Sweepstakes and social casinos offer an alternative way to play casino games such as slots online legally in Canada. They offer two ways of playing, with two virtual currencies in action.
Brands like Chumba Casino and Global Poker legally welcome Canadian players (except from Quebec). You can play slots, table games and video poker via your desktop computer or smartphone. Thanks to various welcome bonuses, you can get your social/sweepstakes casino bankroll off to a quick start.
This page explains how social/sweepstakes casinos work and how to legally enjoy them from Canada. We go over how the dual currency model works, how to get FREE premium chips and the best casino games to enjoy.
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What is a sweepstake and social casino?
From the perspective of the player, social casinos are similar to any regular online casino. Loading up the sites or casino game apps will display a range of colourful slots and casino games. Many slots have familiar themes like ancient Egypt. The key difference between a social/sweepstakes casino and a standard online casino is the way that money works behind the scenes.
These brands turn each game into a miniature sweepstakes contest. Since they cannot directly charge you to enter them, they employ a dual currency model. You purchase chips that are strictly for entertainment only (play money chips). The casinos then give you FREE premium chips. You enter contests that have a chance at real prizes with your premium chips. A contest could be spinning a slot or playing a hand of blackjack.
This workaround uses laws that were designed for marketing. Since you are not directly gambling, you are not breaking any Canadian laws, either at the provincial or federal level. The only exception to this is Québec, where sweepstakes casinos are not allowed.
Many players enjoy the games at Ontario online sweepstakes casinos for fun. Your play-money account will be regularly topped up. There are social aspects too — including leader board contests, challenges and social media tie-ins. If you play the premium games, big prizes — and even progressive jackpots — are available to win. This adds a new dimension to your casino gaming in Canada.
Are social/sweepstakes casinos legal in Canada?
Yes, these sweepstake sites are legal everywhere in Canada except for Québec, even with pre-internet federal gambling laws. The key factor keeping these sites legal is that no purchase is necessary. Some brands give you FREE premium chips to enter real money contests simply for registering. All of them give you extra chips for sending a written request in the mail.
You cannot “purchase” premium chips at all. Instead, you receive them “for FREE” when you purchase the play-money chips. Add to this the Canadian definition of a “gambling house” being the object of the old legal restrictions — and you are covered in multiple ways.
While risks are small, there is always the chance that social/sweepstakes casinos will be banned by individual provinces, much like Québec already does. The brands featured here are the biggest and best-known operators. In the event that they had to leave your province, we are confident you would be able to withdraw any cash in your account.
Best Ontario online sweepstakes and social casinos
New brands have appeared in the social/sweepstakes casino space on a regular basis. Several bigger brands currently dominate the scene. All of them are based in North America, with physical addresses and customer service available. Here is an overview of each brand, covering their games and welcome bonuses.
New players at Chumba Casino receive a bonus of 2,000,000 Gold Coins (the play-money currency) and 2 FREE Sweeps Coins (the premium currency). Make your first purchase of $10, and you can receive 10,000,000 Gold Coins and 30 FREE Sweeps Coins. Chumba is one of the original social casinos. It offers 60+ games. Most of these are slots, with blackjack, roulette, and video poker also available.
With Global Poker, there is a different type of game or event for each type of player. Given its poker roots, Global Poker offers a weekly no-limit Hold’em tournament with a sizeable prize pool. This stands out, as GP’s poker offerings are more expansive and advanced than its peers. Players can also earn gold coins for joining, and they are available for purchase.
In addition to its online casino that operates in Ontario, BetRivers also offers a ‘Casino4Fun‘ version. Here, players can try more than 200 types of games: table games, slots, blackjack, video poker and keno are all included. The games on BetRivers can be played for virtual credits, also known as VCs. There are fun promotions on a daily basis, and it’s a pressure-free way to play various types of casino games.
What games are available at social/sweepstakes casino sites?
There are many types of online games offered at social/sweepstakes casinos. Here are some of the most popular options:
Slots make up the majority of games at sweepstakes sites. Within these slots, you will find all types of games offering a variety of stakes. You get to choose whether to play with play-money chips or with whatever premium currency the site uses.
