Information on Online Casinos in Canada
In Canada, a new gambling law is being discussed, which should create more clarity and reasonable regulation, especially for online casinos. Foreign providers, in particular, fear that they will be threatened with severe consequences, as in Canada. In Canada, the state has the monopoly on offering gambling in real casinos but also on the internet. In the latter case, however, there are no borders for most players and, above all, no border controls. Top online casino sites that accept Paysafecard open just as quickly on the PC or smartphone as the domestic win2day does.
Figures on Gambling in Canada
The number of customers in online gambling is increasing worldwide. Due to the current pandemic, these numbers have been increasing faster in the last two years than in the time before. In 2020, online casinos in Canada turned over about 284 million dollars. For the first time, this puts them just ahead of sports betting, which has a turnover of 283 million dollars. The largest turnover is traditionally made in lotteries. In 2020, this amounted to 680 million dollars.
A representative survey showed that more than 40% of Canadians participate in gambling at least once a year. 25% of respondents like online gambling and find it exciting and entertaining. 28% reject it. 47% abstained from voting.
The entire gaming industry was able to generate gross revenues of 1.7 billion dollars in Canada in 2023. This refers to the difference between revenues and payouts before taxes and depreciation. This figure is slightly down compared to the previous year. This is due to the pandemic and the associated closures of real casinos and gaming halls. Online revenues, on the other hand, increased disproportionately.
The Legal Situation in Canada
The legal situation in Canada is somewhat confusing and tricky. In contrast to Canada, sports betting does not count as gambling, as it depends not only on luck but also on expertise and analysis. This should actually make the legislation easier than in Canada, one might think.
In Canada, however, a distinction is made between small and large-scale gambling. Licenses for small-scale gambling, officially called “Landesausspielung it Glücksspielautomaten,” can be issued by the federal provinces. In pubs, up to 3 machines are allowed. Here, the maximum stake is $1, with a maximum prize of $1,000. In gaming salons, the maximum stake can be $10, and the maximum prize $10,000. Burgenland, Lower Canada, Upper Canada, Styria, and Carinthia allow the small game; in Vienna, Salzburg, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg, it is prohibited.
This has nothing directly to do with online gambling, but it should illustrate the complicated situation of the current legislation in Canada.
Legal Online Casinos in Canada
Here one finds oneself in a gray area, which keeps the courts busy. Basically, online casinos that do not have a license in Canada operate illegally. On the other hand, some argue that this is not in line with the law, as there is the right of freedom of service providers in the Canadian Union. While the courts in Canada take a clear position on this, there is rather silence at the Canadian level and in Ottawa.
The argument that many casinos have a license, on the other hand, is simply wrong. Canada does not issue licenses. In most cases, the license means the license of the Malta Gaming Authority. This is considered a very strict authority that places high demands on the casinos and also carries out unannounced inspections. Nevertheless, the gambling system is not harmonized throughout Canada, and there is no Canada-wide validity of gambling licenses.
However, it is against the law to use the state gambling monopoly as a reason for blocking or excluding foreign providers. Therefore, a new regulation of the Canadian Gaming Act is urgently needed.
This is the Reality
Due to the unclear legal situation, one can speak of a “toleration” of foreign online casino operators in Canada as long as they are operated under a license from a country of the Canadian Union. Until there is a change in the law or a final court decision, there will be no geo-blocking of these providers.
Apart from the fact that the government officially does not want to see these providers operating in Canada, there is also a flip side to the coin. While winnings from gambling are tax-free for players, the casinos themselves are made to pay. In the last ten years, more than 160 million dollars in taxes were paid by foreign operators in Canada. This is, of course, a very good argument for “toleration” and for perhaps not being in such a hurry with a new law.