Canada Casinos and Legal Gambling

Canadian casino fans have the best of all worlds. There are luxurious live casinos in every province, plus a choice of the best casino apps and websites. With 1000’s of online slot games, table games, live dealer options, keno, and video poker, there are plenty of opportunities to find the perfect mix of games for you.

That big choice of brands gives players at real money online casinos in Canada an advantage. You get to pick from the biggest and best casino bonuses. They include no deposit offers, free spins, matched welcome bonuses, and loyalty reward schemes.

This page simplifies the complex world of Canadian casino gambling. Both live casinos and online gaming are covered below. You will discover where to find the best casinos, biggest bonuses, and what kinds of games there are to enjoy.

Is online casino gambling legal in Canada?

Casinos are legal in Canada. Most provinces require you to be 19+ to play, with Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec allowing gambling at 18+. Online casinos have an extra requirement — they cannot legally be based in Canada.

Some provinces have their own online gambling portals that offer casino games.

Download casino apps or play no download casinos

Real money casino games can be accessed on phones, tablets, or desktops. Some brands provide all their games via a browser window, using HTML 5 with a responsive design that adjusts to your screen size.

You will also find casinos with mobile apps specially produced for either Apple or Android mobile devices.

For mobile gaming, it is worth comparing the pros and cons of apps and no download games. A big advantage of apps is that you will be sure that the games are optimized for smaller screens and touch input. While most browser games will adjust, the detail of the layout can be hit or miss, especially for older games that were not created with mobile play in mind.

Load times are faster with apps, and in many cases, the gameplay will appear smoother.

The key drawback is a smaller choice of games. While the full website versions of online casinos can have up to 1000 games, apps sometimes have as few as 50. Certain types of games work perfectly on smartphones. Examples are slots, video poker, and scratch cards. Other types of games — for example, live dealer casinos — are better on a tablet, laptop, or desktop than on the smallest screens.

Bonuses at real money casinos in Canada

You do not need to spend a fortune to get a bonus from an online casino in Canada. In fact, you can get cash with zero money down via no deposit casino bonuses. Others have a big bonus package for just a minimum deposit, including free spins or free chips to try out different areas of their site.

No deposit bonuses give you the opportunity to check out the games — and even win money — without any risk. These offers are small amounts — not enough to be meaningful stakes to many players. To get a bigger bonus, you need to make a deposit.

Online casinos will match your first deposit with bonus credits. The amounts can get big, with some brands offering up to $1000, or smaller amounts over multiple deposits. You need to turn your bonus credits into real cash by meeting the playthrough requirement specified in the terms and conditions at each casino. This can get complicated by weightings and game exclusions — see the section below for more on this.

Other types of bonuses include no-lose offers. Here, any losses from your first day are returned in bonus credits up to a specified amount. You can find deals that give you free chips or refunds to try out mobile casinos or live dealer casino rooms too.

Loyalty schemes and ongoing promotions are a lot more important than many players believe. Those welcome offers are a great way to kickstart your bankroll. Over time, loyalty rewards reloads, and regular promotions will have a far bigger impact on your balance.

How to compare casino bonus offers

When you first compare the bonuses, two offers saying ‘100% match to $500’ look identical. When you check the terms and conditions, you might find that they are completely different.

The key factor is the number of times you need to bet your bonus before it becomes real money that can be withdrawn. This is known as your ‘playthrough’ or ‘wagering’ requirement. It can be expressed in two formats. First, as a multiple of the bonus amount and second, as a multiple of the bonus amount plus the amount that you deposited. Typical ranges are anything from 20x and up.

To complicate things a little, casinos apply weightings to their games. If a game is weighted at 10%, it means that only $1 of every $10 bet counts towards your bonus playthrough. Slots, Keno games, and scratch cards have the highest (100%) ratings. Table games and some video poker are in the middle, with some lower house edge games completely excluded.

Other terms to check for include how much time you have to claim and clear your bonus. Casinos will void bonuses for things like covering all the numbers on roulette or betting both player and banker in baccarat.

Real money casino games

Game options explode when you visit online casinos. Even the biggest live casinos in Canada can only offer a few dozen gaming tables. This means only the most popular games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat are spread, along with some casino poker variations. The 1000 slots at the bigger casinos give you a mix of retro (reel slots) and multimedia games to choose from.

Online casinos curate their games from multiple software houses. The online brands compete with those from live casinos that are rapidly moving their games online. The types of games you can find at online casinos are covered below; after that, you will find an overview of the biggest software providers.

