Canadian Online Gambling Legislation Guide

If you're not sure which laws apply in Canada when it comes to online gambling, you're not alone. We're here to help you with that.

Canadian online casino legislation laws are a bit ambivalent. The Canadian government is hesitant to grant online gambling licenses to site operators. That means it's illegal to run an online gambling site in Canada (with the exception of individual provincially approved and interprovincial sites). However, it's legal for Canadians to gamble at international online gambling sites.

We took the time to put together a thorough Canadian online casino legislation guide that covers all the important laws that apply to online gambling in Canada.

The Canadian online casino laws you need to know

Unless you're a professional gambler whose sole income is from gambling, you do not need to pay any taxes on your winnings from casino games in Canada.

How this law works: You need to prove that you're not a professional gambler by listing other sources of income on your taxes. If you can do that, then you won't need to pay any taxes on your winnings from online casino games.

How this law is enforced: If the Canada Revenue Agency finds your sole income to be from your winnings from online casino games, you could get penalized if you didn't pay any taxes on that income. If you're uncertain about whether or not you're liable for any taxes, you should consult with your tax advisor.

The minimum legal gambling age is 19 in all the provinces except for Alberta and Manitoba, where the legal gambling age is 18.

How this law works: Even though you're gambling at international casinos, the local laws still apply. You need to be over the minimum legal gambling age in order to gamble online.

How this law is enforced: Reputable online casinos use third party age verification services to verify your age. Some will even ask for a copy of your ID upon withdrawal.

Banking transactions are allowed.

Keep up-to-date on all the current laws governing gambling in Canada with one quick stop, and remember, there's no need to worry about taxation unless you're a professional.

How this law works: Unlike the USA's UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), Canada has no laws prohibiting banking transactions at online casinos.

How this law is enforced: Since there are no Canadian laws associated with banking transactions at online casinos, there are no laws that need to be enforced.

If you're a resident of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador, you can't play casino-style games online.

How this law works: In 1985, the Canadian government added an amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code that legalized gambling activity in the form of computerized gambling. That was the origin of the legalization of online gambling in Canada. The amendment gave each province the ability to regulate slots and other computerized forms of gambling, as well as casino-style online games like slots, table games, and video poker. Most provinces decided to take advantage of this amendment to legalize online gambling. However, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador decided to make online casino-style gambling illegal.

How this law is enforced: If you're a New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador resident and if you get caught playing casino-style games online with real money, you might have to pay a fine.

You can gamble at an online casino, but you can't operate a gambling service.

How this law works: Unless you're the Canadian government or a person living at the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (an Indian reserve in Quebec, Canada), you can't start an online casino or even a sportsbook business.

How this law is enforced: If the Canadian government finds an illegal online gambling service run out of Canada, they will shut it down.

Recent changes in Canadian online casino legislation

Since 2009, the Canadian government has been gradually warming up to the idea of opening up Canadian state-run online casinos. They already have two up: PlayNow (operated by British Columbia Lottery Corporation) and Espacejeux.com (operated by Loto Quebec). The government is finally starting to take notice of the fact that a lot of Canadian currency leaks out of the country because their citizens gamble at foreign sites. This may influence their decision to allow their citizens to set up Canada-based online casinos in the near future. Only time will tell.

The Canadian government also allows the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory to own and operate casinos as long as their games are legitimate and the winners are paid. In 2010, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission issued four types of licenses for residents who were interested in opening up an online casino.

It looks like Canada is gradually moving towards completely legalizing online gambling. It's only a matter of time before that happens.