Online gambling industry’s seen plenty of reform in recent years. However, even if you're a dedicated gambler, you might still find idea of placing bets on the Internet too overwhelming to give it a shot yourself. Today, we're here to change that.
In general, online gambling means using internet to place bets on sports and play casino games at a real money casino. Bettors place wagers virtually, and an online casino places the winnings in a dedicated account.
Consider this a beginner's guide to gambling online. Even if you’re a professional, though, our overview could give you new insights and help you improve.
We’ll help you understand the principles behind the best online gambling sites. That way, you can take advantage of all their benefits from home.
We'll go into more depth about the various aspects of this ever-evolving industry below. There'll also be a section dedicated specifically to online gambling in Canada. In a nutshell, here's what you'll learn today.
- Which gambling sites are safe for Canadians
- Which sites are the best and why
- Which games are available online and how to play them
- The principles of responsible gambling
Online Gambling Sites
There's a long list of websites that bring online gambling to Canada. While it's always good to have multiple options at your disposal, it can be a hassle for new players to choose the right operator.
Plus, if you’ve spent a lot of time gambling online on a single website and are now seeking change, you can find yourself overwhelmed by the options.
To help you choose, our CasinoScout experts cherry-picked the operators listed above.
You'll find overviews of each online gambling site's services on our website. We try to highlight the essential aspects of the best online gambling sites in general, while also paying particular attention to things relevant to online gambling in Canada.
However, you might want to look outside our proposed lists and find new online casinos by yourself. In that case, the criteria our experts use can serve as guidelines to help you make the right choice.
🛡️ Security & Reliability
Each online gambling site we suggest holds reliable licenses from respected regulators. Before adding a name to our list of the best online gambling sites, we also require the site use high-level encryption.
These two factors ensure your financial and personal information is staying safe while you play.
🃏 Game Variety
One of the best things about gambling online is that you can enjoy a much broader selection of games in one place.
So, we check the number of betting markets for those looking to place wagers on sports and the casino options for those who enjoy slots and table games. Tournaments, poker rooms, and live dealers are also factors in finding the best online gambling sites.
💳 Financing Options
The criteria for grading financing options are all about security and convenience. Operators must cooperate with reliable financing services.
Moreover, all the best online gambling sites feature various payment methods for you to choose from, focusing on ease and practicality.
📞 Customer Support
Being able to talk to a real person is vital for all players, especially novices. Plus, the staff have to be knowledgeable and friendly. Customer support should be available through various channels and easy to access.
🎁 Bonuses and Promotions
Offering a welcome package and regular promotions for existing players is the norm among online gambling sites worldwide. The question is whether the offer is fair, generous, and easy to obtain.
While checking this section, we also examine the VIP schemes to see how inclusive and rewarding they are.
Online Gambling in Canada
Online gambling should operate under strict, even-handed laws. They have to be flexible while still protecting everyone’s interests.
However, the laws regulating online gambling in Canada are quite murky. This might make you apprehensive about starting gambling online.
The grey area comes from the fact that it's illegal for companies to operate online gambling sites and poker rooms in Canada. Still, residents can access casinos from the country if their operator of choice is based offshore.
So, the short version is: it's legally safe for you to enjoy online gambling in Canada if you're doing so from a foreign casino. Let's explain the rules in a bit more depth, though.
⚖️ Canadian Gambling Laws
Gambling was illegal in Canada several decades ago, but the laws keep evolving even today. Raffles and bingo got legalized first, and gaming machines became available in 1985.
It took several decades for online gambling to explode in popularity. Today, the Criminal Code of Canada still prohibits Internet gaming operations in the country, but several provincial governments can run operators and lotteries.
🏹 The Kahnawake Gaming Commission
This authority was launched in 1996, and it still represents the most notable exception to the prohibition.
The body regulates gambling and grants permits on Mohawk Territory, including online casinos, bookmakers, and land-based gambling. It's licensed over 50 operators for now, which launched more than 250 online gambling sites.