  • Online casino games: With no dealers needed, there are hundreds of casino games available at online casinos. Popular formats like blackjack and roulette have multiple variations. You will find games with side bets, different rules, and single/multi-hand (or wheel) variations. Casinos also mix things up; examples include free bet blackjack, blackjack switch, or French roulette. Add in casino poker variants, baccarat, craps, casino war, and pai gow poker.
  • Live dealer table games: You can gamble on casino table games that are happening in real-time at online casinos. Options include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, casino poker games (UTH, Three Card Poker, or Casino Hold’em are popular), and wheel spin-style games. The big plus of these games is the social/real casino feel. You can interact with the dealers and other players. Keep in mind that minimum stakes are higher and that your hand will be folded if you disconnect during play.
  • Online slots: There are thousands of online slots to choose from, with new titles added every week. You can play slots found in live casinos online. These are joined by games produced with online casinos in mind. The range of games includes online versions of traditional (three-reel) slots, simple video slots, and games with complex bonus features. Look out for online slots that use well-known brands from TV, movies, and musicians. Many online slots have jackpots — some of the biggest progressive prizes reach life-changing money levels.
  • Video poker: This traditional game works well at mobile casinos. You will find all the regular formats, including Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Joker Poker. There are multi-hand games, bonus poker-style-pay tables, and ultimate x style bonus games available. Online casinos have innovated around the theme, creating titles with second chances, break out bonus games, and video poker games based on poker formats other than ‘draw’.
  • Other casino games: Many new casino games do not fit neatly into the categories above. There are keno and bingo variants — often with entertaining themes. You will find wheel spin game, scratch cards, novelty games based on game shows, virtual betting games, and hybrid games which mix the qualities of bingo and slots.

Casino game producers

You can play games from the biggest live game providers at real money online casinos. There is a separate list of games from online gaming specialists — some of which have been providing online casino platforms and games for over 20 years.

Here are the most popular software houses, along with highlights of their games:

  • Microgaming: This online casino software giant produced the first online casino games, as early as 1996. Their portfolio now includes 100’s of slots and table games. Titles including Thunderstruck II and Mega Moolah are hugely popular.
  • Playtech: Another online-only games provider, Playtech is behind the popular ‘Age of the Gods’ range of slots. It has many more options, and also runs sports betting and poker software. Games to check out include Jackpot Giant and Pink Panther.
  • NetEnt: Mobile casino slots include games with band tie-ins like Guns N’ Roses and Jimi Hendrix. Check out StarBurst, Gonzo’s Quest, and the entertaining Invisible Man range. This online game producer also creates virtual casino table games.
  • IGT: You will find many of the most popular live casino slots from IGT have made it online. They include Wheel of Fortune games, Cleopatra slots, and Wolf Run. Online, IGT links slots into the ‘MegaJackpots’ range. You can win a huge progressive jackpot on any of these games.
  • Aristocrat: This company is behind the famous Buffalo slot games, which can be enjoyed in Canadian live casinos. They also produce Walking Dead-themed games and the Lightning Link/Dragon Link slots. Only the original Buffalo is available online. You will find a list of classic Aristocrat games at online casinos in Canada, including Choy Sun Dao and Big Red.
  • Konami: It produces quirky slots, which often have high volatility, including Dragon’s Law and China Shores. Konami continually innovates, creating games with amazing graphics and animations for both live and online casinos. Branded games include Silent Hill and Dungeons and Dragons slots.
  • Bally: This slots studio is best known for their ‘Quick Hits’ range, which are now available online. There are 100’s more options, including Dragon Spin, Hot Shot Progressives, and Sumo Kitty.
  • WMS: Non-standard reel setups, and polished gems that look like playing card suits, help WMS slots stand out on the casino floor. Popular titles include the Lock it Link range, Goldfish, Planet Moolah, and Bier Haus slots. Check out games that have 100 win-lines split over two reels sets, including Lil’ Red, in the ‘colossal reels’ setup.
  • Barcrest: This slot producer created the popular ‘Rainbow Riches’ games. It has joined Bally and WMS as part of the Scientific Games company. Barcrest created the ‘high roller spins’ idea, where you bet extra for five spins with added benefits. Other titles include Ooh Aah Dracula.
  • Scientific Games: This casino game giant rivals IGT in size. It owns the three brands covered above and releases slots under its own name too. SG is behind the amazing range of James Bond and Invaders from the Planet Moolah. Under ‘SG Interactive’ it brings games from Bally, WMS, and Barcrest to online casinos.

Progressive jackpots at casinos in Canada

There are big progressives in both live and online casinos. Live casino jackpots include province-wide progressives, as well as those linked between different slots in a casino. Online slot jackpots have the advantage of scale. Many casinos using the same software can participate. This means that pools can grow rapidly.

The biggest progressives at Canadian online casinos come from NetEnt and MicroGaming slots. Titles including Mega Riches (NetEnt), Mega Moolah and Wheel of Wishes (MicroGaming), and Jackpot Giant (Playtech) have multi-million-dollar prizes. The biggest jackpot won online was over 18 million Euros.

