Welcome to The Canadian Gambler’s FAQ page. Below you will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions that will help you to get the most out of your online gambling experience. Please contact me via the link at the bottom of the page, or join my Facebook page to post your questions if you don’t find an answer here. I will continue to update this page with any question I think would be useful to new and/or seasoned online casino players. Some FAQs will be specifically for Canadian casino players, but most will be relevant to all players.
|Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada?||Getting Started at Online Casinos|
|Signup (Welcome) Bonuses||Is it Safe to Gamble Online?|
|No Deposit Bonuses||Wagering Requirements|
|Depositing and Withdrawing||How to Avoid Rogue Casinos|
I’ve searched the internet far and wide to find the answer to this question. Some say yes, others say no, but what I got out of it all was the fact that it is only legal to gamble at places licensed by the Canadian Government. Technically this would make it not legal to gamble online in Canada, unless of course you’re playing at the Provincial casinos currently running online. There have been no laws written, as far as I know, specifically outlawing or allowing online gambling. This puts it in a “grey area” since it’s not really legal or illegal.
There is however, an old Canadian law that states that it is unlawful to be found in a “common betting house”, which some think could be used against someone who is gambling online, but nobody playing in Canada has ever been prosecuted. Even in the US, in the states with laws against it, it is very rare for an individual to be charged. In one of those rare cases that I found, a person had to pay a $500 fine for a $100,000 online poker win (and since he’s in the US, probably a much larger sum for taxes). Authorities in the US have been targeting the banks and companies that process online gambling transactions for US players, rather than going after individuals.
The attitude here in Canada is much more relaxed. It appears that the provinces are going with the flow and opening their own online casinos to compete in the current market rather than fight. There was one company charged for running an online casino in Canada, back in 2001, but that’s the only case I could find that had anything to do with online gambling.
One interesting fact that not many people may know, is that there are many online casinos that are already licensed and regulated in Canada by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (Est. 1996) in Quebec. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has been licensing and regulating online gaming since July 8, 1999 – longer than almost any other jurisdiction in the world. One of their rules for being licensed by them, is that the online casino must be located on Kahnawake land, on their secure servers. There have been questions about the legality of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission running in Canada, for quite a few years now, but no action has ever been taken.
One funny thing about the situation in the US – there are now US land-based operations, like FoxWoods, launching online casinos in Europe where it is perfectly legal and US players are not allowed to play there. There are still some US friendly online casinos that Americans can to play at, but depositing and withdrawing is becoming difficult.
Update on the US situation for those who care… Much like their stance on pot in their war on drugs, some US states are completely flipping their stance on the subject and launching their own online casinos and poker sites. So after spending millions of taxpayer dollars to combat online gambling, seizing millions of dollars from big companies like PokerStars, and stopping as many Americans as possible from gambling online, they are now “allowing” US players to gamble online. How’s that for freedom eh?
Most Canadian provinces are considering launching their own online casinos, and BC actually recently launched one but it is only available to residents of BC. Quebec also just launched an online poker site, again restricted to residents of Quebec. Ontario has plans to open one in 2012, and New Brunswick may be next.
I’ve heard of some banks questioning your transactions to and from online casinos, and some credit card companies don’t allow transactions for gambling, so I like to use an “e-wallet” like Instadebit (Canadian company). I’ve never had any questions arise from transactions using those.
Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, so do not take this as legal advice, and I do not condone illegal activities.
Any game of chance is risky, couple that with playing online and it becomes even more of a challenge for online players. Not only are they gambling with their online casino games, playing online in general is a gamble in itself. Falling victim to bonus traps or other “rogue casino” practices can be quite the learning experience for online players, and knowing what to look for can make the difference in a quality gaming adventure, and a hassle filled headache.
So how do you know what to look for? There are many tell all signs that will help you spot a rogue casino, and know how to tell the difference between those that are less than desirable and those that are worth your business.
