If you asked anyone who lives in Canada if gambling on online casinos is legal you are likely to get vague responses. The truth is that not a lot of people know what the law about online gaming is. Most people assume that since Bingo and the lottery are permitted surely online gambling should just be as legal. It isn’t. There might be no actual law that people can point to, but why is it that that most of the gaming sites are run by companies based in foreign countries like Antigua, Cyprus, the Isle of Man or Malta (review of Malta online casinos powered by Microgaming: http://www.onlinecasinosreviewed.ca/microgaming-casinos)?
Which line should you never go over to stay within the laws?
To understand Canada’s casino gambling laws, we need to understand how the law actually works. Gambling itself is covered by provincial laws. The legality of it depends if there is something criminal that a person is doing through an offshore company is criminal. The internet makes things a little complicated because there are no boundaries in the World Wide Web. We can use old case history to make some form of judgment. We could look at the case involving Starnet Communication International which was running an online casino with a license from Antigua in 2001 but operating from Canada. In that case the company was guilty for accepting bets from Canadians. That particular company probably would have avoided prosecution if its business was based in some other country like the thousands of casinos that Canadians use.
Who enforces these laws?
Canadians themselves who play poker or slots or whatever game of chance they play online may not be violating any laws. It’s the companies that should be worried. The issue of jurisdiction lying with the Provinces is one that confuses a lot of people. What we know so far is the Province of British Columbia offers online lottery tickets and has been accepting sports betting since 2004 and only added 2009. Online casino games and bingo were added a year later. Quebec and Manitoba and Ontario also offer online gambling. There are inter-provincial agreements that allow gambling across provinces and certain restrictions on certain provincial sites. This already sounds sketchy and a bit gray and this is why offshore operators are able to attract Canadians onto their gambling sites.
The Case of the Kahnawake Gaming commission
There’s the case of the Kahnawake gaming commission, which is not exactly offshore. This particular commission in Quebec, which looks after the interests of the First Nations Territory has been issuing licenses to Canadian companies since 1999. This commission has been regulating online casinos and gambling in its territory longer than any other country in the world. The only rule is that the Casino must be located on Kahnawake land and be secured on their servers. They are arguably the world’s largest online casino hosts and they are making money off it.
There hasn’t been a case in Canada of someone being prosecuted for playing in online Casinos yet. The issue of online casino legalities has been one that has plagued many countries considering the amount of money casinos make and the tax revenue that isn’t recouped. Online gambling has been a haven for organized crime and maybe it’s time things becomes less grey and laws are actually put in place to stop criminals from exploiting innocent gaming and gambling.