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August 3, 2023

Who Regulates Online Gambling in Canada? 

Online gambling in Canada has experienced significant growth, offering players a convenient and accessible way to enjoy various enticing games. Since Canada does not have a unified stance on gambling regulation, online gaming is still illegal on the federal level, as stated in the Criminal Code of Canada. Still, the Canadian government has determined that each province can pass its laws to allow or prohibit online gambling. 

Provinces are also in charge of regulating and licensing online casinos on their territory. Most came up with specific gambling rules for players and businesses, so online gambling rules in Canada differ by province.

Provincial Regulatory Bodies

Each province has a regulatory body responsible for overseeing online gambling activities. These entities ensure that operators comply with local laws, protect players’ interests, and maintain the fairness of games.

Here is the list of relevant institutions in Canada:

These entities are responsible for issuing licenses, managing disputes, and handling the registration of online casinos. Another important organization is iGaming Ontario, which oversees casinos’ activities and ensures the highest industry standards are met to bring the best gaming experience to Canadian players.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are the two busiest and most prominent regulators in Canada, so we will have a closer look at their scope of work and policies.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC)

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) is a unique regulatory body located in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Quebec. Since it is a native reserve, it can pass separate laws. The KGC holds authority over online gambling operations within its jurisdiction. 

The KGC has been licensing and regulating online casinos and poker rooms since 1999. It prioritizes player protection and integrity in online gambling, ensuring that operators adhere to strict guidelines and provide a fair and secure gaming environment. Online casinos with servers within this native reserve are considered off-shore entities, so they are legal as per Canadian laws.

Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)

In the province of Ontario, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) oversees and regulates online gambling activities. AGCO is responsible for issuing licenses, enforcing compliance with provincial laws, and promoting responsible gambling. 

The introduction of online gambling in Ontario has led to the development of a new regulatory framework that aims to protect players while ensuring the integrity of the industry. Ontario’s iGaming Market was launched in 2022.

Ontario’s iGaming Market

Ontario is the only province in Canada that has entirely regulated the gaming market. The government of Ontario created iGaming, a unified market regulated by the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario. The market was launched in April 2022. 

It allows third parties to provide online gambling services if they register with the AGCO and sign the agreement with iGaming Ontario. Working together, iGaming Ontario and AGCO strive to create a clean and transparent online gaming environment that protects players, guarantees the integrity of games, and promotes responsible gaming.

International Online Casinos in Canada

Canadian gamers are allowed to play at international online casinos because Canadian laws do not apply to international websites. Many off-shore casinos are on the Canadian market, and these venues, operated by reputable international companies, provide numerous exciting games, attractive campaigns, and secure payment methods. 

They hold licenses from esteemed international regulatory bodies, such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Gibraltar Gaming Commissioner (GGC), and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). These licenses demonstrate compliance with rigorous standards for player protection, fair gaming, and responsible gambling practices.

International Gambling Authorities

International regulatory bodies provide casinos with licenses for legal operations. While they do not have direct authority over Canadian gambling activities, their licenses indicate that operators meet stringent standards and adhere to responsible gaming practices, providing an additional layer of assurance for Canadian players. Some of the most reputable authorities are the:

  1. Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
  2. UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
  3. Gibraltar Gaming Commissioner (GGC)
  4. Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA)
  5. Curacao Gaming Control Board (GCB)

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)

While not a Canadian regulatory body, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) plays a significant role in regulating online gambling operators present in the Canadian market. The MGA is a respected authority in the international gambling industry, known for its rigorous licensing and regulatory standards. Many online establishments based outside Canada, offering services to Canadian gamers, hold licenses from this authority to ensure compliance with international standards. 

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) plays a notable role in regulating many online gambling operators targeting Canadian players. The UKGC is widely recognized as one of the most stringent and reputable gambling regulators worldwide. 

This regulatory body focuses on player safety, ensuring that operators adhere to strict regulations regarding transparency, fairness, and anti-money laundering measures. Some online gambling operators choose to obtain a UKGC license to demonstrate their commitment to fair play, player protection, and responsible gambling practices, even when operating in Canada.