A quick Google search will turn up a wealth of information just by searching the casinos name. Players will find other player grievances, complaints or other related issues to the certain casino. Also, a web search will point players towards message boards where they can read about personal player experiences at the casino.
Check out the website. If it looks cheap and in bad taste, it is better to take your business elsewhere, and look for a better option. Also checking the casino for licensing information will help. All legitimate casinos will have their license and relevant information regarding the licensing authority in an easy to find place on the website. If you can’t find the information, support should be able to tell you what you need to know. If they refuse to answer the question about where they are licensed, or talk around the question, that is a sign to walk away. Casinos should be licensed and regulated by a reputable jurisdiction, and tested for randomness by a third party on a regular basis.
Rogue casinos usually operate in groups, and it can be hard to figure out what casino belongs to that group. Online casino “watch dog” sites will usually list all the rogue casinos and which group they belong to, which can be an important tool when playing online.
Check the banking options and how long it takes to receive cash out. If it’s an unreasonable amount of time to process withdrawals, there are casinos available that can and will process almost instantly. If there aren’t many banking options available; that may be another sign to walk away and continue your search.
Finally, there should always be a dispute mechanism in place, just in case an issue should arise during your play at the online casino of your choice. While the casino may be reputable, there still may be a chance that you will not be happy or you will have an issue that you need help with. It’s always good to have a third party to mediate between the player and casino.
While it seems like work, it will payoff to do your research before signing up and spending your hard earned money at a casino online. Players all over the world have many choices to play, and it only makes sense that they go above and beyond to find the perfect casino for them.
I have done the required research for all of the online casinos featured on this site, and have played at pretty much all of them myself. The only casinos on this site that I haven’t played at personally, are owned by casino groups that I have experience with.
Getting started playing at online casinos is quite simple. Just find a casino that you would like to play at on this website (I highly recommend one of my Top 10 Online Casinos), and click on a link to take you to their website. Most casinos offer both an “Instant Play” and a download option. You will need to set up an account, and yes they do ask for lots of info, but they do have to verify your identity just like showing your ID at a land based casino.
The Free Slot Games above are an example of the Instant Play casino at All Slots. It runs in your browser using flash to display the graphics, and there is usually an extra plugin you have to install. The flash versions don’t offer all the games that you can play with the download version, or the same quality of graphics, but it saves you from having to download and install the casino.
Downloading the casino is always the best choice, as you get the full experience that way. The install is usually a very small download, and games will either download automatically while you play, or one at a time when you click on them to play. Once downloaded, you can go back to that game any time without needing to download it again. Everything you need including the bank, games, and live chat are usually all available within the downloaded program. All important areas are normally accessible through the “Lobby”, this is the first page you see after starting the program and logging in.
Once you are logged in and in the lobby, you are ready to visit the bank. If you would like to claim a welcome bonus, the lobby will sometimes have an easy coupon redemption button for you to click. If you have a coupon code, that can be redeemed in the banking page. If you were offered a welcome bonus and didn’t get any coupon code and there is no button in the lobby, then the bonus will most likely be automatically applied. You can then go ahead and deposit using the payment method you prefer. If you don’t see that a bonus was given after you deposit, go to live chat and ask customer service why it wasn’t. They are usually happy to help and quick to act.
Once that is all taken care of, you are ready to play whatever games you like. If you have taken a bonus, make sure to read the terms and conditions of that bonus before playing.
Good luck and enjoy your online gambling experience!
The Welcome Bonus is something that is offered at pretty much every online casino. It definitely comes in handy, allowing you to bet more for bigger wins, and extending the play time on your deposit. The welcome bonus is usually the largest bonus you will get from that casino, though sometimes they will offer several bonuses, or an ongoing bonus as a welcome gift.
An example would be Aladdin’s Gold Casino who is offering an unlimited 200% deposit bonus for the first week. That means every deposit made during your first week at the casino will be awarded a 200% bonus. Deposit $100 and get $200, giving you $300 to play with. If you lose that, or cash out, you can deposit again and receive the same award.
