As a casino fan in the province of Ontario, you are probably asking just one question right now: “Are online casinos legal in Ontario?” If you are one of the many that were hoping for a simple yes or no answer, then sorry, there isn’t one!
Canadian media has been full of Ontario sports betting news lately, but what are the odds of a legal Ontario online casino opening its virtual doors any time soon? That’s what we’re here to tell you about, and to give you an idea of which online casino operator is likely to be at the front of the line.
It’s always good to have all of the facts in front of you and even though it’s technically ‘old’ news, it’s also relevant to what’s happening with online gambling in Ontario right now.
Canadians have a long history with gambling. But the development of casino games, as we know them now, is down to John Cabot, who introduced playing cards and dice to Canadian shores from which emerged games like poker, blackjack, and craps.
There were no laws prohibiting gambling, but during the 1800s, the government started to regulate gambling activities and to impose limitations on a few.
In 1970, the Criminal Code was updated and at the same time, responsibility for overseeing gambling was handed over to the authorities of individual provinces and territories. During the 1980s, land-based casinos sprung up in several Canadian provinces including Winnipeg, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario.
To the delight of sports bettors, racetracks were opening and horse betting became a popular pastime for many Canadians. Things moved on swiftly after that, and with the emergence of video lottery terminals creating a revenue flow for provincial authorities, other forms of gambling continued without intervention.
Overall responsibility and oversight of Canadian gambling lies with the Canadian Gaming Commission, but it is far more of an information channel than anything else. The actual gambling laws surrounding land-based casinos, racetracks, sports betting and in more recent times, online gambling in any form, are decided upon by each Canadian province separately.
Throughout Canada’s gambling history, a very liberal approach to gambling has been adopted, so you as a Canadian resident are legally permitted to gamble at the online sites of their choosing. However, as many of these sites are based offshore, they are not generating any revenue for provincial authorities.
Some provinces opted to create their own online gambling sites, but few can compete successfully against their offshore rivals, so the benefits in terms of revenue flow were limited.
Up until August 2021, Canadian laws only permitted parlay betting, but when that changed to allow single-event sports betting, it really set things alight. Most recently, a handful of provinces have made the decision to allow online sportsbook operators to become licensed in their province and Ontario is the latest one to jump on board.
Ontario has been very selective with its licensing and from a huge list of top online sportsbooks, it has selected just three so far. On April 4, theScore, BetRivers and PointsBet will make history as the first fully-licensed sportsbooks in Ontario.
Unless you happen to be a Law graduate, then you’ll find the Canadian gambling laws a bit complicated, to put it frankly. But once you add the additional regulations relating to each Canadian province or territory into the mix, it becomes a real maze.
However, we are here to help you find your way out and to explain why the question “Are online casinos legal in Ontario?” is so challenging to answer.
Let’s start by telling you that it’s not because Ontario has anything against online gambling. In fact, the legal gambling news recently has been full of nothing but the imminent launch of some top sportsbook operators in the province.
Three sportsbooks that have already been issued with a license by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and will be going live on 4 April 2022 are:
Each of these sportsbooks also has an online casino, which is live in the US states where online casino games are permitted.
As we explained during your history lesson earlier, playing at an online casino is legal right across Canada. But at this moment, Ontario’s priority is to get the ball rolling for licensed sports betting.
As we explained earlier, Canadian gambling laws can be confusing and as there is no legal Ontario online casino available, you might be considering looking elsewhere.
The choice of online casinos available to you will blow your mind. However, not all online casinos are equal. Some are outstanding, the majority are average, but there is a minority element that are simply out to steal your cash.
It can be quite tricky to tell them apart, but we’re going to show you the three biggest red flags to help you weed them out.
An online casino app that has no connection with a website is 100% bad news. It’s never a good idea to download any app to your device without knowing its origin, but if you’re planning on handing over your money and your personal details as well, you need to be even more cautious.
Most online casino sites offer hundreds of great games. They catch your eye and encourage you to sign up. There’s no issue with that, but if you come across an online casino site that is advertising a game that comes with an RTP above and beyond the average, then watch out. The RTPs can sometimes give you little chance of achieving a payout and you could end up spending a lot of money while you try to win.
These online casino sites are not necessarily all-out scams. However, they tend to encourage you by suggesting you can gamble anonymously. The currency might be untraceable, but you are not. You’ll have to provide at least some personal details that could be identified by your device. Aside from that, you’ll often find that the slots and casino games are poor quality and if the price of your chosen crypto happened to take a nose dive, the overall experience would not be great.
Now that we’ve shown you how to avoid bad sites, let’s talk about the good ones. As we mentioned before, from 4 April there will be three licensed sportsbook operators in the province of Ontario: PointsBet, BetRivers and theScore, so they start at the top of our list, with the potential for adding casino play for you as an Ontarian.
You’re also likely to have read in the sportsbook news that there are plenty more fantastic operators waiting their turn to jump on the Ontario sports betting bandwagon. Most of those are in a very similar position but are currently waiting for their Ontario sports betting licenses to come through.
As we see it, some frustrated casino fans will be hoping that licensed online casinos in Canada will soon be available to everyone. However, our experts here at CaptainGambling.com believe that there will be a PointsBet Ontario online casino sooner than you might expect—only time will tell.
For now, online casino fan, we’ll have to ask you to exercise some patience and wait until the whole sports betting excitement has died down a little.
We are aware that it will be tough, but when you get to decide between the fantastic Bet365 Ontario and the BetMGM Ontario, rather than taking your chances with an unknown website, you will thank us!
We are convinced that if you ask us in a few months “Are online casinos legal in Ontario?” our answer will be different. Not only will it be a resounding yes, but we’ll also be able to tell you which legal Ontario online casino we recommend.
There are big changes happening in Ontario right now. Online sportsbooks are getting licensed in the province and are taking the limelight, but that does not mean that you as an online casino player are not being considered too. Our CaptainGambling.com article will explain it all!
There are many things to consider before that question can be answered. Head over to CaptainGambling.com and read our Ontario online casino reviews and guides. You'll almost certainly answer the question for yourself if you take the time to read them.
Every province and territory in Canada has the authority to make decisions where any form of online gambling in that area is concerned. To find the answer to your question, read our extensive CaptainGambling.com Ontario reviews and guides.
Players must be 19 years of age or older to reach the minimum age for gambling in Ontario. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) www.igamingontario.ca; or (b) www.connexontario.ca.
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