It is impossible to ignore the meteoric rise of internet gambling over the past decade, with some estimates suggesting that around 20% of the global population now participate in some form of gambling on a semi-regular basis. In Canada, the majority of so-called gambling relates to scratch cards and lottery, but many citizens also use casino sites to play slot machines and other chance-based games.
The legality of online gambling in Canada is somewhat opaque, which can raise some security concerns for participants. Canadians have a choice between using a state-sanctioned site, if they live in a province where this is an option, or accessing offshore providers who operate in a legal grey area. It is very important that players use only a trusted online casino Canada, which also includes many of the foreign sites – find listings for the most trusted online casino Canada here.
Safety and legality of online gambling in Canada
Canadians who choose to gamble offshore take on a certain amount of risk, but none of it relates to legality. No citizen has ever been prosecuted for using an overseas site, and these operators are free to offer their services to anyone of age who wishes to play. The numbers speak for themselves – Canadians spend around $14 billion every year gambling and betting at private online casino sites based in other countries.
Despite the legal grey area, many of these casinos are in fact completely safe. Most of the sites that target the Canadian market also operate in other regulated jurisdictions, and are required to comply with high standards imposed by various licensing bodies. These standards relate to everything from digital security through to fair play and responsible gambling.
So, why not just use a state-sanctioned casino site? For some Canadians, this is still not an option. Many others prefer the overseas sites because they offer a wider choice of games with better payouts and promotions. Whatever the reason for choosing an offshore casino, it becomes the responsibility of the player to make sure that they are protected.
How to choose a safe online gambling site
If something goes wrong playing at a site based overseas, then the laws of the land cannot help. This situation can be avoided by choosing a safe site. The easiest way to do this is to check the licensing, which is always clearly displayed in the footer of any legitimate online casino or sportsbook.
Find a site with a license from a trusted jurisdiction, for example the Malta Gaming Authority, and it acts as a guarantee of player protection. Users can be sure that these casinos provide fair games that are not rigged, that all personal and financial data is safe and encrypted, and that the operator will honour payouts in a timely manner. If a casino site does not have a valid license, it must be avoided at all costs.
Responsible gambling and addiction
Despite the rise in the number of online casino users, studies show that problem gambling in Canada has actually decreased since 2002. Some observers suggest that this is due in part to a general adaptation to the increased access to casino sites, but the operators and regulators have also played their part.
Responsible gambling measures have been strengthened considerably in recent years, and all good casinos have them in place. This includes on-site tools to help players moderate their gambling habits, as well as access to support organizations. Casinos must also be transparent, meaning that game payout rates are easily available and promotional offers are not misleading.