• Games for money in Canada

    Key questions and answers:

    • What online gambling is legal in Canada?
    • What online gambling can be offered by private companies?
    • Do legitimate bookmakers offering legitimate gambling offer bonuses to new players?
    • Where can I find a list of legal bookmakers operating in Canada?

What online gambling is legal in Canada?

In Canada, various games of Chance can be legally played on the internet, m.in. bookmaking, casino games (e.g. slot machines) and number games (lotto). However, many of these games are subject to state monopoly, which means that they can only be organised by the state Totalizator sport and by land-based (land-based) casinos. On the other hand, online betting companies may offer betting. New, however, are bets on gambling games such as blackjack, poker and war. They consist of betting on the outcomes of card games, which are conducted live by the dealer, who can be observed live on the screen of a computer or smartphone. To see what these types of legal gambling look like click here.

What online gambling can be offered by private companies?

Private betting companies in their offer may have betting. However, the offer of betting is constantly growing, and new is the possibility of placing bets on other gambling games, such as blackjack, poker and war. Betting on the results of these games (conducted live by a real dealer seen on the computer screen) is not much different from direct participation in such a game. You can bet online, 24h / day. Click here to see how these types of games look. In addition, bookmakers offer also special virtual games, which involve placing bets on the outcome of short virtual games that we can watch on the computer screen (e.g. horse racing, dog racing or football matches). To explore virtual games click here.

Do legitimate bookmakers offering legitimate gambling offer bonuses to new players?

Yes, legal bookmakers offering legal gambling for new players have prepared special welcome offers, thanks to which you can get extra money for the game at the start. We remind you that setting up a player account with a bookmaker is completely free and does not oblige you to anything. To view the welcome bonus offers offered by individual bookmakers, click here.

Where can I find a list of legal bookmakers operating in Canada?

A list of legal bookmakers through which you can participate in legal online gambling is available by clicking on this link.

Gambling – legal situation in Canada

Although gambling is a form of entertainment and should be perceived by the players themselves, it is also the subject of the entire gambling industry, which is regulated by Polish law. This means that the rules of operation of gambling operators, issues related to the implementation of their services, but also those that relate to the rights and obligations of players, are strictly specified in the relevant legal acts. To make it easier for players to find information on specific aspects of what is prohibited, what is allowed and under what conditions, and to explain all the most important issues related to gambling in Canada, we have prepared the following guide.

What is gambling?

In the title of the introduction, let us first explain what gambling and gambling are in general. Generally speaking, gambling is always a game, but not every game is a gamble. In gambling, the key element is randomness, randomness of the result and the risk of losing or the chance to win "something", usually money, and sometimes certain things. These two elements are closely related, since the game is random, it is impossible to predict its outcome, which is why the risk here is so high. Admittedly, it can be argued that individual games of chance are to varying degrees random. If we buy a lottery ticket, it all depends on our "luck". In turn, betting on bookmakers, we to some extent affect the accuracy of our types-here sports knowledge is of great importance, but no one can 100% predict, for example, the outcome of the match, so here also the case is of great importance. Thus, whenever a game involves the risk of losing the bet and its result is more or less random, we can safely talk about gambling.

Gambling – Act

Let's get to the legal issues. In Canada, the basic legal act regulating gambling matters is the "act of 19 November 2009 on gambling". Although the law was created in 2009, it has already been seriously amended and really big changes have been made to it. The amendment adopted on 15 December 2016 was a watershed moment for the entire gambling industry, introducing m.in. state monopoly on online casino and slot machines or enacting a provision on the need to maintain the so-called registry of prohibited domains. The changes were aimed at reducing the grey area in the gambling industry, in particular limiting the ability of illegal online gambling operators to operate. The second issue concerned ensuring greater player safety by introducing anti-gambling measures into the law and requiring gambling operators to implement them.

In the following part of the article, we present individual issues based on the unified text of the so-called gambling act. For those who want to read the provisions of the act in its original wording, at the end of the text we provide the appropriate links.

