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Online Sports and Casino options for Canadians

When it comes to online gambling and online sports betting, the gambling laws in Canada don’t prohibit playing at international sites. What this essentially means is that Canadians are free to enjoy all the thrills that offshore online gambling websites offer.

This includes gambling establishments that are based in the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Malta, and Antigua.

According to gaming law expert with Dickinson Wright, Toronto, Michael Lipton, there have been no prosecutions that have resulted in convictions or guilty pleas. Offshore sports betting sites see Canada as a grey zone. Lipton has been involved with legal issues surrounding offshore gambling in Canada for a long time.

The United States government has restricted online banking options for gambling and they have stopped international sites from operating in the United States. The Canadian government, it seems, just turns a blind eye to online gambling and many may wonder why. In order to explain this let’s take a close look at the history of gambling in Canada. Discover more about gambling and the law in the US.

A brief History of Gambling in Canada

Gambling was legalized in Canada long before the internet existed. Each of the Canadian provincial governments were granted the authority to manage and conduct lotteries back in 1969.  That’s a long time ago. In 1985 the federal criminal code was amended to include control over computerized/video games of chance. This means that the decision on whether or not to operate or license legal online gambling sites in Canada remains the responsibility of each province or territory and there is no guidance within the law when it comes to gambling on the internet.

Attorney Chad Finkelstein, an expert in gaming law has said, “The criminal code was written decades ago, and these provisions with respect to gaming were drafted in the 1960s and haven’t really been updated since. These provisions were not drafted with anything remotely resembling the internet ever contemplated. So we have outdated, antiquated provisions, which makes it difficult to apply to a modern gaming business.”

He went on to say that this may be the reason why the Canadian government has never prosecuted offshore casino operators for games or sports betting that is directed at Canadians. He said, “most online gambling companies are relying on the possibility that they can’t be held liable in Canada since there isn’t a real and substantial connection between their offshore entity and Canadians who happen to access it.”

Things could be about to change though as Quebec passed Bill 74 on the 17th of May, 2016. This bill includes language authorizing the ministry of finance to order ISPs to IP-block online gambling sites other than EspaceJeux, the online gambling site run by Loto-Quebec.

Online Banking and Online Gambling in Canada

Online sports betting and casinos are popular and those who enjoy the action they find at Las Vegas can now enjoy it from the comfort of their own homes. The gambling sites make it so easy for players to sit back, relax, and play their favorite games. They make it easy for players to deposit and withdraw money in Canadian dollars from their accounts using credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, e-vouchers, and even their Canadian bank account.

There are those that worry about using their bank accounts but the Canadian Banking Association has already assured online gamers by saying, “Laws vary by province but, in general, many forms of online gaming are legal in Canada. Banks do reserve the right to prevent transactions if they believe the client is using the account for illegal or fraudulent purposes.”

Canadians and Online Sports Betting

When asked about online sports betting, Michael Lipton, said, “a fairly significant chunk of online sports bookmakers’ customer base is comprised of Canadians. He estimated that “as much as seven or eight percent in the low end to thirteen or fourteen percent in the high end” is Canadian based. The reason for this could be due to the fact that Canadian sports books don’t allow wagering on single sporting events and players have to use parlay betting.

Paul Burns, vice president of the Canadian Gaming Association estimates that the annual turnover for online sports betting exceeds $4 billion. He also said that in contrast to this, Canadian spend around $500 million on provincial sports lottery games. Read our blog post to learn more about sports betting.

Lipton has stated that this is a very large source of potential revenue for the Canadian government and that it also highlights the fact that the existing regulatory framework doesn’t work anymore. In his opinion the time has come for the government to look at this and think about how it can be changed.

If Bill C-221, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, which would amend a single section of Canada’s Criminal code to allow provinces and territories to allow single game sports wagers within their borders could be the solution. This bill is in the House of Commons but no decision has been reached.

Online Gambling Options for Canadian Gamers

International online casinos offer players 24/7 access to all their games, and the majority of them are also available to players on any device. PlayNow the provincially run online casino in British Columbia is the only Canadian casino that offers mobile access.

Another reason player favor international sites is the payout rate. The provincially run sites have to contribute a larger portion of their revenues to Canadian charities and other non-profit organizations and this means that the payout rates for sports betting and casino gambling is significantly lower. International sites have a RTP of 96% to 97% whereas provincially run Canadian casinos are much lower.

The jackpot prizes being offered at international sites are much higher. Provincially run sites are only available to residents in those provinces whereas international casinos are open to players from around the world meaning there is a lot more money to be had, and won. There are progressive jackpots available at international casino and when it comes to sports betting players can wager on single events. This in itself is one of the main reasons that Canadians choose offshore sportsbetting sites.

It really doesn’t paint a very good argument for provincially run casinos and sports betting sites does it? Offshore sites offer Canadian gamblers what they are looking for and that is one of the main reasons why they choose them over and over again. To help you find the best online casinos and sports betting sites be sure to visit Grizzly Gambling - the All Canadian, All Gambling Portal.