Many of the slots will have a set number of win lines, while others might offer the all-ways winning system. Check out the range of bonus features among the games, including free spins, a spin of a bonus wheel or a second screen bonus game. Many of the slots offer progressive jackpots across both the fun and the premium versions of the game. The size of these jackpots can look incredible when playing for free coins (some of these jackpots can run into millions). Potentially life-changing jackpot wins are possible when playing for premium chips/coins.
The slots are very playable and feature impressive graphics — some are every bit as creative and lively as slots you will find in live casinos around Canada. That said, you will not find any licensed games that are linked to TV shows, movies or celebrities. Classic live casino slots are mimicked, though, in general, these are custom games and not licensed from WMS or IGT or other big game slot makers.
Overall, the range of games is usually on the smaller side compared to larger online casino brands. Social casino sites offer a ballpark range of 50 games each — compared to the hundreds or even thousands of games available elsewhere.
Table games and video poker
Alongside online slot games, there are a small number of other casino games to play. The best site for other games is Chumba Casino, where you can enjoy several traditional table games. Standard blackjack and Back Blackjack are available — both for fun and with real prizes at stake. American roulette is the game for you if you enjoy the thrill of the wheel.
Jacks or Better video poker is another enjoyable alternative. This is a video poker standard where a large prize is yours if you manage to hit a royal flush.
Social Casino Offers & FREE Sweeps Coins
The best available bonuses and promotions at social/sweepstakes casinos require you to make a small purchase. To stay legal, social casinos will offer you ways to get free chips. These deals generally offer a small number of premium chips for registering, sharing on social media or completing contests. Note that you can also send a letter with your account details on to receive extra premium chips.
Whenever you make a purchase of Gold Coins (or whichever play-money currency is at use on the site) you will receive premium chips. All the casinos boost the number of premium chips you get for your first deposit, adding 100% to 200%. Keep in mind that you need to play with these chips; you can’t withdraw them without completing a wagering requirement.
You will see special offers that grant you extra free chips for making bigger deposits. They climb from $5 to around $200 — depending on the brand.
A good way of keeping up to date with the latest promotions (and for some exclusive promotions) is to follow the casino pages on social media. You will get invitations to exclusive competitions to win both free and premium currencies — as well as regular updates on which of the games are offering the largest progressive jackpots.
Other common promotions at social/sweepstakes casinos include leaderboards and tournaments. They have prize pools and add to the social/entertainment aspect of the sweepstakes gambling model.
How to access social/sweepstakes casinos online in Canada
Social casinos use responsive website design. This makes them accessible on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. In most cases, the gaming takes place within the browser. The slots and casino games will automatically adjust to your screen size. They are optimized for smartphone screens, either iOS or Android.
Signing up at social/sweepstakes casinos is simple. If you have a Facebook account, then you can use that when registering. Remember to use the correct date of birth and name details — if you need to withdraw your winnings, backup ID documents may be necessary.
How do I deposit money into a social/sweepstakes casino?
The banking methods you can use to make a purchase at social casinos vary from site to site. Here are the three main methods you can use that are widely accepted:
- Credit and debit cards: You can make a purchase using either Visa or Mastercard. Simply enter all the details on the card and the amount you want to purchase. Both the currencies will hit your account immediately.
- Skrill: This service is similar to PayPal and an ideal deposit method if you like a “middle man” between your banking and casino site. Load money onto Skrill, use this account as your casino account, and then load funds onto sites such as Chumba Casino and B Spot.
- Bank transfer: The final method to make a deposit is to make a transfer direct from your bank. Contact the casino to find out how to make a deposit this way.
Redemptions can’t be processed back to your cards. The standard withdrawal method is a local bank transfer direct to your account. Note that these sites have a minimum withdrawal amount, so you may need to spin your real money balance to $50, $100 or more before you can withdraw.
Wrapping up — Social/sweepstakes casinos in Canada
Social casinos are an ideal way to enjoy legal casino games online in Canada.
These brands use dual currency systems. By not selling you chips directly, sites like Chumba can stay legal — working as sweepstakes contest sites and not casinos. There are plenty of enjoyable slots — plus a limited selection of casino table games, video poker and keno. Many of the slots will feel familiar.
With regular competitions, leaderboards and tournaments, there is a social aspect to these sites. You can get FREE premium chips and a big boost to the play-money chips you receive with your first purchase.