There’s absolutely no doubt that online gambling is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in various places in the world – and Canada has cottoned onto that. But the regulation across the country can still be confusing – what’s legal and in which provinces?
We’re going to take a look at iGaming & gambling regulations for the people who want to play at new online casinos in Canada and all of the games they have. We’ll also take a closer look at one of the latest provinces to change things: Ontario.
How Gambling works in Canada
It was just a few short months ago – April of 2022, that Ontario opened up its doors and let the big wide world of online casinos in. This big change in the legislation allows all of the businesses that offer online gambling to apply for a licence to operate there. This licence is handed out by the Liquor and Gaming Commission and is needed to legally offer gambling services in the province.
This was a huge deal for the whole of the iGaming and gambling industry – Canada has previously had an incredibly strict outlook on gambling regulation. The only way to get licensed in Canada was to have one issued by the province they wish to operate in, and any company wanting to do business there would have to stick to each province’s individual regulations.
These governing bodies don’t directly operate the casino, they only handle the licensing. It’s down to private companies to handle the online casino sites. Because each province is licensed differently, each one has its own licensing body that regulates everything gambling related within the confines of its jurisdiction.
The Case of Ontario
The government of Ontario commented back in 2020 that it had started making plans in creating a fully regulated iGaming and internet gambling sector and that regulating this would fall within the reach of its Gambling and Alcohol Commission. Registration for its iGaming Ontario program began at the end of 2021 and overseas online casino businesses could legally operate there from April 2022.
Thanks to these plans, gambling businesses from all over the world can offer their casino sites to the people of Ontario. In order to get a licence from iGaming Ontario, casino operators must be registered with the AGCO and then they can apply.
Introducing this new legislation could have a massive impact on the gambling industry, as it’s a whole new market to be established. Some of the biggest names in the gambling sector are jumping on this opportunity to offer their sites to this new and potentially lucrative market.
The Rest of Canada
Alberta is the only other province so far to allow third-party and overseas gambling companies in. All of the other states run on different legislation.
In most of the other provinces, gambling is run by governmental agencies, with incredibly strict regulations. It’s not just online casinos that are affected by these strict measures – sports betting is too. It was only recently that Canadians were able to place single-event bets – before a bill named Bill C-128 passed, all Canadians could only place parlay bets on more than one event.
The governmental agencies offer a range of different games and betting – from different lotteries to slot games and scratch cards. But due to their only being one place to play, there’s an extremely limited number of games on offer, with games from some of the big name developers such as Yggdrasil and NetEnt missing.
The Future of Online Gambling in Canada
You only need to look at other countries to try and see where the future of online casinos and betting lies with Canada. Other countries that are strict on gambling – such as America and India – are opening up their doors territory by territory and allowing third-party companies to offer their gambling-related services.
This has a number of advantages, including two big ones: A massive crackdown on illegal overseas gambling and also a big bump in gambling taxation revenue. This is what we can see from the two provinces of Canada that have opened up their doors so far – Alberta and Ontario. In just Ontario alone, gambling revenue is set to almost double from $1.6 billion to $2.3 billion in just a year!
It’s for these reasons and more it’s highly possible the rest of Canada will open up its doors to online casinos everywhere, ushering in a whole new era of Gambling regulation.