Is there a law that directly addresses the issue of online gambling in Canada? The answer is no. Of course there were negative sentiments regarding gambling in the years before the ‘60s, but that changed when the government gave provinces leeway to permit gambling or even poker in their areas. That is actually the time that casinos as well as lotteries began to take root.
Was empowering provinces tantamount to legalizing online gambling?
Well, that has not been brought out explicitly and different people in Canada hold varying views in this regard. What is not in debate, however, is that Canadians engage in online poker and participate in casino activities without hindrance or fear of being nabbed by authorities.
Here are some helpful facts about Canadian online gambling
- Canadian criminal code
This code does not give indication that online gambling is illegal; not unless the activity falls anywhere under known specific code areas. That leaves the ground relatively clear for online gambling to take place.
- Lack of charges
There is no history of anyone having been sued for getting involved with online gambling within Canada. Of course, there was an instance when the country’s Attorney General indicated that online servers that hosted online casinos as well as online poker rooms right from Indian reservations were illegal, but the fact is that nobody is on record as having been charged following that directive.
- Difference between the Canadian law and that of the US
One major difference is that Canada allows its provinces to regulate the licensing of online casinos whereas the US gives no such powers to its various states.
- Betting in Sports
Whereas in the US it is illegal to make bets on any sporting event, in Canada sport betting is not illegal.
There are many poker sites accessible from Canada. Of course, the hosting, apart from those on Indian reserves, is done outside Canada, but still there is no law making it illegal to gamble on any accessible site.
- Issue of taxes
Did you know that winnings from online gambling are not subjected to taxation in Canada? And that is the same case in the UK and also Ireland. Of course, that situation changes if it can be proven that the gambling being done is business oriented. A good example is the case of winnings by a poker player who is playing professionally. Otherwise in all situations where gamblers are just having fun, taxes do not apply.
Existence of Gaming Authorities
Canada has found it prudent to have a regulating body whose role is to ensure fairness in casino operations. It actually governs how activities are handled and also deal with problems that may arise from time to time. That body has the right to withdraw a license from any casino that breaks the regulating body’s rules. Of course, having the license withdrawn implies that the casino cannot continue to offer online gambling or any other form of gambling.
Any idea who the regulator is?
As mentioned earlier on, every province within Canada has the right to regulate gambling within its area. And then there is the world renowned Kahnawake Gaming Commission. In fact, this commission even has its own servers that host casino sites.
So, is it safe to play poker or gamble online in Canada?
The simple answer is yes. Online gambling has never gotten anyone into legal trouble within Canada. However, it is advisable to take the usual caution of checking out how credible the site is beforehand, but other than that everything else is fine.