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Online Casino Gaming in Canada
When one starts to think out loud about online casinos and online gaming as such, it’s quite intriguing that the country of Canada virtually never comes up for a debate, even though it’s one of the biggest countries in the world and even though it’s actually surprisingly important for the global scene, as it’s the host of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
That said, it’s not a particularly huge market, so those who speak about online casino gaming often forget to mention how things look over in Canada. This article will cover all the important bases, however, so do read on if you want to find out more about how easy – or tough – Canadian players have it.
A Bit of History
Although online casino gaming doesn’t have a particularly strong tradition in Canada, it hasn’t escaped the attention of the lawmakers, who have eventually somehow managed to create a situation that’s so confusing that nobody really knows what’s legal and what isn’t. It’s usually said that Canada is much more liberal than the United States, but that isn’t necessarily true when it comes to online gaming – not only is it as forbidden as it is over in the US (at least according to some lawyers), but the laws are actually vastly more convoluted.
We’d need more than just a single article to dive into the legislation and summarize what different people think about it, so what we’re going to do is give you a brief rundown of things.
As far as operators are concerned, there are contrasting opinions regarding their legality – and, since there haven’t been any court cases to build on just yet, it’s impossible for us to give any verdicts on this issue. Some experts believe that offshore sites aren’t doing much wrong, but many think that they are directly violating the law by offering their services to players located in Canada.
Meanwhile, players don’t seem to have much to be worried about, as there’s nothing in the current laws that would make playing at an online casino illegal or even criminal. If the given casino or sportsbook accepts your bets, you’re all-clear to take advantage of its offers – although there is the obligatory warning that there are no Canadian authorities that would guarantee fair payouts and things like that.
Although you’d be hard-pressed to find an online casino that has Canada as the market on which it’s focusing first and foremost, there are numerous casinos that have it fairly high on the list of priorities and that are willing to go the extra mile just to catch the attention of Canadian players. What they’re doing might currently be located somewhere in the gray area of legality, but that isn’t going to stop anyone until things get clarified at least a bit.
Considering that there’s also no internet censorship in Canada that would be actively hindering access to casino websites, those wanting to play a few casino games here and there should have no problems finding a good place to play at, with there being perhaps tens of excellent casinos to choose from.
Those tens of excellent places are – unfortunately – found alongside a number of somewhat shady casinos that you simply shouldn’t trust no matter how good their offers might seem to be, so make sure that you’re always going to give a review or two a read before making your first deposit.
When it comes to deposits, Canadian players don’t really have as many choices as, say, players from the United Kingdom, but, at the same time, their situation is miles away from the one in which US players are right now.
Due to how easy it is to deposit through those methods, the vast majority of casino deposits is made by either credit cards or traditional bank transfers. That makes a lot of sense, as everyone can use those methods without having to set anything up, but they both come with small issues – while some online casinos charge fees for credit card deposits, bank transfers usually take two or three days to get processed. There is one simple solution to the problem in the form of instant bank transfers, however, so that’s something worth checking out if you want to stay within the realm of basic payment methods. If you’re a Canadian, it’s the instant bank transfers service called Citadel that you should turn towards first and foremost.
Of course, there’s no need to stay with these basic methods if you’re willing to invest some time into researching things like e-wallets, which are undoubtedly the weapon of choice for everyone who wants to be moving money around different online casinos and online bookmakers thanks to how flexible they are.
If you’ve given the section about deposits a good read, you already have a good idea about what the situation surrounding withdrawals looks like, as it’s almost exactly the same – while Canadians don’t have the same amount of comfort as players from, say, Europe, they don’t really have to jump through any hoops just to get their money back.
The only thing that you need to be prepared for is that the online casino will ask you for certain personal documents once you decide to ask for a withdrawal, which is something it has to do in order to comply with the licensing requirements. If the company is trustworthy and if it’s licensed in one of the premium European jurisdictions, there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about.
Once the casino processes the documents, you’ll be free to withdraw by the method of your choice, although some online casinos will want you to use the same method through which you’ve deposited. Chances are that you’ll actually want to do that anyway, but you should be able to choose another one by contacting the customer service of the casino and explaining your situation – virtually every single solid casino will be happy to assist you if you ask politely.
It will have to do that anyway if you make your deposit by a payment method that doesn’t allow withdrawals. In those cases, you’ll always be offered to make a withdrawal by a bank transfer (which are typically without any fees, but which might take up to a week to get delivered), but, once again, the customer support should be able to assist you with changing that to something else.
Quirks and Details
Chances are that you would never make such an error, but we’ve seen many Canadian players mistakenly looking for US-friendly online casinos and asking about offers directed towards US players, so make sure that you’re never going to follow in their footsteps. We can see the rationale behind making such inquiries, but they just don’t make any sense nowadays, as the industry already has numerous casinos that have great bonuses and promotions that Canadians can take advantage of – and we can guarantee you that registering oneself as a US player isn’t going to help anything (in the best case, you’ll just have serious issues getting your money back).
The second little detail that we feel obliged to highlight is that some online casinos don’t give bonuses on deposits made through certain payment methods, so make sure that you always give the terms and conditions a brief look before you make a deposit that should be considered as a qualifying one. Although the situation has improved considerably over the last couple of years on this particular front, there are still some casinos that don’t like players that use certain e-wallets and other less orthodox payment methods.
What we’ve said up to this point has probably led you to believe that Canada is virtually a heaven for everyone who’s looking to play online casino games here and there, but what’s the actual outlook for the future?
Well, we certainly expect to see the overall legislative situation getting some sort of a clarification, but it’s hard to say which way it’s going to go if we’re to be honest with you. The current Canadian government is certainly quite liberal, so chances are that we’re going to see the situation improve somewhat (that arguably wouldn’t bring much to the players, but it would undoubtedly open the doors for many new online casinos). On the other hand, the global trend seems to be towards regulation and heavy taxation, so, depending on how that works out in other countries, it’s also possible that the Canadian authorities will look into those measures instead.
When you put everything together, it’s fairly easy to see that Canada is currently one of the friendlier countries as far as online casino gaming is concerned – and how easy the Canadians have it is in stark contrast to how tough it is for players from the United States. Considering that those countries aren’t incredibly different in many other areas, they are like day and night in this particular one.
Although it’s hard to say how the future will look like, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly concerning on the horizon, so chances are that Canadian players will continue to be able to enjoy all the excellent online casinos out there without too many worries.