Closer Look at Canadian Laws On Online Gaming

Canadian laws on online gambling, as well as the laws governing land-based activities are not as much of a grey area as what they tend to be in many other parts of the world. In fact, the laws governing any form of betting within the borders of the country have been implemented with a very obvious goal in mind: efficient regulation.

In Canada, the governance of all gambling-related activities, including online gaming in Canada, happens on a provincial level, with each of the ten Provinces being responsible for the implementation and administration of their own interpretation of what constitutes responsible practices. That been said, the general rule of thumb is that any law that is instituted on provincial level may never exceed or override the stipulations of the Criminal Code of Canada. This applies to all applications of the law, including Canadian laws on online gaming.

Furthermore, should the Provinces wish to make any major changes to any law that is being instituted at provincial level, it will have bearing on the laws of the country as a whole, and will be treated and reviewed as such.

Online Gaming In Canada

In keeping with governance on provincial level, online gaming in Canada isn’t illegal, provided that the operator is licensed or even owned by a provincial government. For Canadians, it’s all about having control over all gambling-related activities that take place within the borders of the country.

This has not stopped thousands of foreign operators, who are not licensed locally, from offering all of their best online gaming brands to Canadian citizens. Canada is known to periodically crack down on unlicensed operators, as was the recent case with Starnet Communications International, who was forced to forfeit nearly $4 million in revenue income for operating unlawfully.

Online Canadian casinos are generally licensed, but it’s the foreign online casinos attempting to trade illegally within the country’s borders that are often fined or worse.

Then in 2013, it was Platinum Sports Book’s turn to be rapped over the knuckles. Ontario authorities performed various raids, charging 19 people with various charges of conducting illegal betting activities and seizing in excess of $2 million of users’ funds.

Provincial Governance

The situation being what it is that gambling laws are managed and enforced on provincial level, it proves insightful to consider the application of the constitution as well as Province-based legislation as far as it relates to online gaming in Canada as well as land-based casino activities. It would by no means be practical to stipulate each and every provincial regulation here, but we’ve taken a look at Ontario to illustrate how legislation is applied at provincial level.

Ontario is the province with the highest population density of all of the provinces and most residents are within the range of a 1 -2 hours drive from a casino. As such, over 25 land-based casinos operate in Ontario. Some are privately owned, others are run by government as charitable organisations. These are mainly raffle and bingo halls. In Ontario, bingo generates the biggest slice of the revenue income pie for the province.

Taxes On Winnings

Gambling taxes, too, are well regulated within the borders of the country. Winnings of individuals are free from taxation, while the income of a bookmaker is taxable. This is in keeping with longstanding British law concerning taxable income as far as winnings are concerned.

In Canada, the Income Tax Act regulates all legislation involving the payment of taxes. Winnings are considered to be windfalls and not something that can be relied on as it’s purely based on luck. To this end, it isn’t considered to be a source of income. According to the Income Tax Act, only income is taxable. If you are a professional player there are a few differences, but for those of us just having fun with the best online gambling brands, what is won, is tax free.