Gambling – definition

To begin with, it is good to clarify what exactly is meant by the legislator by the term "gambling". Well, they are:


  • card games (poker, blackjack, baccarat),
  • slot games.

and random games, which include:

  • number games,
  • lotteries (cash, fantasy, promotional and audiotex),
  • game telebingo,
  • bingo game (cash or fantasy),
  • cylindrical games (e.g. roulette),
  • dice games.

An important issue is the fact that these games are conducted for cash or in-kind prizes, so in the case of playing, for example, poker matches, the provisions of the Gambling Act do not apply. In turn, the question of whether gambling is organized in a traditional form or online gambling is no longer relevant-in the sense that the law specifies the rules for both types of games.

Gambling-who can organize?

As you can easily guess, in order to have the right to organize a certain type of gambling in Canada, you must first obtain the appropriate permit. The Minister of finance of the Republic of Canada is responsible for issuing licenses, but not all forms of gambling can be licensed at all. So let's start with them.

State monopoly gambling

Casino onlinewell, according to the amendment of the act on gambling, the Polish state has a monopoly on running an online casino, and thus on all typically casino gambling games over the internet, e.g. poker, blackjack, roulette, gambling games "jednoręki bandit", etc. Thus, a casino offering online gambling is as legal as possible, but on the condition that we use the site of an entity designated by the state, in this case the Totalizator Sportowy (company of the state treasury). Other online casinos available in Canada operate against the law and any online gambling they offer is illegal. The second area covered by the state monopoly is fixed slot machines, which, although they can be located in licensed casinos, but as far as machines outside casinos are concerned, they can only be located in state-run game rooms (again, the monopoly is implemented by The Sports totalizator). The same applies to Number Games, money lotteries and telebingo games, as long as they are organized outside the game casino. Gambling in this form is therefore severely restricted by the provisions of the act.

Gambling – permits

Entities that meet certain requirements may seek authorisation to operate other games of chance. As regards the land-based casino concession, in addition to the need to comply with a number of conditions, it is also important to limit the number of casinos that can operate in a given area. According to the provisions of the law on gambling, in a given locality for every 250 thousand. residents can operate 1 land-based casino, while in each province there can be no more casinos than 1 in 650 thousand. persons. Legal casinos also operate on full-sea ships and passenger ferries of Polish nationality.

In turn, another type of gambling-betting-can be offered by companies that have received permission from the minister of finance to conduct bookmaking services in Canada. A separate license is issued for the activity through a network of fixed points, and a separate one for the organization of sports betting via the internet (the company can apply for one or both types of permits). Also in this case, obtaining a license is not easy, firstly, the company must comply with formal requirements, such as, for example, have the required share capital or have an appropriate legal form. Secondly, it is necessary to submit an application and a number of documents related to the planned activity and the company itself. There is no limit to the number of authorisations issued in the case of a licence to engage in bookmaking activities. On the other hand, both the casino licence and the bookmaking licence are issued for a period of 6 years with the possibility of renewal.

Prohibited domain registry

In addition to the introduction of a state monopoly on selected games of chance, another very significant provision of the 2016 amendment concerned the creation of a "register of domains used to offer games of chance in violation of the law". This register is a list of internet domains where non-authorised entities offer casino games and other online gambling services. The search for such sites is carried out by specialists including employees of the Opole customs and tax office, and the targeted sites are added to the list posted on the public government website. So-called. the registry of prohibited domains is therefore certainly useful for people who are not sure whether a site offers online gambling legally. This may not be clear especially in the case of betting sites. If it is a legitimate online casino, it is only located at totalcasino.pl, so it is clear that all other domains, where we find e.g. poker or online roulette, 100% are illegal.

Secondly, the registry of prohibited domains is a tool to help block sites hosting illegal gambling. The law obliges telecommunications companies to, in addition to imposing a blockade on such a site, additionally redirect users to a government service. There it displays only a message about the illegality of the site and adding it to the register of prohibited domains and warning against the penalties that threaten those who participate in illegal gambling. Internet providers to fulfill this obligation have only 48 hours from the moment when the site will be in the registry-under the threat of heavy penalties. In addition, payment providers are also obliged to terminate the service agreement, so banks and other payment system operators must cease cooperation with the service that will be in the register (within 30 days). All this makes it very difficult for illegal operators of betting and other games of chance to operate on the Polish market and has in fact significantly reduced the grey area in Canada.

