Gambling is a controversial topic in many places in the world. In particular locations, even online gambling is illegal and even considered a crime. There are many reasons for that, but the most obvious one is the availability and accessibility, and weak age control. So, even kids can access gambling services, and use their parents’ bank cards to invest money in online services.
On the other hand, many people can’t even handle the fact someone is limiting their access to free online gambling. In Canada, it’s pretty regulated, even though not equal in every part of the country.
So, now, we will see how Ontario did that.
Ontario is a province in Canada and has a long and complex history with both land-based and online gambling. So, when Ontario announced it was going to be legalizing online gambling, the news was met with surprise and delight in equal measure. Read on as we look more closely at how Ontario has turned around its online gambling regulations.
Ontario Online Gambling Prior to Legalisation
Interestingly, there were no laws in place to prevent people residing in Ontario from casino-based gambling online. However, there were no official licenses or regulations in place either, so if you decided to play online casino games in Ontario, there was always a risk attached. The same was not true of online sports gambling and there was a federal ban on sports betting in Ontario but again, this was not straightforward. While most forms of sports betting were banned in Ontario, parlays remained legal meaning it was possible to place bets on multiple outcomes. Horse racing betting was also legal in Ontario, so it was not clear-cut.
The New Ontario Gambling Regulations
Ontario officially launched its own regulated gambling market in April 2024. At the same time, a new gambling regulatory body was formed called the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Known as the AGCO, the commission is responsible for ensuring the safety of gambling in Ontario. The AGCO can issue official licenses to gambling operators and monitors them to ensure they are both safe and fair. In terms of people using online gambling websites and mobile apps in Ontario, there are two main factors you must consider. The first is you must be at least 19 years old to gamble in Ontario and the second, you must use AGCO-regulated online casinos and sportsbooks to be safe.
You will know when you land on a licensed and regulated online gambling website in Ontario thanks to the presence of the iGaming Ontario logo.
On What Can You Bet in Ontario?
Following the introduction of AGCO, online casinos can apply for a license and offer their services in the province. According to theCASINOenquirer.com, the best online casinos in Canada include Party Casino, Leo Vegas, Bwin Casino, and 888 Casino. Each of these four online casinos holds a license issued by AGCO, with 888 Casino and Bwin Casino being two of the most well-known online casinos in the business. In terms of the games, you can play at AGCO-regulated online casinos, you will find slots, roulette, baccarat, poker, blackjack, and real dealer games.
Switching to sports betting, you will find a wide range of wagers available including Single game bets, parlays, teasers, moneyline, live betting, over/under bets, exchange betting, and many more. The choice of sports is extensive but the AGCO does not allow any betting on the Canadian Hockey League or minor-league sports. Virtual sports betting is also unavailable under the current legislation.
Having previously banned sports betting and having no control over online casino gaming, Ontario has moved to legalize both under the AGCO. This is good news for those who want to gamble online in a secure and fair environment.
What about the online gambling laws across Canada?
For strangers, it’s pretty challenging to understand Canada’s gambling laws and policies. Not just Ontario, but the whole country has some complicated rules. The one we like most is that in general, everyone is allowed to gamble online, as long as the casino is not hosted inside the country’s borders. The regulations are strict since the 60s and 70s when Canadian authorities permitted lotteries and other games of luck. It seems like they prefer traditional (and old-school) offline gambling.
So, we can say that online gambling is legal, but regulations depend on the province.
For example, in Alberta online gambling is quite regulated for offshore casinos, and the person must be older than 18 years to be allowed to gamble. In British Columbia, you can gamble in a limited number of casinos, and you must be older than 19 years. In Manitoba, on the other hand, people are completely prohibited from gambling in offshore casinos.
New Brunswick has even more interesting policies because you can gamble in online casinos approved by Atlantic Lottery Corporation. You can do the same with offshore casinos, but be careful because they shouldn’t advertise their service in Canada. In Newfoundland and Labrador, you can gamble at any casino approved by Atlantic Lottery Corporation, but it’s forbidden to use any other not regulated by them. In Nova Scotia, you must be older than 19 years old to gamble in both ALC-approved and offshore casinos.
Prince Edward Island allows people to gamble online offshore or at the casinos that operate on the province’s territory. In Quebec, offshore gambling is allowed, as well as Quebec-based services. In Saskatchewan, no provincial online gambling exists, but also there is no strict regulation about any type of gambling there. Furthermore, in Saskatchewan, people that are at least 19 years old can gamble using offshore sites, even though there is no rule that says it’s approved or forbidden way.
And finally, Ontario, which is the main topic of this article, is one of the provinces with easing gambling conditions. They work under the provincial authorities’ rules, where licensed and offshore online gambling is allowed for every person at least 19 years old.
So, if you really are into online gambling, and are based in Canada, maybe you should try your luck while in Ontario.