate lotteries and online gambling.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in 1996 after Kahnawake Gaming Law had been enacted. It is a regulatory body that regulates and licenses betting and gambling on Mohawk Territory.

Kahnawake Mohawks have jurisdiction and sovereignty over their territory and thus free to govern their affairs that include gambling, which includes both online casinos, sports betting websites, and land-based gambling sites.

Currently, the commission has licensed more than 50 online casino operators with more than 250 gambling websites. Since 2016, the commission ceased issuing gaming licenses to operators who sign up players from the USA.

For an operator to be issued a license from the commission, they should meet specific requirements. These include:

  • Providing all the necessary information about the company, founders and shareholders
  • Registering an office within Kahnawake and provide the documents showing its existence
  • Provide the detailed rules and regulations for holding games and payoffs
  • Should have high-quality software
  • Pass independent audit
  • Guarantee large sums of payoffs
  • Limit gambling access to persons with gambling addiction and those below 21 years
  • Guarantee safety of players’ private data and integrity
  • Provide detailed information on payment systems and well-adjusted technical support

If any of the above requirements are not met, the commission has the right to decline a license application or revoke an existing one.

Online Gambling in Canada

Almost all forms of gambling are now legal in Canada. Well, except for online gaming, which is trickier since the government does not issue licenses to operate online casinos within the country.

Players from within the country can play in online casinos. You may, therefore, need to know how to play and how the casinos operate. Most of the sites require you to sign up on their websites. Since they are online, the payments are also made online, and thus you'll be required to provide a payment method through which you'll be making your payments and receiving payoffs.

Money Transactions in Online Casinos

Several payment methods are accepted on various websites. However, some players may encounter challenges completing their payments since these websites are based outside the country. For example, Visa, which is probably the most used payment method, is not accepted by every website. Some online casinos prefer accepted payment methods, while others require wired transfer

Citadel

This online payment method guarantees safety in processing the payment. Customers get an eCheck where they can transfer money inexpensively and safely.

It does not reveal private or banking details to third parties, and it's not associated with credit cards. All information provided when setting up the account is encrypted to guarantee secure money transfers.

Visa

It is accepted in over 150 countries and can make purchases both in physical and online stores. Most banks in Canada issue Visa credit, prepaid, and debit cards to their customers. Players are required to fill in the necessary fields in the deposit part of the website, and if the transaction goes through, they can start playing.

MasterCard

It is also known for product diversity and security and one of the most preferred when transacting online and offline. The brand also has several credit, debit, and prepaid cards, which you can use to make deposits in online casinos.

However, MasterCard does not allow you to withdraw your casino winnings, unlike Visa.

Instadebit

You can deposit money and withdraw your winnings instantly with Instadebit. It's, therefore, easy and fast to use without compromising the safety and security of your transactions.

Interac

This method allows you to deposit and withdraw money from your casino account by facilitating transactions between banks. You must have a bank account with one partnering bank. The e-Transfer through your banking portal allows the transfer of money to and from your online casino account.

PaySafeCard

Customers are issued with a prepaid card for offline and online purchases. You do not need a bank account for deposits in the online casino, and depending on your location, you can find the brand as an electronic voucher. To use it as a payment method, all you need is to select Paysafecard and fill in the details required by the casino.

Tax on Casino Winnings

Tax liability is somehow also complicated when it comes to casino winnings. Often, the winnings are considered tax-free, but that does not apply to all winnings. If you are gambling as a profession, not a hobby, the income from winnings is taxable, and you are required to state that when the fiscal year comes to an end. But if online gambling, your winnings are not taxed.

What to Consider When Finding an Online Casino

First of all, you should find out whether the casino is registered and licensed to allow it to operate. This reduces the chances of being conned. Additionally, ensure the online casino is legal and regulated in a reputable offshore location such as Malta. This may differ from location to location as some casinos are not licensed to operate in some places but can operate in others. Reviews on the internet are a great way to find out if the casino is safe and legal.

Ensure the online casino is legal and regulated in your location. This may differ from location to location as some casinos are not licensed to operate in some places but can operate in others.

You may not have issues gaming at websites that are operating illegally in your location, but in case they are found out, the site may go down without notice, thus deactivating your account and drowning all money in it.

Conclusion

With the evolution of the internet, online games and casinos have not been left behind. The offshore gambling market in North America has been consistently worth over $5 billion since the 2000s. In Canada, though it's illegal to operate online casinos within the country, players can gamble at sites located offshore. The only requirement is that they be legally registered to operate.

Some online casinos are legal and managed by the local governments to generate funding. These are registered and safe to play in.

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