Canada has some confusing gambling laws which could throw players when they first start to bet online. Fortunately, our page takes an in-depth look at each Canadian province’s own laws. Why? The Criminal Code of Canada says that while Canadians are not permitted to gamble at casinos in another region, each province does have the right to make gambling legal for its residents. Where does this leave residents of Ontario, then? Over the next few sections, we will look and see what Ontarians can and cannot do when it comes to gambling.
Is Gambling Legal in Ontario?
Gambling is not only legal in Ontario; it thrives in the province. It is thought that as many as 83% of all adults in Ontario gamble at some point within the year. Moreover, many residents of the Canadian province are within an hour of an establishment which offers some form of gambling or another.
Ontario’s gambling laws are run by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). This organisation also regulates the industry, awards licenses to proprietors and operators and is generally the top dog when it comes to ensuring that games are legal or illegal. The residents of Canada’s most populated province naturally love to gamble, so what can they expect to play? It is time we find out.
Below, you will get a rough idea of what land-based betting activities are considered legal in Ontario, and which are not…
Bingo and Charity Games: Bingo and charity games are essentially considered to be one and the same. Non-profit and profit games alike both require licenses. Ontario is almost unique in Canada, in that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has licensed a handful of bingo rooms for online gameplay.
Casino Games: As mentioned, Ontarians are never exceptionally far away from a casino. There are over 25 of them in the province. They offer everything from slots to table games, and these, too, are under license by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Horse Racing: If you are feeling adventurous and fancy a punt on the horses, you can do that. However, you do need to make sure that you are trackside or at least in a licensed outlet before you can bet.
Lottery Games: The lottery is immensely popular in Ontario and is one of the biggest sources of revenue for the region. Lottery games are, as you might imagine, run by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, and have reported earnings of over $3 billion.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is only legal via one program – the Pro-Line service. This is the same in many Canadian provinces and regions. Essentially, parlay, overs/under and point spread bets can be made, either online or in land-based outlets, but there are strict rules on what can be wagered.
What About Online Gambling?
Given its vast gambling population, it is no surprise to see that Ontario does permit legal online gambling. Pro-Line sports bets can be made online, there are bingo rooms you can join, and even online casino games are not off the table. However, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation once again has the final say on online gambling activities, and there are things you should note.
Without further ado, let us look at both licensed betting sites and offshore betting sites which are open to players in Ontario.
Licensed Betting Sites
Officially, players in Ontario are permitted to gamble online. While there are a few bingo rooms you can join, there is only one internet betting sites. Known as PlayOLG, this is an online casino which has the full blessing of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the “OLG” part of the casino’s name).
Offshore Betting Sites
To be fair, the PlayOLG casino site has an ample choice of games, and for many Ontarians, signing up and playing at this casino is all that they require. However, a good number of residents in the province are not content with what PlayOLG has to offer. Instead, they turn to offshore casinos.
These domains are typically international betting sites, and include the following options:
- Online casinos
- Bingo rooms
- Poker rooms
- Online sportsbooks
- International lottery ticket sites, and more
It is not illegal for players in Ontario to visit these sites. Canada’s Criminal Code only prohibits gameplay at Canadian online casinos in other provinces, not foreign sites. Nor does any kind of restrictive law appear in Ontario’s gambling laws. With that in mind, many Ontarians feel entirely free to wager at any online casino which will have them, and there are many which do. You do not need to use a VPN (virtual private network), nor do you need to be sly or shady about your activities. The grey zones in Canada’s gambling laws make playing at a foreign site as a player in Ontario perfectly fine.
Should I Play at Internet Betting Sites in Ontario?
Ontarians can afford to be picky and quite selective about where they decide to play. Just because they can play at virtually any site, does not mean that they should do so. Instead, only opt to play at the absolute best casinos – the types of Ontario-friendly online casinos that you can find on our page.
In a nutshell, these online casinos will permit you to play in English and French. They will also provide customer support via these languages. The Canadian dollar will be an accepted currency at these casinos, and a variety of leading Canada-friendly payment methods such as Interac will be present. Moreover, some of the casinos will try and cater to Canadian players exclusively, which makes them appealing.
Any Canadian casino site you do choose to play at should be well-licensed, regulated and offer responsible gaming tools. You can browse across the net to find these types of casinos as you see fit. However, you can make short work of finding a top Ontario online casino to play at by opting to go with one of our tested, approved, and recommended casinos.