Bitcoin Gambling: Are Crypto Casinos Legal in Canada?

Are Bitcoin Casinos Legal? What Canadian Law Says about Gambling with Crypto

Interpreting the Law: Are Bitcoin Casinos Legal in Canada?

Gambling has matured so much since the turn of the millennium. Technology has everything to do with it. Prior to the Age of Internet, gambling took place at casinos, racetracks, and in the backrooms of seedy bars. While these places still exist, today’s generation of gamblers have access to a whole other world of digital gaming. Online casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks evolved into mobile gambling, right on your smartphone, with some table games coordinated by real, live dealers. You don’t even have to use fiat money to place bets anymore, thanks to the introduction of Bitcoin and altcoins.

Decentralized, digital currencies have real-world value, despite their lack of physical form. Technologies like these are progressing at such a rapid rate, it can make your head spin, or least leave you wondering; “Is all this stuff is even legal?” If you’re pondering this very question, please continue reading. We’ll teach you about the legalities of online gambling in Canada, and whether you can use crypto currency to do it.

Is Online Gambling Lawful in Canada?

Yes, online gambling is legal in the Great White North. In fact, Canada is one of the most liberal countries when it comes to internet gambling. We’ve had unrestricted access to it since the first betting websites appeared in the late 1990s. Over time, some of our provincial governments chose to cash in, as well.

British Columbia was the first jurisdiction in Canada – one of the first in the entire world, for that matter – to adopt iGaming regulations. In doing so, the British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC) launched its very own online casino, PlayNow, open only to residents of BC. Quebec followed suit in 2010 with the launch of Espacejeux. Manitoba teamed up with BCLC to offer PlayNow Manitoba to its residents in 2012, piggy-backing off BC’s long-standing success. Then came Ontario’s PlayOLG in 2015. In 2020, Alberta launched PlayAlberta, while the Atlantic Lottery Corp brought online casino and/or sports betting to New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.

Long story short, as of writing, 94% of adults Canadians have access to a home-grown, locally regulated iGaming operation, while 100% of adult Canadians are well within their legal rights to take part in the highly competitive and well respected international market.

Are Crypto Currencies Legal for Canadians?

Absolutely! Crypto currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Tron and a slew of other altcoins, are not illegal in Canada. The stigma that surrounds them has to do with the fact that they are decentralized, meaning they are not regulated by any individual government authority.

Fiat money, like the Canadian Dollar (CAD), is regulated by the Canadian government, just as the US Dollar is regulated by the federal government of the United States. But crypto currencies exist globally in the digital realm. They cannot be controlled by any central government. That’s not to say that Canada cannot prohibit digital currency, but our government has explicitly chosen not to.

Several countries have criminalized Bitcoin and altcoins. China is the most famous for it, banning them altogether. There are also some countries that simply refuse to recognize crypto as a legal form of monetary exchange, but Canada is not among those, either.

Our government does not see digital tokens as “legal tender”, but does define them as “digital assets”. As an asset, Canadians are welcome to buy, sell and trade Bitcoin and altcoins, and may use them to barter for goods and services. However, the way you buy, sell and trade in Ontario versus the rest of Canada may differ.

If you’re not convinced, consider this. There are more than 2,000 Bitcoin ATMs spotting this nation’s great countryside. If nothing else, this fact should help to emphasize the legality of crypto currency Canada.

Are Canada Crypto Casinos Legal?

Based on the answers to the two questions above, I think its unequivocally clear to say, “Yes! Crypto casinos are legal in Canada.”

Online gambling is legal. The use of crypto currency is legal. There’s absolutely nothing unclear about the lawful status of these activities. Therefore, gambling online at Bitcoin casinos is legal in Canada. We don’t need a separate page in the law books to come to this conclusion.

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George Thomson is a Bitcoin enthusiast and all around crypto currency nerd... When he's not busy researching crypto, he likes hiking the national parks of British Columbia . He lives in an eco-friendly home with his wife Jana and their two daughters, Sandra and Rose. His favorite word is "sustainability".
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