Online bingo in Canada is legal thanks to a government that doesn’t place gambling high on its list of priorities. Hundreds of gambling sites from around the world accept Canadians and dozens of these sites offer real money bingo. In some cases, you can even deposit in Canadian dollars and withdraw your winnings straight to your bank account.
Canadian law prohibits bingo sites from operating within the country, but there are no laws against offshore sites. Most of the major UK and European brands accept Canadians and have been doing so for years. What this means for you is all the biggest and best bingo websites of the world are just a few clicks of the mouse away.
Best Bingo Sites for Canadians
Below are my top picks for online bingo in Canada. Together, these sites serve millions of customers from around the world. They offer legitimate bonuses, high quality software, large jackpots and busy bingo rooms. These are the websites you should consider first:
Finding a legitimate place to play bingo isn’t difficult if you know where to look. In my experience, the sites based out of the UK and Europe tend to offer the best all-around experience. The reason this is so is because those jurisdictions have strict licensing requirements.
If you look at all the most trusted names in gambling, they tend to be licensed in the UK or one of its whitelisted jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Alderney and the Isle of Man. These are not your typical jurisdictions that seem to hand out licenses like candy. It is a rigorous and expensive process to get a license from one of these locations.
How to Deposit
Play-money bingo is only exciting for so long. Eventually you’re going to need to make a deposit for a chance to win the real money. I have more good news for Canadians: deposits are easy. There are no banking laws that restrict financial transactions to offshore bingo sites. You can deposit and withdraw as you please.
It should be noted, however, that some banks with American ties automatically block credit card transactions to bingo websites. You can thank our neighbors to the south for that. The UIGEA orders American banking institutions to block deposits to known gambling sites and Canadian cards often get caught up in the net.
That’s no problem though. If you have problems depositing with your debit or credit card, you can always choose a different method. Some of the other options include iDebit, Instadebit, Click2Pay (an e-wallet), Paysafecard (a prepaid gift card), Entropay (another e-wallet), wire transfer and paper check.
Each bingo site has a slightly different list of available deposit methods but you shouldn’t have any trouble getting started. In most cases, you can sign up for an account, make a deposit and play a real money game all in the same day.
Online Gambling Laws in Canada
Gambling laws in Canada are vague in wording but the current situation is pretty straightforward. You can play real money games online, but you can’t operate your own gaming site. Individual bingo players have nothing to worry about as far as the law is concerned. There are simply no laws on the books that make it any kind of offense to place a bet online.
The only people who should be concerned with the law are those interested in opening their own gaming sites accepting wagers from Canadians. The legal situation is quite a bit murkier in that respect. Generally, it is illegal to host any sort of betting site on Canadian soil.
There is one notable exception: The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Geographically, the territory resides firmly inside Canada’s borders. Legally, it’s a whole different country. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission operates from inside the territory and acts as a major licensing jurisdiction and hosting facility for online gaming sites.
The legality of this licensing operation is questionable, but nobody seems to take much interest. The Mohawk Territory is quiet, it doesn’t rock the boat and it doesn’t actually own any gambling sites. Challenging their actions would require a lengthy and expensive court process and no guarantee of success. The commission was established more than 15 years ago and Canada hasn’t burned to the ground yet. It’s easier for everyone to just leave things as they are.
National law in Canada gives provinces the authority to operate state-owned betting sites as long as they are available only to customers residing within that province. Several provinces have opened their own betting sites, but these sites are limited in what they can offer. British Columbia has a pretty decent gambling site called Play Now but that one is only open to residents of BC.
Note: A search for online bingo in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will inevitably lead you to a 500Nations.com website that looks like a legitimate bingo site. It’s not. It’s actually an affiliate website that directs traffic to unlicensed bingo sites not recommended for Canadians.
As you can see, the majority of this discussion has focused on the business side of online bingo in Canada. The laws here all deal with who can operate gambling sites and what types of games they can offer. It’s much simpler on the player’s end: it’s legal. Or to be more precise, it’s not illegal.