In April 2022, online gambling in Ontario became a regulated industry. Before that, it was something of a grey area, and many Ontarians indulged in the pastime by making use of sportsbooks and casinos based elsewhere. Now the scene has changed, and casino gaming fans will be able to play at sites that have been licensed to operate in Ontario by the province itself. In Ontario, being a fully registered and authorized operator in the iGaming market means the organization has successfully received a registration by the AGCO and has executed an operating agreement with iGO. In this article, we'll tell you all you need to know about the changes and highlight the best Ontario online casinos available under the new legal gambling rules.
Best Online Casinos in Ontario
We are continuously adding Ontario licensed casinos to the list below. Please check in soon for further updates.
All About Legal Gambling in Ontario
Licensed and regulated online gambling has been thriving worldwide in recent decades, but until April 2022 there were no operators that had been given specific permission to offer their services in Ontario. Most sensible online gaming fans who played with casinos based outside the province were careful to select venues that had been licensed to operate elsewhere, but not all players were that diligent. As a result, some were playing at completely unregulated casinos, which is a risky activity that rarely ends well for the players concerned.
Why the Gambling Situation Shifted in Ontario, CA
There are several reasons why the gambling situation shifted in Ontario, but one of the biggest was the concern for player safety. As we said a moment ago, some players in the province were less than careful about making sure that they only visited casinos that were genuinely trustworthy. It was recognized that introducing regulated online gambling could protect those players by making it easy for them to play at online casinos in Ontario that had been thoroughly vetted before being licensed by the province itself.
Another consideration that supported the regulation of online gambling in Ontario was money. The online gambling industry is massive, and those countries and states with regulated markets receive a great deal of money in the form of tax payments. While we aren't saying that this was the primary reason why gambling is now regulated in the province, we're confident that this revenue-raising potential had a big influence on the decision to make the shift.
What Is the Legal Gambling Age?
The legal gambling age in Canada varies in some places, but in Ontario and most other provinces, you need to be at least 19 years old to play at online casinos. Ontarians aged 18 or older may purchase lottery tickets, but 19 is the minimum legal age for all other activities involving online gambling in Ontario.
Are Winnings Taxable?
Unlike the US, where gambling winnings are subject to tax, Canada does not require individuals to pay tax on their winnings unless they are gambling for a living. This being the case, someone who is gambling to make a living, such as a professional poker player, might well have to pay tax on their profits. However, the average man or woman who wins big when playing an online casino game will be able to keep every cent of their win.
How Do Casinos Get Regulated in Ontario?
Obtaining a license to operate an online casino in Ontario isn't something that just any company can afford to rush into. The registration fee is currently $100,000 per site, per year, and this automatically dissuades all but the most serious operators from even considering applying.
Not every operator that applies for a license will get one. The whole point of having a regulated market is to ensure the quality and fairness of those casinos that receive licenses, so the regulator (the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, or AGCO) goes through each application carefully and looks at every aspect of the operation.
Areas investigated include the financial stability of the company, the verifiable fairness of the games being offered, the way in which the casino processes and stores player information, and more. Only if the regulator is completely satisfied that the casino excels in all of these areas will a license to operate be issued.
Of course, obtaining a license is just the beginning of a casino's relationship with AGCO, and the regulator will keep a close and constant eye on how the casino operates in the province. Should any casino fail to meet the high standards that are required from Ontario operators, its license can be revoked at any time. This means that players can have complete confidence in licensed operators, and can take the Ontario iGaming logo as an official seal of approval.
What Forms of Gambling Are Legal in Ontario?
The new system has made several forms of gambling legal in Ontario when they are offered by a properly licensed and regulated operator. In addition to online casino gaming, you can also participate in online sports betting. While sports betting was partially legal before this overhaul, the only bets that could be placed were parlays - bets concerning two or more results. The new rules allow bettors to place bets on single events, bringing the Ontarian sportsbook scene into line with those in North America and Europe.
Mobile betting and gaming are also legal, so you don't have to be tied to your desktop or laptop to enjoy those hobbies. You should note, however, that you actually need to be located in Ontario to place bets or play casino games, even when using a mobile device. Geolocation technology is used to determine exactly where you are at the time you launch a mobile app from a licensed and regulated operator, and if you aren't in Ontario it won't work. Once again, in Ontario, being a fully registered and authorized Operator in the iGaming market simply means that the organization has successfully received a registration by the AGCO and has executed an operating agreement with iGO.
