Canadians have been and always likely will be spoken about in the same breath as Americans due to the proximity of the two countries. Ask a Canadian, however, and they will be quick to point out the many differences between the two countries (in the most polite manner of course). The same can be said about the two nations when discussing the online casino market; while it might look very similar, there are some significant differences which make the Canadian market unique in its own way.
The online casino experts at Legit Casinos Online research every casino they come across to bring you the most up to date information about the market. When it comes to localizing our reviews, we like to bring in experts directly from the countries we are discussing, so the information you receive is as relevant as possible to your situation. We know that there are tons of choices for online casino play in Canada. With that in mind, we want you to see our Top 5 Recommended Canadian online casinos first, then we will get into how we came up with these recommendations.
Online casinos have been very popular with Canadians since they were introduced in the late 1990s. It’s not hard to understand why; Canada is an enormous country with a large rural population, making it tough for many casino lovers to make it to a land-based facility. The online casino industry allows those who love to play tables games and slots the chance to do so while sitting on their couch.
What many people don’t realize about Canada is how integral Canadians are to the online gaming world. The first large-scale online casino software companies came out of Canada, with Cryptologic leading the charge. Also, many foreign operators placed their marketing teams, and some customer service agents in Canada due to the more liberal government take on the legality of the business.
With some very public Canadian figures emerging from the mushroom cloud of online casinos, most notably that of Bodog’s Calvin Ayre, the online casino industry was here to stay in Canada. While Cryptologic is long gone, and Mr. Ayre finds himself holed up in Antigua, Canadians still love to play their favorite casino games and have hundreds of online casinos to choose from.
Canada does indeed have a very liberal policy on online gambling; there really is no policy to speak of. No laws are prohibiting either operators running an online casino or players playing at them. Having said that, most operators who accept Canadian players still do so from other countries, as one never knows when Canada may follow their neighbors to the south and implement restrictions. For the time being, online casinos have the choice to accept players from Canada, and as you will see in our reviews, there are still a few who won’t take Canadians. This is usually due to a restriction that comes from the software vendor, who may have an office in the country.
Where the legality topic gets a little more confusing is when you look at the provincial lotteries’ involvement in online casinos. In the mid-2000s, the provinces started to form opinions about their place in the online casino space as a way to win back the significant revenue being lost to offshore operators. Starting with the province of British Colombia, many of the provinces determined that their gaming authority also reached online, so they began to open their own “legal” operations. Canadians who wanted to could play at these sites and feel safe knowing it was the government holding on to their money.
However, with no legislation introduced to outlaw the offshore operators, these casinos were in for tough competition. In fact, the government-run sites fall far behind their competitors when it comes to promotions and bonuses. So, is online casino play legal in Canada? Well, it depends on who you ask.
One thing about the launch of the government-run online casino sites in Canada that was good for the whole industry is that it gave the mobile platform providers the ability to approve native apps for their phones. What this means for Canadian online casino players is that in many cases your online casino likely has an app available in your phone’s app store.
A native online casino app will give Canadians a much cleaner look and feel for their favorite games, with all the graphics being stored locally on your phones. In our reviews, you will see which sites have mobile apps and which ones use games that work on your phone or tablet’s browser. In either case, Canadians have excellent options for playing the best slots and table games while they are using mobile devices.
We have reviewed hundreds of online casinos available for Canadian players, and as you can see from our rankings above, there are some incredible options for you to join a site and start enjoying their casino offering. To come up with these rankings and recommendations, we start with a standard set of questions that our reviewers try to answer:
For most online casino players, the decision of where to play comes down to a few simple pieces. One of these is the look and feel of the casino content, which is directly related to the software vendor of choice. Canada’s relaxed view on online gambling is great news for players; most of the big software companies in the space will allow their licensees to accept Canadian players. While there are some exceptions, you will find most of the games and titles you have heard or already love available to you online.
One thing that you should look for when you are choosing a site is whether or not the software has been audited. The unfortunate side of an unregulated jurisdiction is that some rogue vendors can come into the space with some unscrupulous behavior. It’s pretty easy to spot safe sites; they will display a logo from one of the independent auditing firms such as TST or Gaming Associates. You can be sure that any online casino’s Random Number Generator is running properly if you see one of these seals on the homepage of a site.
Most online casino operators offer a series of promotions that are site-wide; deposit bonuses, leaderboard contests, etc. However, if the market is deemed worthy of a little extra attention, then the owners start to develop localized promotions that are meant to have more impact on the targeted group.
Canadians must be an excellent source of revenue for online casinos because you don’t have to look too hard to find some great promotions that are only open to Canadians. Some casino operators have entered into partnership agreements with “real-world” brands to be able to provide prizes that aren’t just bonus chips or spins. These are usually aspirational prizes (trips, sporting events, etc.) which will have much smaller pools of players as they are restricted by the borders of the country.
This is a question we get a lot here at Legit Casinos Online from our Canadian players. Now, all online casinos will take your deposits in Canadian dollars, but most of them will convert that into U.S. dollars before it hits your account. That might not seem like a big deal to many people reading this, but with a horrible exchange rate, your balance can look tiny when not in the CDN. Furthermore, the sites usually use the conversion to make a couple of extra points off your money by not offering the best exchange rate.
You should definitely check with your casino to see if they will let you play in Canadian dollars, and more importantly if you will be paid in Canadian dollars. We have seen one too many horror stories of players waiting a couple weeks to get their checks in the mail only to find that the check is in USD, and will take another 3 weeks to clear at the bank.
In an industry where players can access their casino games 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it seems only right that a casino should offer customer service to match. You would be surprised how often that is not the case. All online casino sites offer email customer service which usually comes with a delay of up to a few hours for a response. Recently, the more reputable firms have added live chat as an option, and in even more rare circumstances, a casino will offer a phone number to call for assistance.
Where it gets a little trickier for Canadian online casino players is the hours that these live options are available. Many of the sites only have their phones staffed during primetime hours, which can mean something very different to a player in Vancouver than to someone in St. John’s. Make sure to check all our reviews of Canadian-friendly online casinos to see which offer customer service (in English and French) 24/7 so you know that any potential issues you come across will be dealt with in an appropriate amount of time.
The Canadian online casino market continues to be one of the most active around the world. With so many sites to choose from, including some legal alternatives, there is no shortage of places for Canadians to deposit their funds. We are confident that with our help, you will not only find the right site for you but maybe even come out of it a big winner!