Online Casino Canada: Complete Guide 2020
Gambling is usually not only entertaining but also shrouded in mystery. Will we win or lose? How does this particular slot work? Do casinos store our payment data safely? And even if we have a big win, is there any chance that we will withdraw this money from an online casino?
Here at CasinoBeavers.com, we prepared the most complete overviews of online casinos that accept players from Canada. Our online casino reviews include the following information:
- Casino owner and year of establishment
- Gambling licenses and general reputation
- Site usability and design
- Game providers and the number of online slot games
- Presence of online casino live games
- Payment methods available for online casino players from Canada
- Online casino welcome bonuses
- Online casino reload bonuses
- Online casino tournaments
- Online casino VIP programs
Although we understand that players` personal experience is essential. That is why we try to include in our review all the information we have found in forums and comments about every particular online casino.
2020 CasinoBeavers Overview: Quality Casinos in Canada
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Are Online Casinos Legal in Canada?
Legal online casinos in Canada
Land-based and online casinos' legislation is very limited in Canada. On the level of the state, there is the only document that has respect to gambling - The federal Criminal Code of Canada. Lawmaker doesn't go in-depth here and seems to be a bit outdated. You won't find any definition of poker, slots, hazarding or even online gambling. The Criminal Code divides casino games into more abstract groups: games of chance and mixed skill, bet and lottery scheme. The actual aim of the document is not about gambling systematization, but to forbid private and public entities to provide gambling services if they have no government permission. So you can't go to Toronto Downtown and manage some poker table right on the street.
Canadian provinces have their own casino regulation since 1985. Most of the land-based casinos are owned by crown monopolies. This fact can be explained by simple economics theory. Since gambling is associated with a high level of risk, it is easier to control it on the state or province-level as a government monopoly. The revenue from casinos is distributed to community needs and infrastructure, also by province regulators. Consumer rights are also regulated on the level of province, for example by Quebec`s Act respecting Lotteries, Publicity Contests, and Amusement Machines.
First Nations in Canada holds the right to self-determination and self-government. This means they can manage gambling services in their territories. This is why the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has the right to issue licenses for Canadian online casinos. This First Nations right of self-government wasn't always associated with gambling. In the early 1990s, only agricultural societies could open casinos in Saskatchewan. After a big scandal around First Nations Bear Claw Casino arrest in 1993, the FSIN First Nation Gaming Act 1995 came into force and Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) was incorporated. Nowadays, SIGA owns 6 land-based casinos in Saskatchewan, such as Bear Claw Casino & Hotel, Dakota Dunes Casino, Gold Eagle Casino, Living Sky Casino, Northern Lights Casino and Painted Hand Casino.
Even on province level, regulator stays very limited about online gambling. If we talk about province regulated sites, nowadays you can gamble online only at BCLC regulated site PlayNow. Offshore online casinos offer a bigger choice of games and gambling opportunities. Canadian laws say nothing about offshore online casinos, and there have never been any charges laid against them. And while it's no changes, we can safely play at online casinos in Canada.
Canadian Online Casinos 2020: Popularity and Challenges
Are online casinos popular in Canada?
Online casinos' popularity continues to rise on a yearly basis in Canada. A number of online gambling operators expand every month. This is mainly because of new offshore online casinos that open their doors to players from Canada. The number of online casinos having Canadian origin remains stable and includes sites owned by Canadian crown companies.
The main challenge of online casino growth in Canada is the lack of gambling awareness among Canadians. Due to Ipsos Summit 2018 Research: Gaming with X, Y, Z, only 11% of Generation X (37 - 52 years) representatives play in online casinos, while 82% of them claim to have gambled at least once in their life. 79% of Generation Y (25-36 years) representatives have been gambling at least once in their life, while only 19% of them play in online casinos. Out of 59% of Generation Z (18-24 years) representatives who claim to have been gambling at least once in their life, only 9% play in online casinos.
Why people who prefer new technologies don't use online casinos? There are several explanations:
- The number of online casinos that have Canadian origin is very limited. Only PlayNow can be considered as a truly Canadian online casino. Lack of competition transforms PlayNow into a commonplace. The total number of slots and table games can`t be compared with offshore online casinos that accept Canadians.
- Lack of awareness. There are a lot of offshore online casinos that accept players from Canada, but it's very hard to decide which one is really worth of attention. Sometimes, their quality seems doubtful. We don't know much about jurisdictions that granted them licenses and if they really keep our payment data safe. Gossips about that guy whose gaming account has been closed by the online casino and all money mysteriously vanished from the account make offshore online casinos seem even more suspicious.
