Located on the North American continent, Canada lies above the USA geographically. In terms of its land mass, it ranks as the second-largest in the world. Canada features a diverse population spread across its provinces and territories. The population includes people from all over the world who have all contributed to the Canadian culture in some way. This includes music, art and culture, traditions, languages and more. However, officially, Canada is a bilingual country. Most of the population speaking English, and citizens of Quebec speak French primarily.
However diverse the population and demographics of Canada are, the one thing that most Canucks have in common is a love for sports and all manner of games. This is especially true where skill or prowess is involved. Among the most popular sports in Canada are ice hockey, basketball, American football, horse racing, etc.
Canadians also have a strong history of gambling. Many forms of simple gambling games made their way over with the first immigrants to Canadian shores. This is even long before John Cabot landed in Canada in 1497. However, after the early 1970s, the Canadian government of the time began to institute gambling laws, which brought about changes to the Canadian Criminal Code. In doing so, it made provision for official licensing and regulation of all gambling activities spread throughout Canada at the time.
Gambling History of Canada
As you might imagine, Canada’s gambling history is about as tumultuous and convoluted as the rest of its history. While some point to the arrival of maritime explorer John Cabot as the start of gambling in Canada, others point out that gambling was popular among indigenous tribes long before his arrival to those shores.
Many local native tribes, particularly in the Pacific North-West, played a game called Sla-Hal, also known as the Bone Game. This game contained highly structured ritualistic elements and was played between two teams of equal size. The game featured gambling, which was contained within the complex spiritual nature of the game. The game is still played in many parts of Canada by local tribes today.
With European settlement and government, the approach to all forms of gambling was highly conservative. Inevitably, this resulted in the banning of many gambling games, which included popular dice games like backgammon, previously banned back in England by Richard the III in 1380. However, despite this, gambling still thrived in Canada among many communities until stronger regulations were introduced in 1892. The new ban on gambling was tenuous at best, considering that other forms of gambling such as bingo and raffles were legal under charitable purposes.
A few years later, horse race betting had been legalised and placed on the Canadian government’s allowed list of gambling activities. Then, in 1925, the government decided to include various exhibitions and fairs held throughout Canada to offer forms of legalised gambling. 1969 saw the introduction of provincial and national lottery games. The then government needed a new way to raise much-needed funds for state projects. This included a special lottery held in 1974, aimed at funding the Montreal Olympics.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada?
To operate any brick and mortar casino establishment, a license must be procured through the Canadian Gambling Authority. Altogether, this applies to all provinces and territories within Canada’s borders.
However, each province or territory has the right to decide what type of gambling to allow and how much gambling to permit within its borders. In 2004, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to offer legalised online gambling activities. The official website, PlayNow.com, offered legalised gambling options to residents of British Columbia and quickly expanded to include residents of Manitoba.
Interestingly, it is legal for Canadians to gamble at an online casino, provided that the online casino is not operated on Canadian soil. For this reason, you will find that most of the casinos offering gambling services to Canadians house their servers on indigenous lands, which are considered sovereign land. This does not include legal options that the various provinces have created. Examples include the BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corporation), Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Loto-Quebec, etc.
How We Evaluate Our Top Canada Online Casinos
Canada continues to grow and expand their online casino markets. There are many well-established international options now offering their services to Canadian gamblers. However, knowing what to look for can be very tricky, as you’ll invariably have to sign up with the casino first before you’re likely to discover bad practices on their part.
Many players prefer to use a resource such as the one we offer, where all guesswork has been taken out of the equation. Using our list of trusted and vetted online casino options for Canada, you’re always sure to find a trustworthy and enjoyable casino.
As a way of assuring confidence within our services to you, the following briefly outlines some of our expert team’s criteria to find and evaluate the best Canadian casinos for our lists.
Welcome Bonus Offers
The welcome bonus, or sign up bonus, is often the feature that new and experienced gamblers will look at first when considering an online casino. This makes sense since this is also the primary method that casinos will use to attract new players to sign up with them. However, no two welcome bonus offers are quite the same. Each has to be evaluated very closely on its individual merits.
At Gamblescope, we consider the actual amount and the real cash value to our readers. We also closely look at the various terms and conditions or ‘fine print’ that each bonus offer contains. Furthermore, we make sure that the offer is transparent, fair, and of good value to players in a real-world sense.
Wagering requirements are among the most important terms related to a welcome bonus or any other type of casino bonus for that matter. It is essential to consider the wagering requirements of a bonus very carefully. These can often make or break an offer and ultimately determine whether or not you can utilise the proposal to its fullest potential.