The Benefits of Playing at a Regulated Casino in Ontario
There are numerous benefits that you get by playing at a regulated casino in Ontario. In this section, we'll summarize the main ones so that you understand exactly why it makes sense to play at sites that are owned and managed by properly licensed operators.
When you play at a licensed online casino you can be sure that your personal information will be handled and stored in a secure manner. Licensed casinos in Ontario will treat your data with the same kind of respect as the biggest online retailers, which means that you won’t have to worry about your information being accessed by unauthorized persons.
We all understand that playing online casino games involves losing as well as winning, but we should always expect to have a fair chance of winning no matter what game we play. The games at licensed casinos are independently audited and certified to prove that they are completely fair to players.
The best casino game providers in the world are very careful about which operators they work with. Playing at a licensed casino means that you’re likely to have access to games from some if not all of the main developers, such as NetEnt, Pragmatic Play, Microgaming and more.
Making a deposit to your online casino account should be at least as safe as paying for a purchase from a respected online retailer. Properly licensed and regulated casinos offer a number of reputable payment methods. They also employ the latest encryption technology to protect all of your financial transactions and keep your data, such as credit card numbers, secure.
Wherever you see the iGaming Ontario logo you can be assured that the site is regulated and legal, offering player protection and meeting Ontario’s high standards regarding game integrity and responsible gambling.
The best casinos are carefully designed to make using them as easy and intuitive as possible, but they also make it just as easy to get help whenever you need it. Licensed casinos provide the highest levels of customer service, with many operators having a support team available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Which Online Casino Games Are Available for Ontario Players?
The range of games that you can play at licensed and regulated Ontario online casinos is vast. In fact, we can't think of any casino games that aren't now available to be enjoyed in the province. Here are just some of the main games you can look forward to playing when you sign up with a licensed venue.
- Slots: The most popular online casino games of all are slots. These work just like their offline ancestors, so simply spin the reels and if you get a set of matching symbols on a pay line you'll win a prize.
- Blackjack: The aim of this traditional card game is to try and beat the dealer by getting a hand as close to 21 as possible, but without exceeding that total. If you get closer than the dealer, you win.
- Roulette: Here you bet on what number will be declared the winner when the horizontal roulette wheel stops spinning. The winning number is determined by a small metal ball that is rolled around the wheel in the opposite direction to the spin.
- Video Poker: This game will deal you five cards. Discard or keep as many as you want and the discarded ones will be replaced. If the five cards you are left with give you a winning hand, you'll win a prize reflecting the strength of that hand.
- Other Table Games: You can play Sic Bo, Three Card Poker, Craps and many other table games at online casinos in Ontario. While many table games are quite traditional, having been around for years, developers are constantly thinking up new ones such as Dragon Tiger and Bac Bo.
- Live Casino: For the ultimate in realism, you can play Live Casino games. These are run by professional human dealers using physical game equipment, and the game is streamed live by video to your screen.
How to Recognise a Legal Casino Site in Canada
Having seen the benefits of playing at legal Ontario casinos, you are probably wondering how you can tell if a site is legally licensed or not. Fortunately, the regulators have made this easy by providing licensed and regulated operators with an iGaming Ontario logo to display on their sites. If you see that logo then you can be confident that the casino is legal. You should also find the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation mentioned in the small print at the footer of the casino home page.
Responsible Gambling in Ontario
The regulation of the online gambling market in Ontario is something that everyone welcomes, and it has changed the regulatory landscape in Canada forever. Even so, it is still important for players to enjoy their hobby in a safe and controlled way.
Visit the iGaming Ontario website and you'll find a whole page dedicated to Responsible Gambling and why it's important. You'll also see that iGaming Ontario requires operators licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to promote responsible gaming on their own sites.
As far as you are a player are concerned, you can expect licensed operators to provide information, self-help tools that let you set your own gaming limits, and links to third-party organizations that can offer further support where needed.
The Future of Gambling in Ontario
Now that online gaming in Ontario is legal and regulated, we can expect the province to become a serious player in the industry. Some have speculated that the gambling market here could be second only to the US market, and if those predictions are accurate it will be good news for everyone concerned. Players will have a growing choice of safe and reliable casinos to visit, and the province itself will receive a nice share of the billions in revenue that operators are estimated to generate over the first few years. It looks set to be a win-win situation for everyone concerned, and we will enjoy seeing how it all unfolds, so make sure you keep yourself updated by reading our casino news section.
To make sure that you are making better and safer choices when gambling online, visit iGaming Ontario, which has worked with AGCO to better protect players' online gambling experience. The site lists regulated casino operators which have been fully registered and approved in Ontario, CA.