Page updated on 30.01.2021

Ontario, Canada Gambling Guide for 2021

The province of Ontario ↱ is Canada's largest by population at over 14.7 million, representing over 38% of Canada's roughly 38 million people at the end of 2020.

Ontario

Gambling in Canada is mostly controlled at the provincial level. However, each province must work within the framework of the Criminal Code of Canada. The exception is pari-mutuel betting and horse racing, provided for in Section 204 of the Criminal Code. It is the (Federal) Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency ↱ (CPMA) that governs this form of betting.

Fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports in Canada represent a grey area since they're not covered by any provincial or federal regulations/statutes. As in other jurisdictions, including many US states, an argument rages whether fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports are games of chance or skill.

Skill games would fall outside the scope of gambling legislation. The Criminal Code distinguishes between games of pure chance, skill games, and mixed chance & skill. The two latter are considered legal.

5 Best Online Casino Canada sites

Many offshore mobile online casinos accept players from Canada. However, not all online casinos are made equally, which is why we put together our 5 Best Online Casino Canada sites. All of these C$ casinos:

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  • Are Canadian dollar casinos that accept CAD deposits /withdrawals.
  • Are low bonus wagering casinos.
  • Are one or more of the following (instant banking): an Interac casino, an iDebit casino, and an Instadebit casino.
  • Are one or more of the following (e-wallet): ecoPayz casino, Jeton casino, and MuchBetter casino.
  • Are available in English and French Canadian.
  • Offer one or more low wagering casino bonuses and live casino bonuses.
  • Have mobile slots and mobile casino games for Android and iOS.
  • Offer free online casino games, free online slots, free blackjack, free roulette and free video poker.
  • Offer real money slot machines, baccarat online, video poker online, roulette games, blackjack games and live dealer games.
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Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)

Canada Maple Leaf

Ontario, Canada's land-based casinos, slot machines, horseracing tracks, aboriginal casinos, charities and lotteries are provided by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) ↱ (Société des loteries et des jeux de l'Ontario). It is a Crown corporation that falls under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General.

The primary gambling statutes in Ontario are the Gaming Control Act, 1992 ↱ and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Act, 1999 ↱.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) ↱ is the regulator of gaming in the Canadian province.

Ontario's charitable gaming and lotteries are only available to players 18+, rising to 19+ for players at casinos, pari-mutuels, horse racing, and facilities offering slots.

Ontario Land-Based Casinos

Ontario has three (3) First Nations casinos on reservation land opened between '94-'97. There are 25 casinos managed and conducted by the OLG. The Criminal Code of Canada does not allow private casino operators to manage and conduct gaming businesses or activities.

However, the OL G may engage third party operators to help in the day-to-day running of operations. Two of the largest are Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which assists on 13 OLG casinos. The other is Gateway Casinos, which helps with 12 casinos.

Canadian Pari-Mutuel and Horse Betting

The (CPMA) is an agency that falls under the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada agency. They are responsible for supervising pari-mutuel betting on horses to ensure fairness. In 2018 Canadian bettors made over $1.21 billion in wages. Canadian pari-mutuel betting is available on-track, through theatre betting (off-track), through a telephone account or on-track account betting.

Horse Racing

Horse racing falls under the supervision of AGCO, and there are plenty of locations across Ontario. Some of these include Niagara Falls, London, St Catherines, Mississauga, Toronto, Peterborough and Barrie, where you may find OLG operated slot machines. Horse race online betting platforms are permitted in Ontario.

Ontario Charity Gaming

Charitable lottery events (raffles, bingo and break-open tickets) also fall under the regulatory responsibility of AGCO. These must be conducted by religious organizations and eligible charities. The OLG operates several single facilities, including e-bingo.

Online Gambling

Currently, online gambling in Ontario is a monopoly controlled by the OLG that delivers the service through its PlayOGA.ca website. In 2019, the Ontario government revealed its plans to end the monopoly and legalize single-event sports betting. It would be regulated by AGCO, which already regulates land-based and digital gambling.

In 2020, the government took additional steps to end the monopoly in its budget by introducing new legislation that would also legalize single sports betting.

This announcement couldn't come too soon, given that many online casino players from Ontario already play at offshore online casinos. This is technically illegal, but enforcement's lack of appetite to go after offshore casinos has arguably helped encourage a grey market.

Offshore Gambling: Canada versus the United States

Canadians have much better options when gambling at an offshore online casino than Americans. In fact, the difference is night and day. European – licensed online casinos by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will not accept American players.

The current regulatory minefield in the United States has left most offshore casinos wary of running into trouble with states or federal regulators. Online casinos accepting American players are either unlicensed or licensed in a jurisdiction with very weak oversight. This has left American punters more vulnerable than Canadians.