If wagering requirements are too high or the time allocated to complete wagering requirements is too short, we’ll let you know. We may even exclude casinos that push the limits of reasonable wagering requirements to ensure that you always get a fair shake.
The best Canada casinos need to meet the demands of Canadian players. It includes offering the best possible variety of payment options that suit all players in the region. Not only in terms of safety and convenience but also ones that can be used with CAD where ever possible.
The variety should be so that Canadians can select from various payment types, including credit and debit card, eWallets, pre-paid cards, bank transfers, cryptocurrencies, and so forth. The casino should also afford instant deposit times regardless of the chosen payment option (within reason) and fast payout turnaround times once a request is made.
Safety and Security
With so many cases of identity theft and other cybercrimes happening online these days, web safety and security is more important than ever. Every online casino Canada option that we evaluate must feature the very latest in digital security. This includes the newest version of SSL or TSL digital encryption, mobile security, anti-virus and anti-malware software, as well as up to date licensing through a top regulator such as MGA, UKGC, and Kahnawake.
Support and Language
We generally prefer Canada online casino options that can deliver 24-hour customer support through various communication mediums, including live chat, email, and direct call support. Many online casinos also feature contact and support through different social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Since Canada is officially a bilingual country, we also prefer online casinos that offer customer support in both English and French. However, do look at other language options, including German, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and others.
Popular Canada Online Casino Welcome Bonus Offers
The best Canada casinos will offer various welcome bonus types designed to suit as many different player profiles as possible. However, most will generally consist of one of the following types, with their own embellishments added as they see fit.
No deposit bonus
The no deposit bonus is often the first type of bonus offer to greet prospective players from Canada. As the name suggests, this type of bonus does not require a cash deposit from you first to benefit from what the casino is offering.
No deposit bonuses are a great way to test the online casino in a real-world environment by spending real money on real games, all on the casino’s dime. While most of the no deposit bonus offers will be small, they still offer enough to get a good idea of what the casino is all about.
To qualify for a no deposit bonus, you’ll need to create an account with the casino first. It is also worth noting that, while the money is free, you’ll still need to complete wagering requirements to collect your winnings. Depending on the casino in question, you may also find a no deposit bonus being offered as free spins in place of cash.
The welcome bonus
The welcome bonus is most often the big bonus item that most casinos will offer you. Unlike the no deposit bonus, this type of bonus will require a cash deposit above a certain minimum from you. Depending on the casino, you may only receive a cash match on your first deposit or over several deposits in a row. Some casinos will offer you a set of free spins to go along with the cash match portion of the bonus.
The reload bonus is sometimes offered after the first deposit welcome bonus but can also be provided as an ongoing feature or promotion at the casino. Quite simply, the reload bonus is available to you whenever you decide to add more funds or ‘reload’ your account.
Casino Software Providers and Casino Games
The best Canada online casinos benefit from various top software providers, supplying them with all sorts of games. Ultimately, this may include slots, virtual blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker, live dealer games, jackpots, video poker, bingo, scratch cards and more.
Expect to find quality games from software providers like:
Red Tiger Gaming
Play ‘n GO
Mobile Casino Gaming in Canada
Mobile casino gaming in Canada is on the rise. It is quickly becoming the number one way Canadians, particularly younger ones, are accessing their favourite casino games. Most of the newer Canada online casinos will offer direct access via mobile browser, doing away with the apps altogether. However, you’ll still find some online casinos in Canada featuring downloadable apps for iOS and Android devices.
You can enjoy a wide variety of casino games on your mobile device, and the list of optimised games grows bigger every day. This includes most of the best slots, virtual tables, jackpots, video pokers, bingo, lotto, and even live dealer games. Depending on the game, you can enjoy mobile casino in portrait or landscape modes on your phone or tablet.
Payment Methods for Playing at Canada Online Casinos
The best Canada online casinos feature a wide variety of payment options. Many of these operators are international and must cover as many options for as many territories as possible. As a result, Canadians can pick and choose from the best, most convenient and most secure payment methods. While some are specially designed for the Canadian market, like iDebit, InstaDebit and Interac, others are more global. The list could include PayPal, Paysafe Card, Neteller, Skrill, Visa, MasterCard, EcoPayz, Neosurf, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many others.
Top Canada Online Casinos Round-up
Canada is quickly becoming one of the biggest online casinos markets in the world. This is not surprising, considering the sheer size and population volume of the country. With many provincially mandated options now enhanced with top-quality international operators, Canadians are spoilt for choice. As long as you do your homework, or better yet, make exclusive use of the quality casino advisory services that we provide, you will always be able to enjoy the best online casino experiences in Canada. This is true whether playing at home or on the go via your favourite mobile device.