Since the early 1990s, Canada has been an untapped market for internet poker and other forms. However, this is slowly changing.
Online gambling is not allowed or prohibited by Canadian law. Therefore, Canadian citizens can access international poker sites without any consequences.
Some operators who choose to serve Canadian customers are licensed and fully legal in other countries. It is important to keep in mind that they are acting offshore. This means that they don’t pay Canadian taxes, and there is no regulatory body for players to appeal to in the event of a problem.
The only legally legal online poker products at the moment are those offered through provincial lotteries. Unfortunately, not all lottery have such a product.
Canada is changing its approach to gambling. Offshore sites, even those that are reputable like PokerStars, may be unable to serve Canadian customers for a while. It should, however, mean that Canadians have better options and are more legal.
Playing Online Poker in Canada
Canada is the only country that has both government-run and private online poker sites. This unique system is a major advantage in online poker and has helped to create an industry both for provincial-run sites as well as offshore operators. Because they have more options to choose from than any other country, the customer is the true winner. This is what drove hundreds of professional poker players from the United States to Canada, after Black Friday reduced the U.S. online gambling market.
These poker professionals helped to stimulate the poker scene in cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. This was a win-win situation for all and Canada is still a top destination to play online poker. A thriving live poker scene has emerged from the Canadian online poker market. Although the Playground Poker Club in Montreal may be the leader in major poker events, there are plenty of poker players in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
Online poker under Canadian law
The Canada Criminal Code does not contain any information about gambling. It only delegated authority to the provincial lotteries. Except for partnerships with public lottery corporations, private companies cannot offer any form of gambling. However, charitable organizations can access limited forms of gambling with the approval of their provincial governments.
A few types of gambling are specifically prohibited by the Code. The Code prohibits betting on the outcome of one sporting event. This makes it impossible to run sportsbooks and restricts the options for parlay betting. Poker isn’t one of these excluded games and is offered at many Canadian casinos as live poker.
Best Canadian Poker Sites
- Bodog Poker
- TigerGaming Poker
- BetOnline Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
- Bet365 Poker