Safe Online Casinos in Canada
Quality online casino essentials
Sometimes playing at online casinos starts to be risky just after you fill in your payment details at an online casino. We usually want the online casino to securely store our personal and banking information, pay withdrawals in time and not to fool us while we play games. The player is usually the one to decide whether he wants to sink or swim. When you find a new online casino, we recommend you to check the following:
Online Casino License and Jurisdiction.
International online casinos usually have at least one license guaranteed by the country, they are registered in. When you play at an online casino from Canada, you can notice that most of the sites are licensed by UK, Malta or Curaçao government.
UK Gambling Commission issues licenses for both local providers and remote online casino sites. This type of license is strict in the market. The reason for that is high fines issued to the online casinos that are not compliant. For example, in June 2019 the Platinum Gaming Group (Unibet UK) has got a fine of £1.6m for failing to identify gambling harm and prevent money laundering (more details here).
UKGC takes care not only for casinos being fair but also for online casino advertising. For example, since May 2019 UK players need to verify their age when they play online free slots (details).
Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) license remain one of the most popular within industry. Malta was the first country to regulate online casinos in early 2000s. This small Mediterranean island is famous for its structured online gambling regulation that includes anti-money laundering policies and protects both the players and operators. MGA issues two types of licenses: B2C (the online casino is able to provide its services to players) and B2B (online casino can share its intangible assets with smaller operators via license agreements). Malta Gaming Authority licenses not only online casinos but also game providers. You can find more details about MGA online casino license at the recent iGaming Elite article.
Curaçao Gaming License is also popular among online casinos. Curaçao was the first country to legalize gambling in the 1960s. This country issues only one type of license which covers most of online casino products. Since there is no division on B2B/B2C licenses, several brands can easily share 1 license. Curaçao main idea is not to interfere with relations of players and online casinos. You can find more details at recent Calvin Ayre article.
Canada also has its own organization, that issues licenses to online casinos. Kahnawake Gaming Commission issues licenses since 1999. KGC has different types of online casino licenses. The first one is called Client Provider Authorization (“CPA”) and is guaranteed to those online casinos that have hosting facilities in Kahnawake. This type of license covers any kind of gambling services including online casino, poker or sportsbook. The person who holds the managerial position in a company that has a CPA license can be grated a Key Person License (“KPL”).
The second type of license is called Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization (“IJA”). It is usually issued to the online casino which has located some of its assets within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. The following online casinos usually have licenses from other countries like Malta or Curaçao.
The third type of license is issued to casino software providers - Casino Software Provider Authorization (“CSPA”). This is a kind of B2B license and it doesn't allow companies to provide their services to players directly.
You can find the full list of Canadian online casinos that have KGC license here.
Canada Online Casinos Website Security
Any website security is about Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and online casino sites are not the exception. This technology is used to encrypt the information you send to an online casino site so it won`t be easily caught by the third party. It is very easy to find out if the site has SSL - simply check if it has https at the beginning of the URL. One of the most well-known companies that provide their client with SSL certificates is Thawte. They are believed to be the leader of SSL certification in gaming industry and award their client with Thawte Trusted Site Seal.
Industry Standards for Canadian Online Casinos
Gaming Laboratories International is an online casino consulting agency that operates since 1989. It was formerly known as Technical Systems Testing (TST), which is the old company name. GLI is famous for independent testing and inspection of both land-based and online casinos. GLI services are approved in 400+ jurisdictions including the UK, Malta, also Canadian British Columbia and Quebec. Gaming Laboratories test and research all main kinds of online gambling, such as: online casino games, sports betting, percentage Return to Player (% RTP), analysis, RNG, fantasy sports, live dealer gaming, e-sports and social gaming.
Having 2 offices in Canada, Gaming Laboratories International certifies land-based, online, charitable, parimutuel, and lottery providers across the country. In 2016, GLI became a part of the Gaming Security Professionals of Canada (GSPC) association and has joined Canadian Gaming Association in June 2019.
eCOGRA is an international igaming testing agency which was established in 2003. It is based in the United Kingdom and provides audit to online casinos and software providers in such jurisdictions as: Alderney, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, First Cagayan, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Isle of Man, Italy, Kahnawake, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, New Jersey (Security), Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
eCOGRA compliance audit covers all main aspects of online gambling, such as: online casino games testing, RNG and RTP analysis, players privacy protection and underage gambling cases. eCOGRA provides Casino payout reviews on a monthly basis and RNG reviews are conducted biannually. Their RNG and RTP data monitoring covers 100 leading online gaming websites, in 13 different languages. In January 2019, eCOGRA’s Safe and Fair Seal was awarded to Betsson Group brands.
