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In Canada, gambling falls under provincial jurisdiction. That much is clear. The greyness stems from the internet, which doesn't pay attention to provincial boundaries.
Thousands of offshore gaming sites are based in locales such as Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, and Cyprus, where gambling rules are wide open and governments welcome the tax revenue.
As for the legal status of these offshore operators in Canada, Michael Lipton, a lawyer and gaming law expert with Dickinson Wright in Toronto, says the issue is best understood by looking at the legality of offshore sites accepting bets from Canada, as well as what the law says about bets made by Canadians.
For gamblers, he doesn't see anything in Canada's Criminal Code that makes wagering through an offshore site illegal. The trickier part of the equation is the legality of offshore operators taking bets from Canada.
Prior to the internet, the legal ins and outs of gambling were more straightforward. Each province determined its own rules for gambling, whether casinos, bingos , or lotteries.
An exception is horse racing, which is regulated by the Canadian Parimutuel Agency, a unit of the federal agriculture department.
Over time, every province except for Saskatchewan has moved towards online gambling. It added poker in and online casino games and bingo a year later.
Provincial responsibilities include public works, education, and the granting of business licenses within their borders.
Shared domains include justice, agriculture and immigration and the federal criminal code previously banned all forms of gambling although in lotteries were legalized.
By traveling across Canada, each of the provinces has its own opinion when it comes to gambling, and most surprisingly that includes the legal age.
Online sites fully licensed by the provincial government are legal, and most of them offer online poker as part of their entertainment collection.
Provincially operated poker rooms are hugely popular in Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario. The provincial poker rooms are exclusively available to residents based in the specific province, and despite these sites legality, several have been criticized for lack of gaming variety, competing for promotional wise with offshore sites and smaller player pools.
Anyone watching sports via television in Canada has seen advertising for online poker rooms and even while these promise members enticing prizes and an everlasting selection of entertainment, several residents are still unsure of the legal aspects.
Most of these online sites currently operate from locations outside of the Canadian borders although they are overly pleased to welcome Canadian players and this is where the legal online poker gray area is entered.
Online gambling falls under the jurisdiction of each province although it is a bit more complicated for players residing in Canada, especially when certain games are hosted from other countries.
In reality, it is a computer dealing the cards, and just as much as the government could not prevent Canadians from visiting Las Vegas to enjoy a poker tournament, they also could not prevent citizens from logging into international gambling sites.
Currently, no records exist of any Canadian players ever being prosecuted for playing online poker so many players are not concerned about the legal aspects and continue to enjoy online poker.
In the eyes of the court, this is a huge distinction, since many regulations at provincial level strictly apply to games of chance like raffles and lotteries.
One of the main differences is that poker room interests are more towards the games it provides instead of the outcome of each game.
In blackjack, the dealer is the players opponent and only when the player loses the casino wins. The online poker rooms operated on an entirely dissimilar business model in the eyes of the law since they make the magic happen by supplying virtual tables, software, and payment methods, and take a small rake from each player.
Even when poker is viewed as gambling, players are not wagering against the house, and this is a significant legal difference. Canadian players will not be able to use the services provided by the UK Gambling Commission, but the mere fact that the poker site has a license with them ensures that they are a safe and legitimate organization.
These are all things that we keep in mind when looking for the very best Canadian online poker site. We also factor in things like welcome bonuses, loyalty bonuses, and more.
To find the site that topped our list, ticking all of these boxes, then take a look at the graphic at the top of this page. The site featured here is one currently ranked as the best legal Canadian poker site, and one that we recommend above all others.
Credit cards and debit cards can be used on most online poker rooms and they are also owned by most players. If you are old enough to play poker online then you are old enough to use one of these ….
There are more online poker sites accepting Skrill than there are accepting PayPal. If you are a poker pro, you'll want to consult with an accountant or financial planner in your province for the best route to take.
If you haven't quit your day job, your bankroll will likely be entirely yours. Did you know Canada has the second most WSOP bracelet winners in the world?
If you dream of becoming the next Daniel Negreanu or Jonathan Duhamel, Canada might just be the perfect place to realize your potential. With plenty of places to play including fully legal options, it's easy to see why many Americans flocked to these parts after a stateside crackdown in Whether you choose provincial sites or prefer to play offshore, always play at licensed and regulated poker rooms.
Read the expert reviews and comments from other Canadians to find a poker room that's perfect for you. If you still have concerns about the legality of playing in your area, you can always enjoy free games, many of which offer prizes and other perks.
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Legal Standing of Online Poker in Canada Canadians have made their mark at poker tables across the country, around the globe, and especially online.
Legal Online Poker at a Glance Provincial gambling agencies in Quebec, Manitoba, and BC offer legal poker games to their residents.
Players in Ontario can enjoy video poker through OLG, but community card poker games won't be available until the spring.
The gambling age in Canada varies by province, game type, and venue but is either 18 or The Kahnawake Gaming Commission of Quebec has been licensing and regulating gambling sites for 18 years.
Many international sites welcome Canadians of legal age, even if the legality is subject to debate. Canadians who have legal doubts can always enjoy free poker games with no obligation.
When it comes to the gambling law in Canada, a lot of people will say that Canada is a grey area so to speak, which is held to mean that the law is to some degree unclear as to whether or not gambling, or playing online poker for money specifically, is legal or not.
There are certain instances where gambling is sanctioned in Canada, for instance playing the lottery or gambling at a licensed casino would be sanctioned, but these sanctions are only necessary to the degree that a certain form of gambling would be otherwise illegal and the sanctioning serves as exceptions to the law.
So the way this all works is that the law provides the prohibitions, in other words what is not allowed, and then within these prohibited practices it may provide exemptions, allowing certain forms of what would otherwise be prohibited.
Reference sites such as ours usually give the most updated versions of the laws here, so please check in regularly or bookmark us. Sometimes the law may be unclear where it may or may not prohibit a certain activity, which as you will see is not the case at all with playing online poker in Canada, but for now it will suffice to say that unless the law prohibits something, it is not against the law.
The criminal law in Canada concerns itself with what is defined as either a common betting house or a common gaming house.