What Licences Must Canadian Online Casinos Have?

After a fair amount of digging, I discovered that a business owner who wants to legally operate a website offering online fruit machines and the classics, such as roulette and blackjack, must first apply for and obtain the necessary operating licenses from the appropriate gambling commissions/licensing authorities.

Online gambling laws differ across the globe, and they even vary on a more local level, for example, from one province to the next in Canada or from one state to the next in America.

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

If you live in Canada and have been considering joining one of today’s most trusted sites, you might want to educate yourself like I did before registering anywhere to get a better understanding of the legal landscape.

I’ve put together this brief guide to the types of licenses sites like this must obtain to accept real cash wagers from Canadians, so let’s dive straight in to find out more about which license sites typically need to operate legally within the law.

Are online casinos legal in Canada?

Yes. However, the laws vary across the land. For example, the last time I checked, you must be at least 19 to play on sites like this in Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario, but in British Columbia, it’s like the rest of the world, where it’s just 18.

In Canada, I quickly discovered that the laws vary on a provincial level, meaning each region is responsible for governing its own online [and offline] gambling laws.

Therefore, anyone wishing to open a website like this must comply with provincial laws and abide by its strict code of conduct and regulations.

The main governing bodies that oversee this particular industry in Canada are the following:

  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Quebec Commission for Alcohol, Racing and Games
  • Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
  • British Columbia Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch
  • Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario

What other trusted licensing issue licenses?

Others include the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission, and the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority. I also found out that there are currently no laws prohibiting Canadians from signing up to offshore sites licensed outside Canadian borders.

Some of the website sites that are licensed by one or more of these authorities may not have online fruit machines, blackjack, roulette, etc. They may only have online sports betting services.

The most reliable site I always refer to when I’m looking for a trustworthy website to join with online fruitys and the classics from award-winning software providers is the very informative AskGamblers CA review site.

The geo-location detectors on this site will know the location/province you are visiting from (unless you use a VPN, which I suggest switching off). When you land on their website, a complete list of relevant suggestions will be presented to you.

You may also find that many of today’s best Canadian sites are multi-jurisdictional, meaning they are legally permitted to operate in more than one province/country. This is more common with the world-class brands.

For example, I have learned that many of the trustworthy Canadian sites I have joined over the years are also licensed in the United Kingdom by the Gambling Commission, meaning that they can also accept real cash wagers from anyone aged 18 or above in the UK.

Other sites I have joined I have discovered are also licensed in Malta (by the Malta Gaming Authority) in Curacao (by Curacao eGaming), on the Isle of Man (by the Gambling Supervision Commission) or in Gibraltar (by the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner), to name a few.

These are all classed as mid to top-tier licensing authorities because of their extremely high standards and commendable legal frameworks they have to protect the operators and anyone who signs up to these sites.

What does it mean for an operator to be licensed?

When an operator obtains the necessary license from a mid to top-tier authority, it means they can be trusted. I know that when I find a Canadian site licensed and regulated by one or more of these authorities, it is a safe site.

Before being issued a license, that region’s authority will conduct in-depth investigations and thorough background checks to ensure the operator is reputable and legitimate.

The worst sites I would NEVER recommend registering an account with are ones that are completely unlicensed and regulated because they do not have your best interests at heart.

Your money and any personal details or preferred payment method details you provide to them when you sign up are simply NOT in safe hands. Fortunately, there aren’t too many of these rogue/fake/scam sites, but they do exist, so you should always be careful.

This is why I only ever trust the brands recommended to me by the experts on Ask Gamblers. Their dedicated team of researchers carefully handpicked only the safest and most secure site after conducting the proper research, which I don’t normally have time to do and wouldn’t even know where to look if I did carry out my own research.

Each of their featured sites accept Canadian dollars and a range of trusted Canadian online payment methods, like PayPal, Interac, Visa, Mastercard, Neteller, Instadebit, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, among others.

After finding a suitable licensed site to join from this famous review site, you may want to carry out a few checks of your own for added peace of mind.

For example, if a site says that it’s licensed by a reputable authority, you can easily check the list of licensees on their website to see if they are in fact licensed by them.

Canadians today have access to some of the world’s best sites that use high levels of SSL encryption security to protect your account, and they now have thousands of fruitys and classics to choose from.

I’ve found that the 24-hour player support is top-notch, the sign-up process is easy, and the generous bonuses come with fair and realistic wagering requirements. The same cannot be said for unlicensed sites, which, don’t forget, must be avoided at all costs.