Online Casinos Canada

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History of gambling in Canada

Canada was a big fan of gambling long before it was even called by that name. The various First Nations had their own games of chance they would wager on. Throughout the Age of Discovery and the colonization of the continent, Gambling was a fun pastime for the settlers but nothing particularly organized or widespread.

The Beginnings 

All that changed in 1767, when the very first official Horse Race took place in Quebec City. Many bets were placed, and some people came out winners while many others lost. Despite that, it seems that this event whetted Canadians’ appetite for betting in general. Horse Racing clubs were set up less than 20 years after that. The first club to be established was the Quebec Turf Club.

In 1837, the Upper Canada Turf Club was set up and horse racing began to spread throughout the country. Since a lot of the settlers were British or French, they already had a long tradition of horse racing. However, this wasn’t the only game you could bet on. There were also various dens, parlours, and bars where you could play dice or card games like poker or blackjack and gamble on it.

In 1892, the typical happened – harsh laws were passed that made most types of gambling illegal. The whole scene was driven underground, though it still remained popular. Most activities other than horse racing took place in underground venues.

Over the next century, these restrictions would be gradually relaxed. Raffles and Bingo, considered innocuous by most, were allowed under the conditions that any profits made from those games would go to positive or charitable causes. Betting on Horse racing was also relaxed in 1920, followed by small dice and card games in 1925. In the 1960s and 1970s, different states began to run their own lottery games.

Eventually, in 1985 the laws on gambling were relaxed nationwide. It wasn’t a single-step solution, however. The provinces are free to pass their own laws, so instead of the federal government making everyone legalize it, they simply allowed each state or province to do their own thing and legalize it if they wanted to.

Considering how profitable taxing the revenues from gambling can be, it was no wonder that most of the provinces decided to go ahead and make it legal. The first brick-and-mortar establishment in Canada was the Crystal Casino in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

This was soon followed by the Casino De Montreal, which is one of the biggest establishments in the world. At the time of opening, it had a gaming floor covering more than 520,000 square feet. It was a testament to just how popular they would become.

Modern Gambling in Canada 

When it comes to setting up various gambling commissions and regulatory authority, the first one was the Kahnawake Gambling Commission. It was set up in 1996 and was the regulatory body for all betting venues in the Kahnawake area under the Mohawks. The commission can license both land-based establishments or poker venues in their area, as well as online betting sites.

It was in 1999 that any kind of stigma against gambling was removed. The federal laws were updated so that gambling was no longer a criminal offense. You simply had to be above 18 to gamble. There were no other restrictions on it. Soon after this, online ones began to rise in popularity. The laws were updated to cover these and legalize online gambling.

Today, almost every type of gambling is legal. You can play slots, table games, sportsbooks, lotteries, etc at both popular brick-and-mortar casinos and the best online ones Canada has to offer. Any site that is based out of Canada has to be licensed by their local provincial body. Otherwise, they’ll be fined and banned from operating. 

That being said, international sites, of course, face no such restrictions, so you can play at those if you like.

Is online gambling in Canada legal and safe?

Before we move on to picking out the best casinos in Canada, there’s one more thing to cover. This is a question that is very commonly asked, especially by non-gamblers and those who are new to the scene. “Is it legal and safe to gamble online in Canada?”

It’s understandable why people are worried about this. So, before moving onto the best online Casinos Canada has, let’s clear any up confusion about safety and security.

Is it Legal? 

Yes. As we covered in the previous section, it used to be illegal, but not anymore. Since 1999, you cannot be prosecuted or fined for gambling. So, it’s perfectly legal for you to gamble. Just make sure you are playing at a licensed operator and are aware of your expenditures.

Is it Safe? 

Generally, yes. Everything is dangerous. Walking down the street can be dangerous – you could get mugged or hit by a bike at any time. Driving can be dangerous – another car could slam into you. Even going up the stairs to your bedroom can be dangerous – what if you slipped and fell?

Of course, we don’t worry about those dangers because we know how to avoid them. It’s the same case with online casinos Canada.

There are a lot of scammers and cybercriminals around. Their goal is to get your personal information and use it to carry out identity theft. They might use your personal details to pose as you when carrying out illegal activities. They might even impersonate you and steal your belongings. If they get access to your credit card or other banking details, they could steal money from your account directly.

There are two ways they can do this. The first one is to simply break through any security measures an operator is using. The second way is to trick you into giving them the info directly. They could either set up a completely fake webpage and entice you into signing up, or make a copy of a legit site and trick you into thinking you are entering your info at that legitimate site.

Fortunately, there are plenty of security measures to counteract these. To prevent any kind of personal info or financial credentials from being stolen from their databases, the operator can encrypt everything and store the encryption key safely elsewhere. When a hacker breaks in, they will not be able to read any of the data since it’s all encrypted.

An imitation site can be recognized by the lack of a security certificate. A website whose URL begins with “HTTP” might not be fully legit or secure. If it begins with “HTTPS”, then everything is fine.