Gaming Associates is a consulting agency that provides services for online casinos, software developers and regulators since the 1990s. Their proficiency covers both land-based and online gambling. Gaming Associates certification covers all important kinds of online gaming such as online casino games, betting on sports, lottery, RNG & RTP and general casino security review. GA operates in most regulated markets across the world including the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.
iTechLabs is a certifying laboratory for online gaming systems which is on the market since 2004. Company offices are located all over the world including Australia, Asia, and Europe. Well-known for high-quality testing services, their practice includes compliance, software quality, thorough reporting, and on-time delivery. iTechLabs is also famous for certifying online casinos and online casino software companies in multiple jurisdictions.
Type of Software Used in Canadian Casinos
Most of the online casinos which have MGA, CGA or UKGC licenses don't usually produce their own software. They use online casino platforms and games designed by other companies - software providers. The best way to be sure that an online casino is safe is to check if the providers are well-trusted. Here you can find a list of the most well-known companies that make online casino games:
Microgaming Online Casino Games. Being one of the largest online casino software providers, Microgaming offers 800+ casino games including online casino slots and leave dealer games. Microgaming is a UKCG licensed software provider (legal entity - Apricot Investments Limited). Microgaming is famous for its progressive jackpot network. It was listed to GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS when Betway UK player won the GBP equivalent of €17,879,645.12 from a 25p spin!
Net Entertainment - NetEnt Online Casino Games. One of the most famous companies in the industry, NetEnt offers fancy slots with high payout rates (95-98%). NetEnt has a license in several jurisdictions such as the UK, Malta and Gibraltar. NetEnts wasn't always providing services to online casino players from Canada. The company has stopped working in Canada after the new regulation came in 2016. Luckily, in 2019 NetEnt received British Columbia Lottery Corporation license and now we can enjoy their games once again.
Pragmatic Play Online Casino Games. Unlike the two previously mentioned companies, Pragmatic Play is a young online casino software company founded in 2015. Now they offer more than 80 high-quality online casino games, such as Ancient Egypt™, Peking Luck™ and Wolf Gold™. Pragmatic Play products are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
Play’n GO Online Casino Games. Play`n GO operates at online casino industry since the end of the 90s. Having a headquarters in Sweden, this company has licenses from lots of gaming jurisdictions such as Italy, Malta, the UK, Denmark, Gibraltar, Belgium, and Alderney. Nowadays Play`n GO offers 130+ online casino games. The high quality of Play`n GO online casino slots is proven by lots of industry awards. While 2019 EGR B2B Awards, Play`n GO was nominated to be the Mobile Supplier of the Year thanks to their mobile-friendly apps. During the 2019 Malta iGaming Excellence Awards, Play`n GO was crowned the Best Casino Supplier of the Year.
Yggdrasil Gaming Online Casino Games. Yggdrasil was founded in 2013 and now offers more than 70 online casino slot games. Yggdrasil Gaming Ltd has licenses as several jurisdictions such as Malta, Great Britain, Gibraltar, and Romania. Yggdrasil progressive slot network is also famous for its big wins at Joker Millions. In April 2019, an anonymous Betsson player from Norway won €3.1m on a €1.25 stake. In September 2019, Casumo player from Finland won €3.04m after placing a bet of just €0.50 on her mobile phone.
QuickSpin Online Casino Games. Quickspin was established in 2012 and now offers 50+ online casino slots. The company holds licenses from Alderney Gambling Control Commission and the UK Gambling Commission.
Payment Methods at Canadian Online Casino
The reliable payment system is an essential part of your online casino experience. Some of the payment methods like PaySafeCard can be used only for the deposit, while others like PayPal you will hardly find at the online casino. Safe and reliable Canadian online casinos offer the following payment options:
Interac. Interac is a popular payment option famous at all Canadian provinces. This non-profit company provides payment services since 1984 and was initially famous as a debit card system. Nowadays Interac is considered to be a Canadian most innovative Fintech company, working as a mediator between consumer and bank. Interac transactions are instant and fees are comparatively low - up to $1.5. Those who’d like to keep their transactions to Canadian online casinos anonymous can use Interac e-Transfers. This technology allows consumers to send and request money from one bank account to another without a transfer of personal details.