The licensing requirements are quite strict, which means that only high-quality websites get to operate under this Commission. So, apart from offshore casinos that accept Canadian players, you can enjoy Kahnawake casinos, as their entirely legitimate and high-quality.
If you're going for an offshore alternative, check which licence the operator holds. Most gambling establishments that operate worldwide will have broad-spectrum licenses like the one from the Malta Gaming Authority.
Also, check that the operator is authorized to run its business in your location. Even if it accepts online gambling from Canada in general, it might not be allowed in individual provinces.
While you won't suffer legal consequences if you play at such a website, your account could be deactivated, and you’ll lose your money.
👮♂️ Ensuring Law Abidance
Remember, the websites we suggest will be the ones that allow online gambling in Canada. As you develop your research skills, it'll be easier for you to spot something fishy when you see it, too.
However, if you're looking for more support regarding responsible gambling, several official organizations could also help you.
- The Kahnawake Gaming Commission: Apart from issuing gambling permits, this organization is a fantastic information source.
- Play.Smart: You'll find extensive information about gambling principles, game strategies, and advice to spot problem gambling, in English and French.
- The Canadian Gaming Association: A national association looking to advance the industry that also works on informing players and helping settle disputes.
- The ADR Institute of Canada: A professional dispute resolution body that you can contact if you have any legal issues with an operator.
- The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation: A massive industry player that operates in many provinces, this body is happy to share insight about the industry in general while promoting their products.
Is Gambling Online Safe?
While any service that involves real money can include risk, all the best online gambling sites ensure your safety. The industry is generally secure for the players, too, as long as you take precautions.
People often worry about getting cheated or into legal trouble while gambling online. However, only the unlucky few face such issues in real life.
Getting Ripped Off
This safety concern is the most prominent and likely. While it doesn’t happen that often, there are cases of companies disappearing with customer funds, not paying winnings, or denying withdrawals.
While this may happen to you while you're gambling online, the risks are marginal. Plus, noticing that a site promotes shady, unethical activity is effortless if you're aware of the processes that run behind them.
As long as you check the licenses and read the reviews, you'll learn how to spot bad apples in no time. When it comes to regulations, get informed about reputable (and not-so-reputable) names.
Breaking the Law
As we explained above, you do need to research a bit to ensure you're joining a legal operator that provides online gambling for Canada.
Personal Details Getting Compromised
You might worry about your information getting sold or stolen.
However, even with the most reputable companies implementing top-notch encryption, there's a chance of data getting stolen.
You can keep your antivirus software updated, use strong passwords, and choose safe payment methods such as e-wallets to reduce the risks related to data leaks.
This risk is different from others. It doesn't depend on the online gambling site, but you alone. Still, it's a danger, and you can prevent it by learning about the principles of responsible gambling.
Always set a budget and stick to it. Never invest any funds that you previously allocated to a more critical purpose. Many good operators let you set deposit limits, which can help you control your spending while you place wagers and spin the reels.
Learn about the signs of problem gambling and find resources that can help you before you make the first deposit. While it might seem like going overboard to do so early on, gambling addiction isn't worth the risk.
Benefits of Online Gambling
Online casinos continue to grow year after year. Recent innovations and more powerful devices only add to the excitement of online gambling.
Online gambling has become so prominent that provinces like Ontario are starting to license online casinos. It is no surprise that online gambling has become incredibly popular in Canada and worldwide.
Players opting for online gambling have many advantages compared to their real-world counterparts. They are more convenient, feature more promotions, and are usually cheaper. Another advantage of online gambling is the games!
Players can look forward to a more diverse range of titles, which you can easily swap between. We especially enjoy having frequent promotions, much more frequent than brick-and-mortar casinos.
If you have never tried online casinos before, it can be challenging to see all the advantages online gambling provides. Below, we explore the benefits of online gambling and what makes them the best pick for Canadian gamblers.
- No travelling, play anywhere
- Frequent bonuses
- Multiple payment methods
- Try games at no cost
- Lower costs
- More diverse game library
- Play on any device
- Available 24/7
- Have to travel to them
- Limited game options
- Fewer promotions vs online casinos
- Not available 24/7
What kind of advantages does gambling online bring? There are many upsides! Let’s list them first and then tackle them one by one.