Gibraltar Gaming Commission (GGC)

The Gibraltar Gaming Commission (GGC) is a reputable regulatory body that oversees the licensing and regulation of online gambling operators based in Gibraltar, but its licenses are accepted worldwide. 

With its robust regulatory framework, the GCC ensures that licensed operators maintain high standards of player protection, fair play, and responsible gambling practices. Its requirements and regular audits contribute to the integrity and trustworthiness of online casinos operating under its realm, providing fair play assurance to players in Canada and around the world.

Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA)

The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) is an expert organization responsible for overseeing and ensuring the integrity, legality, and safety of the gambling market in Sweden. It issues licenses for lotteries and regulates various gambling activities. The SGA focuses on maintaining a transparent and balanced gaming market, reducing illegal gambling operations, and mitigating potentially harmful social effects. 

This regulatory body issues licenses and provides training and information on gambling legislation. It plays a crucial role in safeguarding the interests of consumers and maintaining the integrity of the Swedish gaming industry. Despite its primary focus on the Swedish market, the authority’s standards and regulations have gained international recognition.

Curacao Gaming Control Board (GCB)

The Curacao Gaming Control Board (GCB) is based in Curacao but oversees the licensing and regulation of global online gambling operators. Canadian players often encounter online casinos licensed by the GCB. The Board is responsible for ensuring compliance with strict regulations and standards.

It aims to maintain a fair and transparent gaming environment and strives to protect players’ interests by setting guidelines for responsible gambling practices. GCB promotes measures to prevent underage gambling and mitigate problem gambling issues. The Board conducts audits and assessments of licensed operators to ensure adherence to regulations. While the GCB’s regulatory framework is not as stringent as in some other licensing jurisdictions, the authority plays a significant role in licensing online casinos worldwide.

How To Choose an Online Casino

An online casino must provide a regulated and safe gaming environment with licenses from reputable regulatory bodies and advanced encryption protocols for data protection. 

Trustworthy venues will also promote responsible gaming by allowing you to set spending limits to keep the activity from getting out of hand. Establishments taking care of their regular players will always offer budget control and self-exclusion options.

Payment methods are also important. You should have multiple and convenient banking options at your disposal to conduct secure and quick money transfers. The most popular and convenient methods are:

Fast and reliable payouts without hidden and unreasonable fees are a clear sign that the venue respects its players. Check out professional reviews to find out how your fellow seasoned gamers rate the casino.

Top 10 Online Casinos in Canada

The following table shows the ten best online casinos in Canada picked according to the highest standards— the number of obtained licenses, user experience, payment options, security measures, and customer support. They offer strong data protection, an exceptional gaming environment, and fair games with genuinely random outcomes.

Besides meeting the highest industry standards regarding safety and fair play, all mentioned establishments offer lucrative welcome bonuses for new players, typically a deposit match and free spins. Frequent players enjoy additional benefits, including daily rewards and loyalty points. Check our comprehensive reviews to learn more about their key features and bonus offers.

 

CasinoLicensesGateway
PlayOJO• Malta Gaming Authority
• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
• UK Gambling Commission
• Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego in Spain
• Dirección General de Juegos y Sorteos in Mexico
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Casino Classic• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
• Malta Gaming Authority
• UK Gambling Commission
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Luxury Casino• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
• Malta Gaming Authority
• UK Gambling Commission
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Ruby Fortune• Malta Gaming Authority
• Swedish Gambling Authority
• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
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Wildz• Malta Gaming AuthorityVisit the casino NOW!
Unibet• Malta Gaming Authority
• Swedish Gambling Authority
• UK Gambling Commission
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Casumo• Gibraltar Gaming Commissioner 
• Malta Gaming Authority
• Swedish Gambling Authority
• UK Gambling Commission
Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego in Spain
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SpinAway• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
• Curacao Gaming Control Board
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NorthStar Bets• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of OntarioVisit the casino NOW!
Captain Cooks• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
• Malta Gaming Authority
• UK Gambling Commission
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