Live slot providers have jackpots online. For example, IGT has its linked ‘MegaJackpots’ slots. It adds this progressive to its best games — including Cleopatra, Siberian Storm, and Cluedo — giving you the chance to win a multi-million prize on any title.

With hundreds of smaller prizes — many of them four- or five-figures, there are plenty of ways to get lucky at real money online casinos in Canada.

Live casinos in Canada

There are live casinos throughout Canada, with the more populated provinces having a lot of options. Licensing and control of casinos is at the provincial level. There are small differences; for example in the minimum age for gambling and responsible gambling policy. There are also loyalty reward schemes and jackpot pools that are shared between live casinos in a province.

Venues range from luxury resorts with hotels, entertainment complexes, and racetracks to smaller tribal casinos.

Here is a quick overview of what is on offer for live casino fans, broken down by province:

  • Alberta live casinos: You will find 25 casinos and bingo halls in Alberta. They vary in size from the huge River Cree Resort to smaller tribal casinos. There are more than 10,000 slots, VLTs, almost 400 gaming tables, and sports betting (Sport Select) options available. Alberta casinos share province-wide progressive jackpots. There is also a loyalty scheme that works in all casinos in AB. Some casinos run the ‘Winners Edge’ scheme in parallel with their own loyalty rewards program.
  • British Columbia casinos: BC has its own online gambling portal, as well as 36 live gambling venues. There are more than 13,000 slots, 550 table games, plus VLTs, poker rooms, and OTB offices in British Columbia. They are under the jurisdiction of the BC Lottery Commission. The biggest live casinos are the Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby, River Rock in Richmond, and Cascades Casino Resort in Langley. You will also find five horse racing tracks in BC.
  • Ontario casinos: You will find more casinos in ON than in any other province. There are more than 31,000 slots and almost 1000 table games spread over 71 casinos and OTB offices. Big resorts are located in the Niagara Falls area, including the giant Fallsview Casino Resort. Woodbine Racetrack has a huge casino with 3,000 slots, and Caesars Windsor is popular with Detroit residents, as well as locals. Add to this list 15 poker rooms, 70 OTB offices and racetracks, and you have more opportunities to gamble than anywhere else in Canada.
  • Québec casinos: There are only ten live casinos in Québec. What they lack in numbers, they make up for in quality, with the world-famous Casino Montreal top of the list. This casino hosts 3,000 slots, 115 table games, and a poker room. Poker fans have a choice of the big resorts or dedicated poker rooms (which also have small slot selections), such as the Playground Poker Club or Poker Palace. The Quebec Alcohol, Racing and Gaming Commission oversees gambling in this province.
  • Manitoba casinos: There are ten casinos in Manitoba. You will find almost 3,000 slots between them, along with 53 table games. The biggest venue is in Winnipeg. This is the Club Regent Casino, which hosts a poker room and Bingo. Unusually, this venue is owned by the province, via the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation. Many of the casinos in northern MB are smaller tribal venues, with 200 or fewer slots and limited opening hours.
  • New Brunswick casinos: There are six casinos in this province. Only a single city (Fredericton) breaks into double figures. These casinos are small and have limited opening hours. There are also opportunities to bet via pari-mutuel pools at OTB offices. Poker fans will only find one room in NB, though, with only five tables in the entire province and cannot expect too much in the way of action. The single biggest casino is the Casino New Brunswick in Moncton. This venue has more than 600 slots and 20 table games.
  • Nova Scotia casinos: Only three casinos in NS have slots or table games. The remaining eight venues offer bingo, OTB services, and entertainment only. This province has 774 slots and 40 table games in total. The largest casino is located in Halifax. This is the Casino Nova Scotia Halifax. It has 500+ slot machines, 32 casino table games, and a poker room with eight tables. The only other casino of any size is in Sydney; this Casino Nova Scotia location has 272 slots, eight tables and a small (four-table) poker room.
  • Saskatchewan casinos: Gambling takes place at nine venues in SK. There are eight casinos, plus the horse racing track at Marquis Downs. There are almost 3500 slots around this province, with just 76 casino table games. Poker fans will find small, dedicated rooms in six different casinos. The biggest casino venue in Saskatchewan is the Casino Regina, which hosts more than 1000 slots and 30 table games.
  • PEI casinos: There are two casinos and three bingo halls on Prince Edward Island. With only four table games available, your best bet for gambling is to hit the slots. The biggest venue is the Red Shoes Racetrack and Casino in Charlottetown. This has 200 slots, those four table games, and horse racing bets, both live and via simulcast.

The biggest and best online casino brands combine with a huge choice of live gambling opportunities in Canada. This gives Canadians more choice than almost any country — especially when you compare the options with those in the US.

Online casinos are legal, as long as they are not based in Canada. You will find a huge collection of slots, table games (including live dealer options), and Keno online. Generous matched welcome bonuses can help get your bankroll off to a flying start.

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