Verification of players ' identity and age

For gamblers, it is also important to mention the age requirement for people who want to participate in gambling. This provision is intended to protect the youngest internet users and potential young players, who, according to research, are the most vulnerable to gambling addiction. The age restriction is of course most important for minors, as they have neither the right to enter the game casino, nor to enter the online casino or open websites run by illegal bookmakers. However, the legal provisions in this matter also indirectly affect those players for whom gambling is legally fully available. In order to comply with the rules, it is necessary to implement a verification procedure for players. Anyone entering a land-based casino must identify themselves using an identity card and then receive an entry card confirming successful registration.

online gambling-registration of accounts of those players who are interested in online gambling, there is a requirement to register an individual player account in a given online service (both on the website of the online casino and on betting sites). In the registration form it is always mandatory to provide your real personal data, but this is not enough-it is also necessary to send a scan or a photo of the identity document. On this basis, the gambling organizer verifies the identity and age of the player, and in case everything is in order, activates the user account. If there are any objections, as a rule, additional documents should be sent.

However, it is worth knowing that in addition to full account registration, betting operators usually allow the possibility of so-called fast, that is, simplified registration, which does not require sending a photocopy of the identity document. Just provide the most basic personal and contact information to create a temporary account. It allows you to perform most of the actions on the site, so you can see how online gambling and the broad implementation of the service look in practice (eg. making payments, using bonuses, features available on the site or in the mobile application). The main difference between a full account and a temporary account is that it is not possible to withdraw winnings with the latter. So if we want to transfer the collected funds to a bank account, we need to complete the registration process by sending a scan of the identity card or passport.

Rules of responsible gaming

The Gambling Act obliges gambling operators to prepare and implement rules for responsible gambling. Land-based casinos, online casinos and bookmakers-both online and land-based-are obliged to do this. This is a mandatory point for applying for a permit to organize a particular gambling game-the regulations must be submitted together with the application for a license or concession and be approved by the minister of finance. At the time of launching the activity (and of course later as well) it must be made available in a visible place, and players should be able to get acquainted with it before starting the game. Its main task is to protect players from gambling addiction, and the law specifies exactly what type of information must necessarily be in the rules of this type.

The rules of responsible gaming certainly talk about how the age of users will be verified by the respective gambling organizer and how the registration of users will look like. It must also foresee and describe the mechanisms by which users can self-control their own game and automatically block those players who run out of funds to play. There are also important issues related to informing users, e.g. about the organizer or authorization of gambling, about the Prohibition of gambling for minors, the risk of addiction to gambling or institutions that help addicts.

Gambling-what are the taxes?

Game tax

gambling-taxs gambling games are not only entertainment for players, but also duties. First of all, this concerns tax obligations, but different gambling games are subject to a different amount of tax. The legislator has imposed a 12% turnover tax on bookmakers, so 12% of the stake must be paid to the tax office for each coupon, regardless of whether it is won or not. It is collected in advance by the bookmaker, and therefore the game is not involved 100% of the amount deposited by the player, but only its 88%. This is not a comfortable situation for players, especially since such a procedure does not follow the provisions of the law, and the practice adopted by the organizers of mutual bets. An exception to this rule are promotions commonly referred to as" tax-free play", where the tax on the game is paid by the bookmaker and the entire stake is wagered. In this case, if the player bets the right types, his winnings are about 14% higher than the standard.

When it comes to other games of Chance, the situation of players is better. Although the Gambling Act defines the amount of tax for them, and the taxpayers are the operators of casino games, they do not deduct the amount of tax from the rates paid. Thus, the issues related to the payment of the game tax are not so tangible for the players themselves. For the sake of formality, however, let us specify the amount of tax for each game:

  • 10% - fantasy lottery and fantasy bingo game,
  • 15% – cash lottery,
  • 20% - number game,
  • 25% - cash bingo game, telebingo game, audiotex lottery and poker in the form of a poker game tournament,
  • 50% - slot machine game, roulette game, dice game, card game (no poker game tournament),
  • 2,5% - mutual bets on sports competition of animals.

