Canada is a country with a long and complicated relationship with both land-based and online gambling, so the establishment of the first legal online casinos and sportsbooks in the province of Ontario has come as a big surprise. While land-based casino gaming has long been a cherished (if relatively restricted) pastime in Canada, the rise of online gambling was largely ignored in the country, with domestic operations harshly regulated and prohibited. Despite taking years to pass through parliament, new legislation has enabled domestic casino and sportsbook operators to do business in Canada, but what does this mean for online casino lovers in Canada? Let’s run through some of the key points of the new online gambling laws, including the changes they have incurred and the iGaming platforms that are now legally available to players in the country as a result:
Online Gambling Now Legal in Ontario!
On April 4th 2022, history was made with the establishment of the first legal and regulated online gambling market in Canada. The province of Ontario will serve as the birthplace of this pioneering new market, which has been in the works deep in the bowels of government for over 3 years now. This change in legislation has been a long time coming for Canadian casino gamers, many of whom were previously forced to use unscrupulous offshore sites or unregulated and illegal domestic operators to play for real money online. Whether your game of choice is slot machines, roulette, video poker, blackjack, baccarat, scratch cards, craps, bingo or beyond, you should be able to find a legal and reputable Canadian casino site to play with now. Gambling has always been very popular amongst Canadians, but now players can access the best online casinos in Canada safely, securely and legally.
Changes in Sportsbook Betting
As if the news wasn’t good enough for those discerning Canadian casino gamers looking to make real money wagers with their favorite games online, it is worth noting that sports gambling is also now fully legal in Ontario. Whereas the only forms of sports betting previously legal in the country were horse race betting and spread-bet parlays, the passing of the controversial Bill C-218 removed the federal ban on domestic sportsbook betting in Canada, opening up the market considerably. There have already been multiple sportsbook betting platforms founded in Ontario this year, which is the first province to debut the new laws. The new market is expected to generate up to $800million in revenue in the coming year, which must be a good thing for Canadian business and the province of Ontario, as well as those sports lovers out there! Notable sportsbook operators currently available to customers in Canada include the BetMGM Sports Ontario, DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario, Unibet Ontario, Caesars Sportsbook Ontario and BetRivers Sportsbook Ontario.
iGaming Ontario-Approved Online Casinos
In line with the new rules, online casino or sportsbook operators must apply for a license with the regulatory body iGaming Ontario, which operates under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Toronto. iGaming Ontario imposed a strict deadline on operators in order to ensure that all operational platforms were approved and regulated once the new market went live. Some of the first approved iGaming platforms to go live in Ontario included LeoVegas.com, BetRivers.ca, RoyalPanda.com, PointsBet.ca, Coolbet.ca, on.Bet365.ca, Rivalry.com, 888casino.ca, and theScore.bet. Other notable platforms and operators that have recently been given the green light to operate in the province include Playtech, NorthStar Bets, Casumo Casino, and PokerStars Casino.
Concerns About Responsible Online Gambling
The big news that Ontario now allows online gambling has triggered concern amongst some anti-gambling and responsible gaming activists, prompting discussion surrounding ease of use and addiction. In such a tightly regulated market, it is not surprising that this dramatic shift has caused a stir. Nevertheless, the fact that many Canadian gamers will no longer have to rely on offshore platforms to play legally must be a positive, as are the wider financial implications for the Canadian economy and business. Always ensure that you are playing within your means and that you never play solely for financial gain. Make sure that you set yourself a sensible playing budget and stick to it, or take a break altogether if necessary.
Canadian Winnings Taxable Under New Law
As you might have expected, under Canadian law winnings earned at a sportsbook or casino site may be liable for tax. In line with the new legislation, this applies to funds accumulated in both land-based and online casino settings. This means that it’s extremely important that you keep on top of your incomings and outgoings, especially if you play regularly using real money wagers online. This will make it easier to fill out the gambling section declaration in your 1040 tax return form at the end of the tax year.