Gamblers in Canada have more and more opportunities for enjoying their favourite entertainment. The laws are complex but gradually showing signs of relaxation and the pace of progress is certainly picking up speed.
This means gambling is a growth industry and more online betting sites for Canadians are becoming available. The situation is Canada is more difficult to follow than in many other countries because different parts of the country have different rules and approaches to gambling in both physical casinos and online.
Canadian players are allowed by law to play at online casinos – but it is officially illegal to operate an internet gambling site based in the country itself. Some players are still worried however – there is an old law saying that you are not allowed to be found in an illegal betting parlour. Do some internet sites qualify as illegal betting dens?
Physical gambling in Canada has grown in small stages since the days of 19th century prohibition. Gradual relaxation of restrictions allowed charity bingo, raffles and betting on horse racing. Gaming machines became legal in 1985 and since then, with some provinces interpreting the laws differently, more casinos have been given permission to open. Some provincial authorities also have started operating their own lotteries.
The gambling situation in Canada is further complicated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. This body regulates casinos based in the Mohawk territory on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec.
It is only around 19 square miles with 8,000 inhabitants but has become a safe enclave for gambling operators. The Commission is able to offer licenses for gambling operators of online casino and sports betting sites. Regulations about fair play, guaranteed payouts and proper protection are strictly enforced.
With its own local high-tech data centre to host the websites, the Kahnawake territory has become a profitable and thriving centre for internet gambling across North America. The Canadian legal authorities are not entirely supportive though and the status of the Kahnawake casinos is still unclear.
Clearer and Safer
In fact, the legal situation across the rest of Canada means web-based casino and gambling operators are something of a grey area. Different parts of the penal code and different provincial interpretations are leading to some relaxations. The rules are not very clear for the average game player however.
Improving technology is making the sites safer and more convenient to use. The games are becoming more sophisticated and appealing to players. There has also been a shift in attitudes. The old sentiment of gambling being evil has largely disappeared. Lawmakers have realised that legal gambling in a safe environment is far better than illegally placing wagers at gambling rackets, with hardened criminals running the show. More relaxed attitudes to individual freedom and enjoyment are making it harder for lawmakers to maintain restrictions that may date back more than 100 years.
The restrictions on internet gaming sites that are based on Canadian territories creates more business for online sites based outside Canada. This creates a different set of problems. Canadian players have to find a way of making payments for their bets.
Some sites require players to set up accounts with a money transfer website. Standard payment forms like Visa often have restrictions imposed to limit their use of gambling websites. There are two popular legally permitted payment methods for online Canadian gamblers.
The first is Citadel, a web-based payment service that is both reliable and safe. It uses a sophisticated encryption method and payments are processed very quickly.
The other popular method of making deposits to an online casino account is Instadebit. It’s another internet-based transaction system that allows players to deposit and withdraw money instantly from their casino accounts.
As payment technology and cross-border international internet useage increase, the outlook for Canadian gamblers looks set to improve. More online casinos are expected to appear – both based in the country and in others.
Going through changes…
The gambling restrictions in Canada may change on a province-by-province basis for legal sports betting off and online. This could mean different casinos and sportsbooks are licensed for use offline and online within the provincial boundaries. It may be that at this point the provinces will prevent the use of online betting sites based overseas.
The Canadian players who currently make online bets with offshore bookmakers may find changes happen gradually. At present the online sites need to be licensed somewhere. UK licensed sports and casino gambling is often he preferred choice for Canadians.
The big US and European betting sites will try to negotiate a legal presence in any new fully legalised Canadian betting arrangement. It may be that they need to collect licenses on a state-by-state basis. It could be complex but the good news is that it is likely to lead to a fully-regulated system with a great choice of online betting sites.