Canadian Online Casino Licences Explained

Rahul Mukherjee


Canadian Online Casino Licences Explained

Have you ever wondered how the casino licencing process works? In this guide, we’ll talk about Casino licences in Canada, why they are necessary, and how licenced online casinos get their credentials. We’ll also teach you about the top authorities that issue licences to Canadian casinos, and teach you how to make sure your favourite casino has a valid licence.

Understanding Canadian Online Casino Licences

Online casino licences are issued by regulators who guarantee that gaming sites conform to specific rules and policies regarding fair play, financial security, and other areas of operation. While the specific qualifications necessary to earn a licence vary between regulators, as do the specific policies each regulator requires, casinos must operate under those rules to maintain a Canadian casino licence.

One way in which casino licencing protects players is by giving users an authority to reach out to in case of a dispute with a casino operator that cannot be resolved amicably. The regulator has the power to sanction casinos that use its licence, and can compel sites to take actions to resolve complaints or comply with regulations. Casinos that fail to do this risk losing their licences.

A lawyer at their desk

In Canada, most gambling laws are set by provincial governments, and most regulation is done at the provincial level as well. At least eight provinces have established their own casino licencing programs, which allow for online gambling operators to offer authorized internet gaming within their borders. That began in 2012 when British Columbia launched the first provincial-operator online casino, with several others doing the same in the next few years.

However, that’s far from the only legal way for Canadians to gamble online. While it is illegal to operate an online casino in Canada without a license, operators from other countries and jurisdictions can allow Canadians to play on their sites, and Canadians are completely within their rights to play on these sites. Ontario is the one exception to this rule, with only casinos regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario available to players.

While these foreign or offshore sites may not technically have Canadian casino licences, they are licenced and regulated by some of the top authorities in the worldwide online gaming industry. That makes them a safe and trusted option for players looking for alternatives to their provincial sites, or for those who do not have regulated online gambling in their province.

Canada’s Top Licence-Issuing Authorities

Documents being approved

There are several prominent groups that issue casino licences in Canada. These organizations are based all over the world, from within the boundaries of Canada itself to nations in Europe and South America. Each of these groups has its own history and rules, and some licenses come with more prestige than others.

The following are six of the most important groups that offer up Canadian casino licenses or similar licenses in other nations. Any trusted online gambling site should have a license from one or more of these groups, or from a provincial authority based in Canada.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory is a First Nations reserve in Quebec which is home to one of the most important casino licencing groups in Canada. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in 1999, and have been issuing trusted licences to online casinos around the world ever since.

Many casino operators seek out a KGC license due to its relatively fast process and low fees, as well as its zero tax policy. Several of the top Canadian casinos are regulated by the Kahnawake, including JackpotCity Casino, Spin Casino, and Royal Vegas Casino.

Malta Gaming Authority

The Malta Gaming Authority is the gaming control organization in Malta. Established in 2001, the Malta Gaming Authority was one of the first regulatory bodies in the world to offer legislation to formalize the regulations of online gambling companies, and has since grown to be one of the most popular licencing bodies for online casinos worldwide.

The MGA is highly respected due to its focus on player protections, giving users confidence that they can trust casinos with this licence and have a strong regulator in case anything goes wrong. Major Canadian sites such as LeoVegas hold licences from the Malta Gaming Authority.


AAMS (ADM) Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato

The AAMS is the primary authority for the gambling industry in Italy. Before the AAMS was established in 2006, supervision of the Italian gaming landscape was inconsistent and spotty, without a centralised control body. Today, the AAMS is the main regulator for both live and online gaming throughout Italy.

While players in Italy can still play at non-AAMS online casinos, there are definite advantages to playing at regulated sites. The AAMS rules dictate player fairness and responsible gambling, and it has the power to apply penalties and fines if operators violate their standards.

Curacao Gaming Control Board (GCB)

Established in 1999, the Curacao Gaming Control Board is responsible for overseeing the large and popular gambling industry in the country. This includes online casinos, where the GCB issues licenses to countless sites that operate in countries around the world.

Historically, Curacao hasn’t been considered one of the stronger regulators in the gaming industry, but the country is currently implementing changes through the National Ordinance on Games of Chance (LOK) that will eventually lead to a transition to a new regulator known as the Curacao Gaming Authority. Still, many great casinos already use GCB licencing, including popular sites like BetOnRed Casino and Nine Casino.

United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)

There is no casino licencing authority in the world of online gambling that carries more weight than the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Established in 2007, the UKGC took over from the previous Gaming Board for regulating gambling throughout the UK, but also quickly became the gold standard for online casino licensing worldwide.

Any online gaming operator with equipment in Great Britain or advertising their services there must get a UKGC licence.

It offers some of the strongest oversight and best consumer protections in the industry, and any site that carries a UKGC licence should be considered highly trusted. That includes sites in Canada like 888 Casino and BetVictor Casino, among others.

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission

Established in 1962, the Gambling Supervision Commission is an independent board that oversees the gaming industry on the Isle of Man. This includes both land-based and online casinos, as the Isle of Man was one of the earliest experienced jurisdictions to offer online casino licencing after passing the Online Gambling Regulation Act of 2001. The Isle of Man was also one of the earliest jurisdictions to licence the use of live dealers for online casino games.

While the Gambling Supervision Commission doesn’t have the prestige of the UKGC, it’s notable that the UKGC whitelisted the Isle of Man due to its strict rules and strong regulation. One of the top sites that holds a licence from the Isle of Man is BetVictor Casino.

How to Check for a Valid Online Casino License

Graphical representation of an online verification

When considering Canadian casino licences, it’s important to know that you’re dealing with authentic, valid licences. In theory, any site can claim to hold a licence; what’s important is that we know the regulator is actually endorsing the online casino.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a few tips that you can use to find and verify the credentials of licenced online casinos.

  • Check a casino’s website for a graphic that that shows the licence or licences that the operator holds. Typically, you can find this information in the footer of the casino’s front page, and it often can be seen at the bottom of every single page on the site. Once you’ve done this, you can verify that the casino’s licence is valid and current by going to the website of the regulator and using their search tools to find the site among their list of approved sites.
  • While you’re looking at the licencing authority’s list, you might want to consider using that information in the future when you pick an online casino. Each regulator has a complete list of licenced sites that you should be able to find linked on the organization’s home page. These lists are updated in real time, and picking a site that appears on one guarantees that you’re playing with a licensed and regulated online casino.
  • Finally, we recommend looking at trusted review sites such as ours. CBCA and other major reviewers take the time to verify the regulatory information of each site they promote. Our experts are careful to rate the licencing credentials of every casino we consider, and you can find that information prominently displayed in our full reviews of each site.

Play at Canada’s Best Licenced Online Casinos

If you want to play at a site that holds Canadian casino licences, we’ve got you covered. You can find a great range of licenced casinos to choose from right here on CBCA. Not only have we provided unbiased, thorough reviews of each site, but we’ll also help you find top welcome bonuses that will get you off to a great start wherever you decide to play.