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Understanding Canada’s Current Stance on Online Gambling

Online gambling rules and regulations are in a constant state of flux globally right now.

All over the world, governments and regulatory bodies are tweaking the current rules, with their changes having a major impact on companies in the industry.

But what is the current stance on online gambling in Canada? Let’s take a look.

Is online gambling fully legal across Canada right now?

Online gambling laws in Canada can be a little difficult to understand. Essentially, each province in Canada is given the freedom to interpret gambling rules and regulations in their own way.

People have gambled in Canada for hundreds of years, so it is no surprise it has been difficult for the national government to decide what to do about the growing online betting industry.

At the end of the 19th century, the Canadian Criminal Code introduced the first gambling laws in Canada, but they were loose, and most betting continued to be permitted as a result.

Winnipeg became home to the first ever land-based casino in Canada about a hundred years later – though that historic site has since closed – and others have followed in places including Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Despite this seemingly given the green light to gambling in Canada, betting online has always been a bit more of a grey area in the country.

At the moment, it is not permitted to operate an online casino in Canada, but there are no laws against people living in the country betting at casinos that are based outside of Canada.

Offshore locations where casinos may base themselves for tax-related reasons may include Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Cyprus. In reality, online gambling is open to Canadians. A further complication is the fact that casinos based on the Kahnawake native reserve are also legal.

As for the legal age of gambling in Canada, be it at land-based casinos or when betting online? People living in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec can gamble legally from the age of 18, while this legal limit is pushed up to the age of 19 for all of the other Canadian provinces.

Sports betting is another area of contention. While online sports betting has not yet been fully legalised in Canada, many people in the country simply use apps to get around the issue. These individuals are very unlikely to be prosecuted, with the United States having recently moved to allow legal sports betting online for the first time. Could Canada be soon set to follow suit?

Are online gambling laws going to change in Canada?

Most Canadian provinces host land-based casinos, so it continues to seem strange that online gambling is still such a bone of contention all over the country.

With provinces retaining control over gambling regulations, to an extent, some of them have even set up their own online casinos in order to give residents somewhere to place their bets.

Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia have given the green light to online casinos and it does not seem out of the question that other provinces could make the same move.

Offshore gambling is still a way to get around the complex rules and regulations surrounding betting on the internet in Canada. Those online casinos that are regulated by organizations such as the UK Gambling Commission are free to attract users from Canada.

Showcased here are some of the no deposit casinos that are available to be accessed from Canada, which is a growing market for betting online. As a result, a lot of casinos allow players to make deposits and withdrawals in Canadian dollars, making it easier to play on them.

When it comes to sports betting, sites in Canada only allow users to place ‘parlay’ style bets, which means including more than one selection on their wager, like in an accumulator. This means that anyone who wants to just place a single bet is likely to simply go elsewhere.

Last month, though, the MP for Saskatoon-Grasswood, Kevin Waugh, put forward the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, which would make single sports bets legal in Canada for the first time. This move was welcomed by the Canadian Gaming Association, whose chief executive officer Paul Burns said it will provide economic benefits as well as “consumer protection”.

It is difficult to predict exactly how gambling rules and regulations could change in Canada. But it is no exaggeration to say that the rules as they stand are simply not fit for purpose. Change is going to happen sooner or later, with online casinos waiting patiently to see how it plays out.

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