Online Gambling and Sports Betting in Canada
If you live in Canada and enjoy online gambling or sports betting from time to time, you need to stay in the know. What are the relevant laws? What are the most recent bonuses? Where are the best place to play? We'll answer those questions and more, so read on to get up to date.
The Laws of Online Gambling in Canada
Currently, there are four provinces in Canada - Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and BC - that have provincially regulated gambling sites. If you are a resident of any of those provinces, the only onshore virtual casinos you may legally place a bet at are the provincially regulated sites. This fact is true for placing wagers on both online casino games and sports betting. If you live in Ontario, the options for where you can gamble online might be expanding as the discussion has been opened up to allow for privately owned and operated sites to apply for licenses to allow single-game sports bets. Currently, there is a two-game minimum for any legal venue. This isn't the first time a bill like this has been enacted, as the NDP raised the issue in 2016 with Bill C-221. That bill was ultimately defeated, so time will tell how far it will go this time.
Where does that leave you if you don't live in any of the four provinces above? Well, while there is no option for you to gamble at onshore sites, there are many governing bodies that provide licensing for virtual casinos whose servers are hosted outside of Canada. These regulators include the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, and the UK Gambling Commission, to name a few. To be clear, if you live in Alberta you may not place a wager at BC's provincially legislated site, but you may bet at a casino out of the UK, for example.
The Best Online Betting Bonuses for Sportsbooks
If you'd like to combine your love for sports with your love for gambling, you can do so in Canada for less than you might think. The best way to wager on a budget is to look for online gambling bonuses.
- Free Cash - Sportsbook websites give out free cash bonuses to first-time sports bettors from Canada as a welcome deal and to existing customers as loyalty or reload bonuses. These promos require no deposit on your behalf and are usually smaller in denomination, maybe between $5 to $20.
- Free Bet - Free bet is similar to free cash, except that the amount given to you to wager on the event, known as the "stake," is returned to the site. For example, if the stake is $100 and you win $200, you will only get $100 deposited into your account.
- Sports Betting Rebates - If you make sportsbook gambling a habit, then you might want to look for sports betting rebates. These bonuses will give a percentage of your wagers back to you if you make frequent and substantial bets. Sites might offer these on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
Types of Casino Promotions
If you're a player from Canada who prefers betting on traditional casino games over gambling on sporting events, then look for these other enticing offers.
- Match Deposits - You can qualify for a match deposit when you deposit into your account. Casinos sometimes give these bonuses to new players for signing up and making their first deposit, and other times to existing customers as a thank you gift. If the match deposit is for 400% of your deposit and you put down $20, then you will be awarded $80 in free cash.
- Free Spins - Online gambling sites in Canada will often give out free spins so you can try out some of their most popular slot machines. Free spins are often awarded as a no deposit welcome bonus. Many casinos will also give out free spins if you deposit as a new or returning player, maybe 100-200 complimentary spins.
- Free Play - The online casino will sometimes give you a free play voucher rather than free cash. These promos will be worth either a certain number of rounds at your favourite table game, maybe a free buy-in to a poker tourney, or they might entitle you to 30 minutes of unrestricted play on for any number of casino games you can squeeze in.
How to Choose the Right Gambling Provider
Now that we've discussed a bit about what you can expect betting at web-based sportsbook and casino game sites in Canada, it's time to talk about where you should play. What follows are some general rules and guidelines you should keep in mind.
- Licensing - Checking to see if a Canadian gambling site is licensed only takes a couple of seconds, but it could save you frustration and hassle. Just scroll down to the footer of the website and see if there is a watermark from one of the approved licensing bodies. Some regulators, like the UKGC, also have a search feature that will allow you to put in the name of the casino to see if it is on their list or not.
- Software - Check the site's software provider page to see who they use. Once you've been around the block a couple of times, you will find some developers that you like or trust more than others. If you see a familiar software provider listed, you know you will have a good time. Some of the top developers include Microgaming, Playtech, Betsoft, and NetEnt.
- Customer Service - If a website is worth its weight in wagers, they will offer excellent bonuses. Check for sites that have good bonuses for both new and existing players. A good bonus is generous and, at the same time, attainable - meaning that the wagering requirements are reasonable. Additionally, the best sites offer 24/7 customer support through both live chat and the ability to talk to a live agent via phone.
Online gambling enthusiasts from Canada have many options available to them, with many more opening up. These opportunities include both online casino games as well as sportsbook betting. When you have any questions, we'll be here to provide you with the answers.