  • Casinos that accept Canadians sometimes offer thousands of slot machines from dozens of leading developers. Many casinos that accept Americans offer 100-300 online slots from 1-3 providers.
  • Canadians can access live dealer games from top providers like Evolution Gaming (Monopoly Live, Crazy Time, et cetera), Pragmatic Play, Authentic Gaming and Microgaming. Americans are limited to smaller and lesser-known live dealer providers.
  • Canadians can also find more choices when it comes to sports betting sites located offshore. They can participate in some of the best sportsbooks that also offer live betting.
  • Casino deposits in Canadian dollars are available using credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets (ecoPayz, MuchBetter, Jeton), electronic vouchers (Paysafecard), and instant banking (Instadebit, iDebit, Interac online/E-transfer). American deposits are typically limited to credit cards and Bitcoins.

Ontario Gambling Laws

In late November 2020, the Federal Justice Minister David Lametti introduced a Bill to legalize sports betting single events. Currently, the only form of legal sports betting is parlay bets, where punters need to choose more than one match. This means that an Ontario punter cannot make a single bet that the Toronto Maple Leafs will defeat the Montréal Canadiens at home.

It is estimated that the total Canadian gambling market on sports events is $14 billion annually, with $4 billion going towards offshore online operators. The bill would seek to divert some of the offshore money back to Canadian providers.

Ontario Gaming History

In 1969, an amendment to the Criminal Code allowed provincial governments to legally offer lotteries. It was amended in 1985 to allow for charitable gaming licences.

The OLG was created in 1975 and launched its first lottery game (Wintario), followed by Lottario in 1978. In 1982, Lotto 6/49 became Canada's first countrywide lottery game.

In 1984 the first instant game was launched, and an online sports lottery (Pro-Line) was launched in 1992. The following year, the provincial government enacted the Ontario Casino Corporation Act, 1993. The OLG launched its first commercial casino in Windsor.

Instant casino scratch cards were introduced in 1995, as was Canada's first riverboat casino at the Casino Windsor.

In 1985 the federal government gave provinces the right to regulate their own gambling industry. The first Ontario casino was opened in 1994.

In 1996, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was set up on Mohawk Territory in Quebec. It is a licensing and gaming regulator for online casinos, online sportsbooks, poker rooms and online poker rooms located in its territory.

In 1998, the OLC introduced slot machines in Ontario racetracks.

Effective April 1, 2016, horse racing fell under the responsibility of AGCO.

Ontario Gambling FAQ

Most gambling in Ontario is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The exception is pari-mutuel betting under the supervision of the federal Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency.

Yes, Ontario offers three first Nations casinos and 25 casinos operated by an Ontario Crown Corporation (OLG).

Yes, in Ontario, players can find all kinds of lottery games, including a Canada-wide lottery.

At the present time, single-event sports betting is not legal in Canada. However, players can make parlay bets. In 2020, the Canadian government introduced legislation to legalize sports betting, which is expected to pass.

Horse racing, pari-mutuel betting, First Nations & government (OLG) casinos, charity gaming, and lotteries are legal in Ontario.

The OLG is responsible for conducting and managing most gambling in the province of Ontario.

Legally, players in Ontario can only play online at PlayOGA.ca, but this is expected to change soon. Offshore online casinos fall outside the scope of the Criminal Code, making it a grey area. Although regulators and governments have argued that they are illegal, no attempts have been made to charge these operators.

In any case, all regulated and unregulated online casinos must comply with Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.

Players from Ontario can find support and counselling at several locations, including:

At Fortunaonlinecasinos.com, players can also find our section on responsible gambling.

Online casinos that are regulated and licensed in reputable jurisdictions are generally safe for Canadian players. At Fortunaonlinecasinos.com, players can find trustworthy online mobile casinos that accept Canadians.

Yes, at Fortunaonlinecasinos.com, we offer many trustworthy Canadian dollar casinos. Canadians can find our casino review for each.

Debit & credit cards are popular with some Canadian punters. However, Canadians are fortunate to find instant banking methods: Interac E-Transfer, Instadebit, Interac Online and iDebit. Electronic wallets are also becoming popular, and Canadians have choices that include ecoPayz, Jeton and MuchBetter.

See our guide for popular payment methods for Canadian online casino players for more information.

Yes, a Canada welcome bonus often contains free spins and a deposit bonus when making their first deposit. Some casinos also offer a Canada no deposit bonus after signing up.
Canadians who play regularly at a casino can often find ongoing promotions like cashback bonuses, tournaments, VIP and more. All casino bonuses are subject to T&C that Canadians should read carefully.

Yes, each option we present is a mobile casino. Canadians can play free mobile slots and free iOS and Android casino games to try first before playing for real money. These are all instant-play online mobile casinos accessed from a browser. However, a few offer a downloadable mobile casino app.

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