Is playing casino games online illegal in Canada?
It is not illegal for Canadians to play traditional casino games online. It is only illegal to operate an online casino within Canada, or to actively advertise the transfer of money to an online gaming establishment. This means that you may enjoy online gaming with any Internet casino and be free of any criminality. Remember to always research your preferred online casino to ensure it is operating legally in whichever jurisdiction it is based out of. Otherwise, you may not be protected adequately from fraud or other illegal money laundering activities. It is interesting to note that there have never been any charges laid against Canadian players of casino games online.
All online casino's operate from outside of Canada to obey the Canadian law. The most gambling companies are licensed on places like Malta, Gibraltar, Alderney or Curacao.
Do I need to claim casino earnings (or losses) on my income taxes?
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is fairly clear on this requirement. Any earnings from gaming in casinos (online or otherwise) is not taxable and therefore you do not need to report it. However, if the earnings are generated through business-related activities, they will be taxable. If you consider yourself a professional online casino player, a professional poker player, or a professional blackjack player then you may need to report your earnings as income. However, if you maintain a separate source of income, this will not apply. Frequent players of online casinos have tried to claim capital losses on their gambling losses, however this is not permissible under federal income tax laws.
The Future of Online Casinos in Canada
The online casino landscape in Canada is promising and encouraging. The Ontario government has been trying to create casino games online through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (http://www.olg.ca). They have been engaging private enterprise to assist with the project, but have yet to launch anything officially. Ontario believes that an Internet casino hosted in Ontario will provide valuable revenue to the province.
British Columbia and Alberta have also considered launching virtual casinos through lottery terminals in retail stores, through mobile devices, through traditional downloads online. However, they too have sought private enterprise assistance without success. The other provinces and territories have yet to make public announcements regarding their stance on gambling online, however they do not have the population density to really make it a successful venture.
Canada has been far more progressive with their online casino and wagering laws than the United States, and there is no public interest in changing this stance. Therefore, Canadian online casino players should have a positive outlook on the future of online casino gaming in Canada.