Online gambling in Canada was around long before Ontario decided to legalize it.
You could choose between the Crown companies or offshore operators. Offshore operators, aka grey market gaming sites, can seem tempting because they sometimes offer better odds and have a broader casino gaming portfolio.
With the legal Ontario online casino and sports betting market only 7 weeks old, the chances are that some Ontario gamblers may not know the difference.
To help you better understand, PlayCanada breaks down which gaming sites in Ontario are legal and regulated or are about to be.
Group 1: 100% legal Ontario gaming sites
The first step an operator must take to enter the province’s online gambling market is to receive a operator permit from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The next step is to sign a commercial agreement with its subsidiary, iGaming Ontario.
The following Ontario sportsbooks and casino operators already went through that process, completed the registration and can 100% legally offer services and products in the Canadian province:
- NorthStar Bets
- theScore Bet
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Proline is already legal.
A handful of previous grey market operators are now operating on the legal side of the road. They are:
- 888 Casino
- Party Casino
- Royal Panda
So, players who used to gamble with any of these operators may continue to do so, as these options are perfectly legit in Ontario.
Group 2: Gaming sites working on licensing
The operators in this group are halfway through entering the market. The following operators already received their AGCO registration and are now waiting to sign a commercial agreement with iGO:
- Fire Vegas
- Gate 777
- Hello Casino
- Jackpot Village
- Play Fallsview
- SkillOnNet’s SlotsMagic and SpinGenie
It’s only a matter of days (or weeks or months) when they will enter the market and offer their gaming services to Ontarian bettors. And once they do, Ontarian online gaming enthusiasts will be able to place sports bets with them and enjoy their online casino games safely and legally.
Group 3: 100% unsafe, illegal gaming sites
Every operator that is not listed above is currently illegal in Ontario. However, things change daily, and we can expect more operators to apply for registration with AGCO and iGO. At least for now, if you hear or see any of these names (alongside many others), you should know they are still not legally operating in the province:
- Casino Days
- Hell Spin
- ICE Casino
- Ruby Fortune
- SIA Casino
- Rolling Slots
You might see some of these names in ads or know of them, but you should know these are not recommended gaming options. It would be best to choose any of the operators listed in Group 1.
When it comes to other Canadian provinces, these sites aren’t officially legal there, but they aren’t entirely illegal. It’s risky to use them, but players won’t get in legal trouble for doing so. And the only reason why Ontarians can still access grey market operators’ .com version of the website is that Canada is not listed as a restricted country in terms and conditions.
Another previous grey market operator, N1 Casino, targeted Canadian players and offered generous promotions made for Canadians. But they are nowhere to be found.
Although such companies may apply for a license in the future, they are currently not legal.
Group 4: Hurry up and wait with these operators
These brands are expected to launch in Canada; however, they haven’t applied for or received their AGCO registration:
- Spin Casino
PokerStars hired dozens of candidates during the past year and is expected to enter Ontario with its PokerStars Casino app. Yet, there’s no sign of them.
Which Ontario gaming sites are legit
The best advice is to look for the iGO seal on the casino’s website. That’s the best indicator that proves the casino is fully registered and approved in Ontario.
If you are looking for a new online casino destination, don’t search for “Canada’s best online casinos,” as you would likely see a list of operators that aren’t legal.
Apart from PlayCanada’s list of regulated gambling operators, the iGO’s list shows which companies are approved in Ontario, including the latest names that joined the market.
What’s vital to understand is that offshore casinos and sportsbooks operate outside the law and have no legal obligations. And, if anything goes wrong with your money or accounts, there isn’t a lawful source to help.
That’s why it’s in players’ best interest to avoid risky places, especially now with all the legal options listed above.