The most apparent advantage of playing online is that you do not need to travel. You do not need to get fancy or spend time driving to and from a casino.
Even if you live near a casino, it can be a hassle. Doubly so if you need to travel for hours to get there! In contrast, online casinos are available wherever you want to play. You can enjoy it at home or on the road, as long as you have an internet connection.
Another upside to playing online is the presence of countless promotions. Bonus funds, free spins, cashback, loyalty programs, and many more bonuses are available to players frequently.
Online gambling also gives you plenty of options to deposit and withdraw funds. Many websites support popular Canadian payment methods, such as Interac and credit/debit cards.
However, websites can also use various e-wallets. Some even support deposits and withdrawals via cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin!
Gambling online also gives you the option of trying almost all available releases at no cost. Most casino games are available via a demo mode.
Most websites allow you to swap between free play and real money play easily. Use demo mode to try titles and find one that you enjoy. Then, swap to real money play to score some prizes!
Casino members also benefit from lower costs compared to real-world casinos. First, you have to consider the costs saved from not getting to the casino.
However, online casinos also offer lower minimum stakes compared to brick-and-mortar casinos. Some games allow you to play them for as little as one cent!
Not being limited by physical space also allows online casinos to offer more games. Table games and live dealer releases give us a way to experience popular casino games and all their variants!
Online gambling also features numerous slot games, far more than any real-world casino could match. We can easily switch between the various casino games. A few clicks quickly swap you to the next game you want to play!
Online gambling is available to players regardless of what device they enjoy playing on. Online casinos support personal computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. If you have an internet connection on your device, you will be able to play any casino you like.
Finally, online gambling is available 24/7. Online casinos never close their doors. No matter what time, day or night, you can enjoy your favourite games!
Meanwhile, land-based gambling has its fair share of issues. These are the ones that stood out the most to us.
One of the significant downsides of land-based gambling is going to the building. That is not a big problem if you live near a brick-and-mortar casino.
If you do not live near one, you will have to drive there or take the bus. You will also need to spend time getting ready, which eats into your free time.
The limited space in a real-world casino also ensures their game library cannot match online casinos. Land-based gambling features popular tables and maybe some niche titles. By contrast, online gambling gives us as many games as we want to play.
Additionally, land-based casinos do not offer as many promotions as their online counterparts. Websites compete with other websites, so they have frequent bonuses to keep you engaged. Brick-and-mortar casinos do not face nearly as much competition, making their bonuses less frequent.
Many land-based casinos also are not available 24/7. Some are, but most only allow you to visit during specific hours. Additionally, they will not be available during the holidays. Online gambling does not run into these issues. Websites and their games are available all the time!
The best online gambling sites have massive casino game selections that you can enjoy for free or real money. Today, many operators combine a bookmaker, casino, and poker room for extra convenience and to attract more customers. Gambling online lets you place wagers in new, exciting ways and play alternative versions of classic games.
No two operators from our list that provides online gambling in Canada will feature the exact same game library. You’ll still find the following game types available everywhere, however.
Of course, online slots are the most common casino game. Many high-level developers keep putting out new titles, further expanding the options available.
The most frequent slot types include:
- 3, 5, and 7-reels
- Fruit machines
- Classic slots
- Video slots
- Progressive slots
- 3D slots
- Single pay-line/multi pay-line slots
The mechanics behind slots are simple. Developers sometimes spice them up, though, by adding expanding or cascading reels, extra symbols, and many bonus games.
However, even with these additions, slots are an excellent entry-level casino game. They seamlessly combine simplicity with the adrenaline-pumping quality of gambling online.
The most popular blackjack options include:
- Lightning Blackjack
- ONE Blackjack
- Quantum Blackjack
- Power Blackjack
- Multihand Blackjack
- Infinite Blackjack
- All Bets Blackjack
- Free Bet Blackjack
Video poker uses the same principles of traditional poker. Some online gambling sites even develop their video poker variants as unique selling points.