Bonuses almost always come with Wagering Requirements which usually prevents you from withdrawing until you have wagered a certain amount of money. For this reason, some people decide not to play with bonuses. You can play without bonuses either by not redeeming a coupon before a deposit, or if it is automatic you can ask customer service (via live chat or email) to stop the bonus from being applied to your deposit(s).
Sometimes a bonus is ‘sticky’, meaning it cannot be cashed out along with your winnings, and there can also be a maximum amount you are allowed to cash out. This is usually the case with No Deposit Bonuses.
An example of this would be High Noon Casino offering a $60 free chip (or “no deposit bonus”) that comes with wagering requirements and a maximum cashout of $300. This is a ‘sticky’ bonus, so if you complete the wagering requirements and have over $360, request a withdrawal of $360 to get the maximum $300 cashout (the $60 bonus is removed during withdrawal).
Make sure you read the casino Terms and Conditions before you decide to deposit and play with a bonus. This way you know exactly what the specific bonus conditions are, as they differ from casino to casino.
Most bonuses advertised are for playing slot games, and they usually have an alternative bonus for poker and table games. It is very important that if you take a slot bonus, that you do not play any restricted games (like blackjack and roulette are usually restricted) or you may forfeit any winnings. That is why it’s important to read the Terms and Conditions of the bonus at that casino.
I personally like to play with a bonus, I feel it gives me a better chance to hit a nice win.
For more information about bonuses and online Casino Bonus codes, visit CasinoB.com.
The No Deposit Bonus is given to players by some online casinos as a welcome gift, it’s a great way to try out a casino for free. These can also be offered to you by different casinos that you have already played at, maybe to entice you to come back, or just as a good faith measure if you’ve recently lost money there.
The bonus is usually ‘sticky’ meaning it cannot be cashed out when you request a withdrawal. They also usually come with higher wagering requirements than deposit bonuses and a maximum cash out. If you are above the maximum cash out and have fulfilled the wagering requirements, cash out the maximum allowed plus the bonus, this will give you the maximum amount allowed.
An example of this would be High Noon Casino offering a $60 free chip (or no deposit bonus) that comes with wagering requirements and a maximum cash-out of $300. This is a ‘sticky’ bonus, so if you complete the wagering requirements and have over $360, request a withdrawal of $360 to get the maximum $300 cash-out (the $60 bonus is removed during withdrawal).
If you win on a no deposit bonus, you will normally have to verify your ID, and verify the method you wish to use to withdraw by depositing the minimum amount (usually around $25). So if you win it’s not really a no deposit bonus because you have to deposit, but you can withdraw that deposit along with the rest of your winnings without having to play any of it. Remember to read the Terms and Conditions for every bonus you decide to claim.
Almost all bonuses come with Wagering Requirements (WR). This means that you are required to wager a certain amount of money before being able to withdraw your winnings.
Most bonuses at Microgaming casinos have a WR of Bonus x (a certain multiplier, usually 30x). As you wager, the bonus credits are moved into your cash balance, but you must complete the full WR before you can withdraw.
For a comparison between the two systems, we’ll use an example of depositing $100 with a 100% bonus at both Maple Casino and Aladdin’s Gold Casino. At Maple Casino, the WR would be $100×30 = $3000. At Aladdin’s Gold, the WR would be $100+$100 x 20 = $4000. That’s quite a difference, and consider that 20% at Aladdin’s Gold is almost the lowest offered at RTG casinos, it is usually 25x or even 30x.
The wagering comes from placing bets on casino games. Different types of games are weighted differently when it comes to wagering, that is if you are even allowed to play other types of games with the bonus you took.
If you can play all games on the bonus, blackjack and roulette for example are usually weighted the lowest, and some games don’t count at all. Slots are almost always weighted at 100%, meaning every dollar spent counts as a dollar towards the WR. The WR may seem like a large amount of money to wager, but when playing slots, you win often enough that you don’t really realize how much you have wagered.