You can recognize a totally fake casino from the license, or lack thereof. Every online betting site is given a license by a body such as the Kahnawake Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority, or one of the many other jurisdictions out there. This license is displayed as a picture at the bottom of the page. A fake one will not be able to get the license. You can also check the license number, so even if they copy the image, they won’t be able to fake it in the registers.

How we rated online casinos in Canada?

As an online casinos review site, we have a system for determining these. We’ll describe the metrics and factors we use to gauge the quality of a betting site. This is both in the interests of transparency and also in case you’re curious about how we decided the top online casinos Canada has to offer.

Without further ado, let’s check our criteria:

Trustworthiness and Reliability 

One of the most important factors when selecting an online casino. As we mentioned earlier when talking about safety, there are a lot of scammers using gambling sites as fronts. You can rely on HTTPS certification and Licensing to weed out the vast majority of problematic sites. 

However, there are also some sites that look legit but are not very reliable. They may take a long time to give you any winnings, or have mysterious issues here and there. You can still play there and in many cases be perfectly fine, but we consider them to be unreliable and not very trustworthy.

So, for our recommendations for the best online casino in Canada, we only selected the sites that we can trust to be 100% genuine.

Bonuses and Promotions 

Every online casino offers various bonuses and promotional offers, right from the moment when you first sign up. They will help you make the most of your betting session, by giving you extra cash and free spins to work with. There are different types of bonuses, but the most popular ones are:

  • Welcome Bonus

Also known as the first deposit bonus, it welcomes you to the casino by giving you a big reward for signing up. Some places have an extremely generous welcome package, going beyond $1000 or more. Most of the time, the welcome offer covers not just the first deposit but also the next three or four deposits.

  • No-Deposit Bonus

Here, you don’t even have to deposit any money. As soon as you activate the bonus using the code, the rewards will be added to your account. Most of the time, the rewards in this are relatively small. The cash amounts usually range from $5 to $20 at most. Sometimes, instead of cash, it might include a small number of free spins, usually less than 50.

  • Cashback Bonus

Losing is always painful. Cashbacks reduce the bad feeling of a loss by giving you the chance to earn some of your money back. When you activate the cashback, a portion of the money you have lost recently will be added back to your account.

All bonuses have various terms and conditions. These terms determine if you are eligible for the offer, and how to achieve it. For example, all offers have a Wagering Requirement that needs to be fulfilled before you can withdraw the bonus money or winnings. For example, a wagering requirement of 50x on a $100 cash bonus means you need to wager 50x100 = $5,000 to fulfil it. 

The wagering requirement also has different contributions based on games. Some games like slots contribute 90-100% of all wagers to the requirements, while table and live dealer titles can only contribute 10-20% or not at all. So, be sure to read the T&Cs thoroughly before aiming for a bonus.

Selection of Games 

As mentioned earlier, the games are a crucial part of the casino. With no games, there will be no customers. For determining the best online casinos Canada, we don’t actually test each game one by one, but rather focus on which software developers are well represented here. 

There are some providers who are extremely well known and are guaranteed to have great games. They include NetEnt, Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, Yggdrasil Gaming, among others. So, if we see that there are titles from these providers at the site, we can rest assured the games will both be of very high quality and have great payouts.

Loyalty Rewards and VIP Programs 

Loyalty rewards are a way for casinos to give out extra bonuses and rewards to players who have proven their loyalty by playing at that site for many years. Loyalty rewards give veteran players an incentive to stick around and continue spending at the site rather than jumping ship to a newer site.

VIP rewards are similar to loyalty in the case that only a few dedicated players can get them. VIPs mainly include high rollers, who get tons of benefits such as dedicated service, personalized bonuses, invitations to exclusive events, and more.

Banking Support and Customer Service 

Before you can do anything, you have to make a deposit. Most places offer a variety of ways for players to deposit and withdraw money. Keep in mind that not everyone has access to the same things. Some people might not have a credit card or a PayPal account. So, the ones that support a wide range of options for payment rated highly.

Similarly, sometimes customers have issues as well, especially newcomers in the casino. Often the FAQ may not be able to cover every query a player might have. Therefore, friendly and responsive customer service is necessary to help resolve those issues. 

This support should ideally be available around the clock 24/7, to engage with international players as needed. It should work quickly and efficiently and be helpful in resolving problems. You can visit various online casinos review sites to see what other customers say about a particular site’s support.

How to choose the best casino to play in Canada

By now, you should have no worries about online gambling. You’re ready to start looking for the top online casinos Canada has to offer.

The basic goal of signing up to play at one of these sites is to have fun, right? For some people, making money is also an important secondary goal. So, what does it need to have in order to fulfil these requirements properly?

For starters, it should have a big library filled with fun games from the best software providers out there. The exact choice will depend on what type of game appeals to you the most. Some people prefer exclusively slot games, while others are only looking to play table and card games like Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, etc. There may also be players who enjoy both of these. Sports betting is also very popular here. Many sites have excellent sportsbooks but not many other games.

We needed to take all these different factors into account when judging the best online casino in Canada for you.

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