Canadian Casinos, Laws, and Taxes
Canada is one of the biggest betting nations on Earth, and there are plenty of real-world betting establishments at which to play. But how does the law affect online betting, and how is tax generated by gaming spent in Canada? For more on all that, read on.
Online Gambling Laws in Canada
Canadian law regarding betting at real-world and online casinos is a little bit unnecessarily complicated, particularly given the country is amongst the top 10 biggest betting nations in the world. Online gambling laws are provincial matters, which means that online Canadian casinos must be run by provincial authorities or have been granted a license by said authorities (or by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission).
Canadians can, however, bet at online casinos located overseas. The downside for the country is that these offshore sites do not pay tax to Canada, and with billions of dollars being wagered every year, that’s a large slice of tax income that goes to foreign treasuries rather than domestic coffers.
Online Casinos in Canada
Online casino use has been rising globally for some time, and Canada is no exception to this long term trend. Indeed, the demographics of the country naturally encourage online betting in Canada as the country is wealthy and has a low population density, meaning that distances between sites are larger than in other nations of comparable wealth. European countries, for example, have similar populations and disposable income but far higher population densities, making real-world casinos easier to reach.
Canadian players considering online betting sites have a huge number of offshore and domestic places to play. Online-Casinos CA has analyzed these best casinos to help give potential players a head start finding the top online casinos for Canadians to fully enjoy the betting experience. Online betting sites also frequently offer great introductory bonuses to welcome players who sign up, from no deposit free spins and cash to matching deposits so you start off with even more playing funds.
The best online casinos for Canadians have hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of slots to spin, with themes ranging from Norse mythology to modern-day spy thrillers and superheroes. Table game classics blackjack, roulette, poker, and more remain perennial favourites, and new games, such as scratch cards, keno, and virtual sports, are constantly being developed and improved. Not only that, online casinos are inherently more resilient to sudden shocks such as the pandemic lockdowns which forced many real-world establishments to close their doors to help stave off the worst effects of the COVID-19 health crisis.
Casino Tax Revenue in Canada
Despite the slightly grey legislative situation, there are still some online Canadian casinos and a great many brick and mortar establishments where people can bet in person. In 2019 the total revenues generated by the gaming industry in Canada exceeded $17bn. This includes indirect revenue generation that occurs as a bonus side effect from the casino industry, for sectors including retail, entertainment, and food and drink. On top of the business aspect, direct employment of over 182,000 people was due to the gaming industry in that year. The total value added GDP for the Canadian economy was $18.9bn, enabling governmental authorities that much more spending on vital public programmes including healthcare, education, and charitable works.
As mentioned above, Canadians are prolific bettors, and the rise of smartphones and online gaming has only increased the ease of access and popularity of casino games. Whether players like the latest slots or games that have been popular for years, such as blackjack and roulette, the internet, and smartphones especially, make them incredibly convenient to play. This does raise the question of why Canada has such a liberal approach to real-world betting yet is now lagging even the United States when it comes to online legislation.
In addition, Canada’s brick and mortar casinos contribute directly to provincial budgets. An independent review in 2018 estimated that a plan to crack down on so-called high roller betting could cost the budget of British Columbia alone as much as $47m. The other side of this coin is that if Canada finally rationalized its online and real-world approaches to betting and made private online casinos easier to access, revenues could increase substantially.
The popularity and high level of betting interest in Canada means that billions are wagered every single year, and brick and mortar casinos make a valuable contribution to local projects and provincial budgets through taxation generated. However, the grey area of online betting means there’s something of an anomaly and, if rectified, this could bolster Canadian coffers to the tunes of billions every year.