Instadebit (iDebit). Instadebit is a famous Canadian e-wallet which makes transactions both for e-commerce and online casinos. Using 128-bit encryption technology and compliance with the ‘Fair Credit Reporting Act’ make this payment option 100% safe. Deposits and withdrawals both to and from Canadian online casinos are instant. Intadebit charges $1.5 fee per transaction which is pretty low. Is there any difference between iDebit and Instadebit? In practice, no. Instadebit initially launched only for Canadian customers and then broadened its markets to Europe and Asia as iDebit. While there will be no problem with your transaction from and to e-wallet itself, making a withdrawal to your bank account itself can take 3-5 working days and additional fees depending on your bank.
EcoPayz. EcoPayz is an e-wallet just like iDebit. Launched in the 2000s as EcoCard, this company provides its services all around the world. EcoPayz is totally safe for players from Canada since it is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). While creating an EcoPayz account is totally free, be aware of additional fees. If your account is inactive for more than 12, EcoPayz will start charging $1.50 per month for account maintenance. This e-wallet doesn`t usually charge fees for the transaction. However, the deposit from the bank to EcoPayz might be charged a fee depending on the bank and region. Transactions to Canadian online casinos are almost instant.
Credit | Debit Cards. Making a deposit to online casino Canada with your credit or debit card is mainstream. Almost every online casino accepts this payment method, even if it doesn't think of Canada as a target market. Most popular credit and debit cards among online gambling players from Canada are Diners Club, Visa, American Express and MasterCard. Making a deposit to Canadian online casinos as the same as buying something online: you enter the 16-digit card number, month and year of expiration and 3-digit code at the back of your card. All fees will depend on your bank. Both Visa and MasterCard can be used to make a deposit to online casinos. However, when we are talking about withdrawal, it is better to check accepted payment options at Terms and Conditions. Usually, Visa can be used for both deposit and withdrawal to and from an online casino, while MasterCard can be used only as a deposit method.
PaySafeCard. PayCafeCard is a prepaid online casino payment method. This company launched in Austria in the 2000s and now is available in 40+ countries. In 2013, PaySafeCard was acquired by Skrill. You can buy tickets with different values and use them to make a deposit to Canadian online casinos. However, you can't make a withdrawal with PaySafeCard. So why do players use it as a payment method for online casinos? It is completely anonymous and allows you to control your deposits since it is prepaid.
Skrill. Skrill is a world-wide known e-wallet. Creating an account at this payment option is completely free of charge. Skrill is popular among online casino players since it allows you to make deposits and withdrawals anonymously, instantly and easily. Skrill is usually available both for deposit and withdrawal.
Wire Transfer. Bank Transfer is the oldest way to make a deposit to the Canadian online casino. The safety of wire transfer is proven by SWIFT code. Transaction fees depend on your bank itself. Unless it's one of the most secure and reliable online casino payment methods, it's also the slowest one. Your transaction can take up to 3–5 working days depending on your bank. Another issue is anonymity. Wire transfer transactions from and to the online casino Canada will appear at your bank statements.
Online Casino Promotions for Canadians
Canadian online casinos are generous for promotions. You can find many kinds of online casino bonuses for every taste. These are the most common online casino promotions:
Online Casino Canada Welcome & Reload Bonus. It's hard to find an online casino for Canada, which doesn't offer a welcome bonus for new players. Such a bonus is usually tied to a percentage of your deposit. E.g. Canadian online casino offers you to get 100% welcome up to $500. This means you will get $1000 instead of $500 if you deposit $500. However, when you claim a welcome bonus, it's better to check online casino bonus terms. Bonus on your deposit can be sticky or non-sticky due to particular online casino terms. If the bonus is non-sticky, you will be able to withdraw your winnings after completing the wagering requirement only for your real money deposit. What is an online casino wagering requirement? It's the number of times you should play the bonus money before they will let you withdraw your winnings. If the bonus is sticky, you should complete the online casino wagering requirement both for real and bonus money.
Another kind of online casino bonus is free spins. Free spins can be claimed upon registration or after you make a deposit. Online casinos can give free spins for a game ( e.g. Legacy of Dead) or for all the games of 1 game provider (e.g. Play`n GO). Free spins winnings can be withdrawn before completing the wagering requirement (usually 30-50x).
Tournaments at Canadian Online Casinos. Game is more fun when you compete. Online casinos understand that and organize tournaments among their players. Tournament is always about playing at the number of games chosen by online casino Canada and getting a prize for completing requirements. Usually, online casinos credit bonus money to the tournament participant, sometimes you can even get a car or a trip to another country. Online casino tournaments can be dedicated to some holidays or sponsored by casino game providers to attract more players to their new games. Tournament winning also needs to be wagered several times before you'll be able to withdraw them.
