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Montreal online gaming scene in 2020—An analysis


When you ask many lawyers, online gaming scene in Montreal is a “grey area.” That means there’s no explicit law that allows or bans the industry. It also means there’s room for casinos to exist now that Canada doesn’t prohibit the sector.

For clarity, land-based casinos are regulated by provinces, so there’s no ambiguity on opening a brick and mortar casino in Montreal. The problem comes from online gambling—foreign operators from Malta, Britain, Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Curacao.

To provide a helpful analysis of gaming in Montreal, the issue is best viewed from the perspective of offshore casinos that accept Canadians. Sounds good? Here we go.

Nothing criminal in gambling online

According to Toronto-based lawyer Dickinson Wright, foreign casinos are within their rights when they welcome Canadian customers. Similarly, Canucks do nothing criminal when they gamble online. And that all boils down to the country’s legal greyness.

“As far as I’m concerned, you as a player aren’t committing any criminal offense being in a position where you are engaged with an offshore,” Wright told CBC Canada.

Against that backdrop, Montreal’s casino players have nothing to worry about when they play slots, poker or blackjack online. If they were breaking the law, at least one person would have been arrested by now. But that’s not the case.

Provincial jurisdictions have a say

All Canadians can gamble online at offshore casinos. But locally, they can’t bet on sports through websites located outside of their provinces. Surprised? Most provinces don’t have inter-jurisdiction agreements.

And that means bettors from Montreal can only play at Quebec-based betting websites. Punters from Manitoba, British Columbia and Nova Scotia are also limited to their respective jurisdictions. But players from Saskatchewan don’t have any local betting sites.

In case you’re wondering, some provinces also allow casino games and lotteries. For example, B.C. provides lotto games, poker, and most casino games at a select number of apps and websites.

Always a click away

With so many casino options, online gambling for many Canucks is a click away. They can use websites based in Alderney, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Curacao, Malta, or Costa Rica. And with all these operators: the qualifications are simple.

Create a free account using your email address and name. Add some funds through credit cards, wire transfer, e-wallets, and play hundreds of games. The best quality casinos in Canada provide a diverse range of top-rated slots and table games.

That way, you have 200+ slots from renowned developers like Playtech, BTG, NetEnt, Microgaming and Playn’ G.O. And you have 50+ table options, including live casino games.

Crucially, online casinos in Canada are also mobile responsive. As such, Canadians can use their iPhones, iPads and Android devices to play casino games too. In many cases, operators provide their games through mobile-friendly sites or native apps.

KGC works with offshore casinos

Located a few miles south of Montreal, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the biggest casino regulator in Canada. It’s also the go-to commission for offshore casinos that want to set up servers in the country.

From a legal standpoint, the KGC has the authority to provide online gaming services in Canada unfettered. And that means it can license and oversee the operations of casinos. However, some lawyers believe the KGC could be confronted in a court for doing what they believe is illegal.

The thing is, Canadian laws don’t have a provision for licensing online casinos. But in many ways, the KGC welcomes and allows offshore casinos to operate smoothly by locating their servers in its property.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), though, investigating the KGC is not a priority. Instead, their focus lies in preventing terrorism, bike gangs, drugs and all forms of robbery.

 Additionally, the fact that Canadian provinces are gradually investing in online gaming means there will be less scrutiny on casino sites. However, that could change should the government get interested in tapping on legal online gambling’s tax benefits.

Casino developers in Canada

When you think about it, Canada is home to a handful of well-known online casino game developers. Take Amaya Gaming as an example. Based in Toronto, this behemoth of a company bought Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker in a deal worth $4.9 billion in 2014.

Amaya Gaming also supplies 50+ slots to dozens of casinos worldwide. Some of its best-rated games can also be played in Canada: Athena, Action Heroes, Cash Grab 2, Mad Monkey, Platinum Pyramid, and Wild West.

Amaya aside, there are more developers in Canada. They include IGT, Novomatic, NetEnt, Microgaming, Betsoft and Ash Gaming. These companies only supply games to casinos operating where online gaming is supported.

Banking companies support it

In Canada, casino players have a wealth of options when it comes to deposits and withdrawals. From wire transfers and credit cards to e-wallets and virtual currencies, funding gaming accounts are not among players’ problems.

For clarity, the specific banking options vary from one casino to the other. Some operators allow PayPal, Skrill, Bitcoin and bank payments. Others allow Skrill but won’t accept PayPal or Bitcoin.

Operators also defer in payments and fees. Although many websites allow deposits starting $10 and $10,000, you could face different limits. For these reasons, experts advise Canucks to choose casinos cautiously.

No Taxation

As we mentioned earlier, Canada doesn’t tax offshore casinos or its players. That means whatever you win playing slots is yours to keep. A case in point is the lucky player who won $7.5 million playing a progressive jackpot in 2015.

Although he created a buzz countrywide, authorities allowed him to keep all of his money. With that in mind, Canada is one of the best players to be a casino player. You don’t pay taxes on your wins even though you have access to the best of online gaming.

That includes bonuses like free spins, loyalty programs and deposit-based credits. All you need is to find an operator that gives out these rewards, and you’ll get them.

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