Tax on winnings

Another issue is the tax on winnings, which does not have to be paid by all players, since only some games of chance involve the need to pay it. These include, for example, bookmaker bets-if a player wins more than 2280 zł, 10% of the winning amount is deducted to pay tax. If the win is equal to 2280 PLN or less, we are dealing with a tax exemption, so the player receives the entire winning amount. So let's look at two lists.

Gambling, which is subject to a tax on winnings, the one-time value of which exceeds PLN 2280 (10%):

  • reciprocal bets,
  • number games,
  • telebingo games,
  • cash, promotional, audiotex and fantasy lotteries.

Games of chance not subject to a tax on winnings (10%):

  • slot machines,
  • card games,
  • dice games,
  • cylindrical games,
  • cash and fantasy bingo games.

If the tax on winnings relates to gambling, its organizer takes it from the winning amount and pays it to the tax office, and the player pays 90% of the winning amount. However, if the tax is not applicable, the player should remember to obtain a certificate of winnings from the organizer of the gambling. They should be issued in the form of a letter, which can be presented in the event of a fiscal audit. All provisions concerning this tax are contained in the"law of 26 July 1991 on personal income tax".

What penalties do players face for illegal gambling?

illegal gambling-punishmentin addition to the various mechanisms that are used in Canada to restrict the activities of operators offering illegal gambling over the internet, many operators still offer casino games and betting without special permission. If a player is considering whether or not to use the services of one of them, it is worth to be aware of the penalties for participation in illegal gambling provided for by law. Firstly, they apply to any form of illegal gambling, so whether a player bets on illegal odds or plays games of chance in an illegal online or land-based casino, he is always exposed to high financial penalties. Secondly, a participant in illegal gambling can be fined both on the basis of the Gambling Act and the criminal tax code.

As for the Gambling Act, it provides for punishment for all persons who participate in illegal gambling, and it is not important whether they were aware that the procedure is illegal or not. In the event that it is proved that the player, for example, placed bets on a website whose owner does not have a license for such activity, the typer must pay a penalty of 100% of the funds won. The amount to be paid is not less than the bet placed.

The second fine may be imposed on the basis of the tax code. Here, however, it is important that the player is proved to have acted knowingly, and therefore the fact that he knew that he was breaking the law. If confirmed, the fine could be very high. Illegal gambling can be punished with a penalty of up to 120 daily rates. The amount of the rate shall be determined by the court individually, as shall the number of rates to be applied to the fine. For the maximum number of bets with the highest possible amount, the player can receive a penalty of PLN 3.6 million (in 2019). And although the possibility of being sentenced to prison has disappeared with the amendment of the criminal tax code of 2017, nevertheless, the amount of financial penalties should also effectively discourage " fun " in illegal gambling.

Gambling for free

Free gambling can be understood in two ways. Firstly, it can be demo versions of games available in a legitimate online casino. Total casino provides various gambling games for free-slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, etc. Thanks to this, an unregistered player can play any free gambling games and thus see what the game is in the online version. The game is therefore described as free, because you do not need to deposit any money, but it has the disadvantage that you can not win anything. This is just a purely selfless fun and only because it can take place without registering an account.

Free games of chance have a slightly different meaning in the case of bookmaking (although the online casino may offer them). There are no demo versions here, but the typer still sometimes has the opportunity to play for free. Legal bookmakers prepare various types of bonuses and promotions, thanks to which you can sometimes get completely free funds for the game (for example, as part of a welcome package or on the occasion of some important sporting event). Using the so-called freebet, you can place a sports bet without making any deposit, and in case of a hit type you will receive a win. Of course, all these free games are organized in accordance with the law and as long as we use the services of legal gambling organizers, we can safely reach for the options offered by them.