Make sure you read the Terms and Conditions for any bonus you decide to take before you start playing. Some bonuses don’t allow you to play certain games, and if you do, they have the right to remove the bonus and any winnings, leaving you with just the deposit that you made.
Depositing and withdrawing at online casinos is quite simple for the most part. I find the easiest method for Canadians to use is Instadebit. Though credit cards are still the most widely used and accepted, some credit card companies do not allow the use of their cards for gambling purposes, and many people prefer using a “Web Wallet” like Instadebit.
There are many different options out there, but not all are accepted at every casino. There are web wallets, bank wire transfers, credit cards, cheques, etc. It is up to you to decide the method you prefer.
Different web wallets have different rules, including country restrictions and/or fees associated with transactions. Instadebit is the best one for Canadians and is free to use, all other countries are restricted from using it. Neteller is popular with players outside of North America, as Canada and the US are restricted from using it. Click2Pay accepts people from everywhere, MoneyBookers is available everywhere except the US, and UseMyWallet is just for US residents. Those are the most popular and widely accepted web wallets available.
Credit cards and bank transfers are also widely accepted by many casinos.
Almost all of the casinos on this site accept Instadebit for deposits and withdrawals, with the exception of 32Red. I have been in contact with a representative of 32Red and they are seriously considering adding Instadebit as an option for Canadian players. Hopefully they decide to use that option as they are one of the best casinos to play at based on player feedback. Update: They added it.
Depositing and withdrawing can be done in the banking page of the online casino, there is always a link to the bank from the lobby. The process is quite simple once you have decided which method to use and signed up with that service if necessary. Once you make a deposit, most casinos have a ‘favorite method’ option that automatically selects the methods you have used and displays them at the top of the banking page.
Usually the casino likes to use to the same method to process your withdrawal as you used for your deposits.
Most Microgaming casinos have a 24 hour ‘reversible’ period, enabling you to reverse some or all of your withdrawal for 24hrs. Many of these online casinos will ‘flush’ your withdrawal right after you request it, by just going into live chat and asking them to do that for you. I know Maple Casino will flush withdrawals, as I just did that tonight after a decent win there.
Yes, it is safe to play at some online casinos, but not at others. The main purpose of this website is to give you access to trusted online casinos that are very safe play at.
Some casinos are known to be “Rogue”. Meaning they will gladly take your money, but if you happen to win, they will find any excuse not to pay you. If they can’t find an excuse they will make one up, or just not communicate with you at all. That was always my main concern with gambling online, wondering if it’s all just a scam to take your money.
There are many casinos out there that are actually in the business to run a great casino online. These casinos will honour your winnings and pay you any and all winnings as soon as possible. They want your return business, so they operate in a very professional manner.
You can usually tell the quality of a casino by their customer service (live chat is a must) response time and quality of service. Payout times can vary depending on if the casino processes withdrawals one at a time, or in a batch a couple times per day to cut down on operating costs, but that is also a good indicator of casino quality.
I have played at all of the casinos on this website, after having researched them to find out if they were trusted or not, and have experienced their customer service and withdrawal processes. I have also played at other online casinos that I will not show on this website due to bad experiences by me and/or other people. I want my fellow Canadians to only have the best online gambling experiences, without having to deal with shady casinos.
I chose the Top 10 Online Casinos featured on the home page based on my experiences, backed up by other players comments and lack of complaints over the many years (some more than 10yrs) they have been in business. These casinos run on three different software platforms, giving you different slots and games to play. Those 3 software platforms are pretty much all Canadians can play.
There are a couple other software platforms out there that we are not allowed to play. Like Rival for example, but most casinos that use Rival software are Rogue so we aren’t missing much, only a couple casinos are OK to play at.
Be wary of online casinos that offer huge no deposit bonuses, or bonuses that seem too good to be true, they usually are. One example I found when browsing online was an RTG casino, named “Cool Cat”, offering a $400 no deposit bonus. A little digging around and I found out that Cool Cat is a Rogue casino, they don’t like to pay, so stay away.
So yes it can be totally safe to gamble online, you just have to know where it is safe to play.