What are Online Gambling Regulation Similarities and Differences between Canada and the US?

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Canada and the US share numerous similarities, from a shared historical heritage to common borders, economic zones and defence arrangements.  It is no surprise then that there exist a few online gambling regulation similarities between the two, as well as some notable differences.  Although the US has a more established casino culture that stretches back to the heydays of the emergence of Las Vegas, Canada is not straddling far behind.  Canadians have, in certain instances, provided for a more liberalised gambling environment than their more populous neighbour.  Although both in Canada and the US, the rules and regulations governing gambling vary across provinces and states, some overlaying similarities are shared by both.

The United States Online Gambling Regulations

While online gambling remains illegal in most of the states, there have been recent moves to fast-track new legislative amendments that would open up this market niche to the general public.  As it stands, a few states have enacted legislation that legalises online gambling, while others are tabling bills for review by individual state assemblies.  In those states where the legalisation has already taken place, flourishing communities of online gamblers have sprung up, making use of their newfound privileges to wager their money at online casinos and poker houses, as well as sports betting providers.

New Jersey, in particular, has come on top when it comes to online gambling activity.  The state offers numerous online casino options with trustworthy operators.  The state keeps tabs on the online casino providers through the New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), which requires each provider to obtain a license to operate.  Once operational, the providers can offer real-money online gambling services to all players in New Jersey who are 21 years or older.

While strides are being made to make online gambling available in all the states, almost half of them already allow sports betting.  Sports betting is primarily viewed as a bellwether for future online gambling legislation. As a result, sports betting is available in more states than online gambling is, including Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.  Recently, sports betting bills have been enacted in Montana, Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.

Going forward, we can expect further liberalisation of online gambling across the board. However, Canadian players will have to be physically present in a US state to make use of its online casino offering.

Online Gambling Regulation in Canada

According to current legislation and sections 201-206 of the Federal Criminal Code, no specific law prohibits online gaming by private companies.  Federal regulations only subject local online gambling providers to a set of rules, although external operators have a much freer hand when it comes to marketing their offerings.  Ultimately, online gambling is legal in Canada, although specific provisions apply.

As in the case of the US, the federal government of Canada has delegated the decision regarding the level of legalisation to each of the provinces. As it stands, Ontario has the most active online casino community, generating the most gambling revenue, followed by British Columbia and Quebec.  Canada’s flexible online gambling rules have meant that the majority of providers stem from overseas, which is not the case in the US.  This allows for more choice but also creates an outflow of tax dollars.

In contrast to the US, where in-house casinos continue to dominate the market segment, the exponential growth of online casinos in Canada have made these the largest segment within the Canadian gambling market.  Canada is also the home to a few online casino software developers, making their market penetration more straightforward and accessible.  All of these factors have contributed to Canada being amongst the top ten gambling countries worldwide, even though its population is dwarfed by that of its larger neighbour to the south.

When it comes to online gambling choices, both the US and Canada have much to showcase.  While the US has embraced a more tentative approach to their online gambling industry expansion, Canada’s deregulated policies have seen a speedier and more even availability of online casinos.  With further impending liberalisation of the US online gambling market, it will be interesting to monitor the growth of choice and offerings between the two counties.

Picture of Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Besides polishing his SEO skills, Bojan has a penchant for creative writing. With over half a decade of experience in the online gambling industry under his belt, his written take on the latest news from the Canadian and global gambling industries is an indispensable source of information for the CASINOenquirer team. Bojan’s primary goal is to ensure that players get a superior experience through the top-notch content that he shares.

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