Slot Features from Game Providers. Not only the casino itself is interested to keep your attention. Online casino Canada game providers also offer a range of promotions, so players will play their games. These promotions are usually associated with a certain symbol that might appear during your game. Every online casino slot game has some special features:
- Wild features. The wild card is the symbol that is able to substitute another symbol in the line. When game offers wild features, you have more opportunities to win.
- Scatter symbols. Scatters are Canadian online casino specials that open bonus round opportunities to the player.
- Bonus round. When several scatters appear in line, you will be able to play a bonus round with winning multiplier or jackpot features.
- Random winnings multiplier. When you win some money in the Canadian casinos' online slot game, this money can be multiplied on a random number from a certain range. For example, if the multiplier is up to 16x, your winning can be multiplied in a range from 2 to 16.
- Game specials. Some game providers add different additional opportunities to the game. For example, you can by a multiplier on your next bet, that will work if you win.
Canadian Casinos Online VIP Program. Online casinos always have something to offer when they notice your loyalty. Modern online casino VIP programs combine features of computer games when you need to commit certain things in order to move from one level to another. Taking part in the VIP program can influence your way of playing at online casino Canada. For example, if you get to top VIP program levels, you can have lower wagering requirements, get more reload promotions. You can also be contacted by a personal VIP manager, which will help you to enjoy the game and reward you with bonus money.
Last But Not Least: Online Casino Terms and Conditions
As mentioned, all relent information about your online casino experience is listed at Terms & Conditions section, Banking page and Bonus Terms for online casino promotions. If you want to save your money and nerves, we recommend you to get acquainted with the following paragraphs:
Terms and Conditions Section at Online Casino Canada:
- General Terms. Here you can check the legal entity of the online casino and license number. Use this information to check if the license of online casinos is still valid.
- Restricted Countries. Check if this casino actually accepts players from Canada. Most of the online casinos usually do.
- Availability of games. If you were looking for a specific game provider, you can check if the Canadian online casino offers it to you in the following section. Usually, all game providers are available for players from Canada.
- Accepted currencies. Since the market is full of online casinos that offer CAD, it's not worth wasting your money on currency exchange.
- Fees and Taxes. Check if online casino charges some additional fees from your withdrawals or deposits. If it does, it's a sign of bad practice.
- Anti-fraud policy. Canada online casinos can terminate your account if it notices some signs of fraudulent behavior. Fraudulent behavior examples: several accounts, placing maximum bets on high variance games, making deposits only with bonus money, providing the casino with not reliable registration information. Being aware of such cases can shed light on any disputes between players and online casinos.
- Deposits & Withdrawals. Here you can check payment methods availability by country both for withdrawal and deposit. This section also contains information about the minimal wagering of your bonus money before you make a withdrawal.
Banking Page at Canadian Online Casino. Here you can find a detailed overview of the available payment method. You can check if your payment method is available both for deposit and withdrawal. At this page online casinos also show transaction limits and processing time. What this page doesn't show is fees charged by your local bank or payment method. Remember, that the information mentioned at this page is only about this particular online casino service and has no connection to the third parties.
Bonus Terms at Online Casino. Canadian online casinos usually clarify their promotions at bonus terms. There are general bonus terms and specific bonus terms for different promotions. You usually need to pay attention just at several things: deposit wagering amount before withdrawal (it is the same at all bonus terms) and bonus money & free spins wagering amount. Please pay attention that not all games are credited to wagering bonus money. This section also contains information about games that don't qualify for bonus money wagering. Such games are usually high-volatile, so the online casino is just trying to avoid paying for your big win with its own money.
Instead of the Conclusion: Online Casino Canada Checklist from CasinoBeavers
Searching for quality casinos is always a matter of time. We use the following checkpoints while we define if the online casino is worth of our time:
- Check if the online casino license is active. Go to the bottom of the online casino web page and find information about the license number. Visit the official site of license jurisdiction and check if a license is still valid. Online tools to check licenses:
- Visit the Terms and Conditions Section. Nevertheless, T&C is completely not fun to read, it contains relevant information about your future experience. You can check if this particular site is really the Canadian online casino with payment methods and currency available. Pay attention at wagering requirements and fees.
- Take a look at the game providers list. If you see that the casino offers PragmaticPlay, Play`N Go, Microgaming, and other famous games, it means that they are not fooling you.
- Test Live Support Quality. When you pay money for something, quality is a must. Now when you know some relevant details from Terms and Conditions, check if casino representatives themselves are aware of them.