Playing Real Money Online Casinos in Canada
Canada has a liberal environment for online casino fans – though there are a few factors which can complicate things. Gambling site operators cannot legally operate from inside Canada, though players are not restricted from enjoying the games of those located outside the country via the internet. The sovereign Kahnawake territory, close to Montreal, is the choice of many operators for hosting their servers.
The banking restrictions to gambling sites from the US do have a knock-on effect for Canadians. With many banks including RBC and TD Bank having offices and business with the USA, they are nervous about gambling site transactions. As you will see below, this means that 3rd party payment services are the best solution for depositing and withdrawing from Canadian casinos.
With many of the world’s biggest brand casinos legally allowing Canadian players, there is no shortage of choices. This page takes you through all the options – starting with the legal landscape and the online offerings of the provinces. After that below you will find some information on the best payment options for Canadians, followed by some tips on what to look out for when choosing a real money casino to play at.
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Canadian Casinos and the Law
From time to time there is some political ‘noise’ in Canada concerning regulating (taxing) online casinos. This has not yet become concrete action, meaning that statues pre-dating the modern internet still cover gambling laws.
From the criminal code the most important take away is that Canadians citizens can legally gamble online – as long as the gambling site is not operated from within Canadian territory. Since no operator can legally operate there, this opens up the big brand casinos from around the world to Canadian players. Having servers nearby improves the speed and smoothness of online casino games. Fortunately, the Kahnawake tribal lands allow this – and in fact were pioneers in the online gaming space.
Since Canadian players are able to access casinos from anywhere in the world – it makes good sense to stick with the tightly regulated brands from Europe. These have a level of trust and service that you are less likely to find in the offshore casino world.
Some of the Canadian territories, including Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario, run their own online casinos. These offer limited sports betting, lottery games, online poker and casino gambling opportunities – with the profits going into the state coffers. While the money staying inside your local territory (rather than to a private casino company) has to be a positive, these casinos do not yet offer the same experience as the privately owned operators for players.
Canadian Casino Deposit Methods
Visa and MasterCard deposits will work at Canadian casinos sometimes – though the big banks like TD and RBC will more often block gambling site transactions. There are no legal reasons for doing this – though that does not help the average Canadian looking to make a casino deposit!
To make things more complex, many of the biggest eWallet brands have also pulled out, with Skrill and Neteller noticeable in their absence from the Canadian market.
Fortunately there are still some easy options. Many pre-paid Visa cards will work, with international payment capability a key consideration. 3rd party eWallet and pre-paid systems that are currently working well for Canadians include InstaDebit, Click2Pay and EcoCard. While there are individual differences in the details of these systems, they work by creating a 3rd party ‘virtual wallet’ between your bank and the casinos. You open an account, fund it via your bank card and then use the balance to deposit at the casino. You can withdraw winnings back into the wallet. In addition to giving you that extra layer of security, you can keep some of your bankroll in the eWallet system, allowing you to quickly take advantage of any new bonuses or promotions.
What to Look Out for at Canadian Casinos
With the biggest and best brand names from around the world all welcoming Canadian players – it is sometimes a case of having too much choice. You’ll be able to enjoy the games of the biggest and best software houses, including MicroGaming, PlayTech and IGT. In addition you can play securely with some of the trusted brands licensed in Europe and some that are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Here are some of the key factors to look out for when choosing an online casino to play in Canada.
A license, trusted track record of prompt payments and 3rd party certification (testing) of game fairness are the basics needed to even consider playing at an online casino. Canadian players should also be aware that not all licenses are created equal. Those from places like Malta and Gibraltar are home to many of the world’s biggest and best trusted brands. Compare this to Caribbean island nations like the Netherlands Antilles, and you will find the brand names there are unknown in comparison and the licensing regimes somewhat opaque.
Game selection for the biggest and best brands usually encompasses several different software providers these days. In the past the download model for online casinos meant that each brand was tied to one software type. With no-download casinos now the norm, the biggest and best brands have slots and table games from several software houses big and small. For example you might find a casino primarily running PlayTech software, though offering slots from the likes of IGT or Net Entertainment in different sections of their website. For the best all-round experience these mega-brands with the biggest choice are the place to play.
You should also decide whether the live-dealer casino games are a priority for you. These games are streamed in real time from remote studios, and you can bet on them via your computer. Mobile compatibility is another important factor to consider when choosing an online casino. While all casinos will claim their games to be mobile compatible, many are simply smaller versions of the originals.
Bonuses are an important way of lowering the house edge. In fact, with so much competition for Canadian players, you should be enjoying some kind of bonus or promotion for every hand or spin that you play. I advise that you look into the terms of each bonus offer before you make your final choice of where to play. Things to look out for include the number of times you need to bet-through your deposit amount before your bonus cash is ‘cleared’. You should also look for restrictions on certain games – or even games which are completely excluded.
Finally, make sure there are some great deals in place for long-term and loyal players. These will be more significant for your bankroll over the long run than the initial deposit bonus. Promotions, loyalty or comp point schemes and plenty of reloads are a must. If you find a Canadian casino which does not offer these, then it may be time to shop around for a better deal!