Most notable titles include:
- Joker Poker
- Bonus Poker
- Jacks or Better
- Deuces Wild
- Bonus Deuces Wild
You'll often find a dedicated poker room and organized tournaments with large prize pools.
Any casino worth your time will feature the three most prominent roulette types: European, French, and American. Sometimes, they'll spice things up by including more balls or wheels.
Especially live roulette variants can be very fun to play, below we have highlighted the best ones:
- Lightning Roulette
- Immersive Roulette
- Mega Roulette
- Quantum Roulette
- American Roulette
- Double Ball Roulette
- Instant Roulette
This game of chance comes in many variants today, even more so if you play it online. Most often, you'll play with 30, 75, 80, or 90 balls. While the operators might name these variants differently, the rules stay the same.
The best online gambling sites also include a sportsbook in their offer. The basic principles of sports betting are straightforward. The bookie offers a sport, match and bet type, and presents odds. You place a wager, which wins or loses.
The essential aspect of any bookie is the number of betting markets, but you should also consider the odds' quality.
Another benefit of gambling online comes from the generosity of casino bonuses you get to claim with online operators. Casinos battle each other to lure in customers, and bettors profit from the competition.
All the best online gambling sites greet you with a welcome package when you first join them and provide regular promotions as you keep playing.
The exact terms and conditions and wagering requirements will differ, but most websites offer established bonus types. Let's take a look.
The advent of online gambling sites led to a significant improvement in the technologies used to run them. The focus was always on convenience.
As a result, today, you can also do some online gambling by playing on a mobile device. All you need to do is log onto your gaming account on the mobile casino, and you’ll be able to access sportsbooks, table games, and slots on the go.
There are two versions of mobile gambling available to players gambling online with established casinos.
- Mobile browser: in this case, you open the casino website through your mobile browser. Most operators optimize their sites to support seamless portable playing.
- Native app: some casinos have a casino app, which might have special bonuses available the first time you use it.
Apps often exist for Android and iOS devices. BlackBerry and Windows phone users might have to use the browser version. In the latter case, the games load quickly and smoothly on mobile devices, thanks to HTML5 technologies.
There's a downside to gambling online from your smartphone, though. Frequently, not all options you'd get to enjoy on the desktop are available on mobile. The situation is changing to some extent, though.
More developers are starting to keep mobile play in mind while developing their gaming software, which increases the portable libraries. The best online gambling sites make sure their service is better-rounded and more functional.
🛡️ Can I gamble online safely?
Yes. Online gambling sites tend to be safe and secure. If you're worried, you're likely thinking about bad exceptions.
If you're worried about safety, be sure to follow good security practices. Join reputable websites that hold proper licenses and have good encryption, go for secure payment methods, and keep your anti-malware software up-to-date.
🏆 What are the best online gambling sites?
The answer depends on what you're looking for from an online gambling site.
We’ve given you the tools to separate the good from the bad. Still, no two people are the same. They have varying requirements, and their checklists put the aspects we listed in different orders of importance.
Our recommendations combine all features of good betting establishments. However, the one you go for will depend on whether you're big on slots or sports betting, which payment methods you prefer, and whether you want to play on mobile, among other things.
👮♂️ Is online gambling legal in Canada?
Online gambling in Canada is legal for players. You can join a betting site from one of the provinces where it’s legalized or an offshore casino. It's illegal for Canadian companies to open betting establishments in the country, though.
💰 Which gambling game gives me the best odds?
Table games give you the best winning odds. While you can earn more in progressive slots, if you're looking to ensure a win, the following games have the best odds for the player:
- Blackjack - while it relies on chance, casinos put a relatively low house edge on blackjack, ensuring that you often win.
- Craps - this simple game gives you 50/50 odds if you place simple wagers.
- Roulette - this game also has odds close to 50/50 if you focus on more straightforward bets.
📱 Can I gamble using my mobile phone?
Yes, you can, at least on the best online gambling sites. They will feature either an optimized desktop version or a mobile app that lets you enjoy most of its offer on the go.