Being the province with the largest gambling market in Canada, there is a lot to see and do in Ontario. From the province’s existing land-based gambling offerings to their newly-blazed trails into the world of iGaming, there is also a lot to learn here in terms of the legal factors that allow these operations to run in the first place.
As online casino fans and industry insiders based in Ontario, we at InsideCasino are on the pulse of Ontario’s casino market. With the province making its landmark move to regulate online casino sites, we are in the perfect position to observe the changes and give you timely and accurate information on Ontario gaming as it goes on.
For most real money gambling operators in Ontario, responsible gambling measures are governed by the OLG and AGCO, who have done an excellent job enforcing responsible practices across the province. For the longest time, though, the protections offered by these provincial corporations did not extend to those who gamble online in Ontario due to the grey market setup.
Thanks to iGaming Ontario, this is now expected to change. With the provincial government now gaining full regulatory control over Ontario casinos online, players are now extended the same consumer protections that they would expect in a land based establishment.
Ontario’s gambling regulation is a bit tricky to understand at first glance because of Canada’s unique stance compared to other countries. As of April 4, 2022, all online gambling activities have been officially legalised and regulated within the province, following the establishment of iGaming Ontario. Usually shortened to just IGO, iGaming Ontario is the new arm of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) – and also the first of its kind in Canada – that is dedicated to regulating online gambling market in the province. To make it easier to digest, we’ve broken down the regulation into key sections.
In Canada, gambling laws are divided between federal laws (which apply nationwide) and provincial laws. Canada’s federal gambling law is laid out in Sections 201 to 209 of the Criminal Code. To spare you the stress of reading through a complicated legal document, the basic summary goes like this: All forms of casino operations are outlawed in Canada unless they are owned and/or operated by the provincial government.
In other words, each provincial government basically has full control over their legal gambling market and can establish their own set of rules as they see fit.
To make and enforce these regulations, the provincial government has established three different organisations that each control different aspects of the Ontario market: the AGCO, OLG and iGaming Ontario.
The job of handling licences for Ontario casino operators is split between the AGCO and iGaming Ontario. As you can expect, operators who want to start a land-based Ontario casino, sportsbook or lottery will need to register with the AGCO.
However, an operator of a casino in Ontario Canada will need to work with both the AGCO and iGaming across several steps before they can officially launch as a licenced operator. The AGCO half mostly involves business registration and general compliance, while iGaming Ontario works with licence applicants on connecting their gambling site to a data sharing scheme for player protection and AML (anti-money laundering).
Gambling taxes in Ontario are very neatly split between the players and operators. If you are a gambling operator, you pay Ontario’s government business taxes alongside any other fees required for maintaining a gambling licence.
Players, meanwhile, do not need to pay any taxes on any winnings from gambling. Every dollar that a player wins from an Ontario lottery, sports bet, or casino can be cashed out with nothing left behind.
Ontario is one of the provinces in Canada that has a minimum gambling age of 19 years old, compared to playing online casinos in Alberta which can be done from the age of 18. This minimum age is checked up front by casinos and sportsbooks, regardless of whether you play online or offline.
However, the 19 minimum age is not set across all gambling activities. Players at least 18 years old can still buy lottery and bingo tickets to maintain the same entry rules for national-level prize pools like Lotto Max.
Although the regulations around casinos in Ontario have gotten a bit more complicated since the opening of the new iGaming market, the banking methods you can use on an Ontario casino site are still more or less the same.
A few notable examples include:
If the continued growth of the AGCO and OLG are any indication, the gambling scene in Ontario has been thriving long before the move to regulate iGaming. As you can probably imagine, this is mostly made possible by the province’s brick-and-mortar casino market, which is the largest in Canada.
The biggest and most popular product that the OLG provides is their lottery and scratch cards, which Ontarians can purchase both in-store and online through the OLG website. The lottery draws that Ontarians can buy range from the daily “Pick 4” tickets to the Lotto Max, which is a national lottery distributed by OLG in Ontario.
Being the provincial casino operator for Ontario, the OLG is also responsible for overseeing Ontario’s land-based casinos and making sure they are complying with provincial laws. In accordance with Canadian gambling law, the OLG also partly owns these venues, but their actual operations are handled by partner casino brands. A few of the most popular land-based casino venues include:
Housed in the territory of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Casino Rama is one of the largest, if not the largest entertainment complex in the province. More of a casino with a resort than the other way around, Casino Rama houses 17,800 square meters worth of casino gaming space—just under the size of two and a half FIFA football fields. The resort part of Casino Rama is no slouch by any means, either. Their three key amenities here include a hotel with over 250 rooms, 10 restaurants across the entire resort with varying cuisines and delicacies, and a 5,000-seat entertainment center that has been the venue for a variety of concerts and events from the likes of Mariah Carey, Journey, and Air Supply.
Games: Slots, table games
Location: 5899 Rama Rd, Orillia, ON L3V 6H6
Phone number: 1-800-832-7529
Caesars Windsor is one of the oldest casinos in Ontario, having broken ground all the way back in 1994. Formerly named Casino Windsor, this was the first of four casinos opened in the Detroit-Windsor region that is shared by the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of Michigan. As the name suggests, it is currently operated by Caesars Entertainment and is now part of the world-class chain of resorts and hotels. So naturally, you can expect to experience top-tier luxury staying at any of the over 700 rooms in their two hotel towers.
Games: Slots, table games, poker
Location: 377 Riverside Drive, East Windsor, ON
Phone number: +1 800-991-7777
Fallsview Casino is the biggest casino in all of Canada and has so much to offer. With a massive space of 200,000 square feet, there are 3,500 slot machines and 130 gaming tables to keep you entertained. The resort also has a fancy hotel with 372 rooms, a fitness center to stay active, lots of shops to explore, and delicious restaurants to satisfy your cravings. If you need a place to have meetings or special events, Fallsview Casino Resort has over 30,000 square feet of space dedicated to conventions and meetings.
Games: Slots, table games
Location: 6380 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 7X5
Phone number: +1 888-325-5788
Ontarian sports fans are arguably the luckiest of all Canadian sports bettors thanks to the fact that they have access to the country’s best provincial sportsbook. OLG’s Proline has served as the backbone of sports betting in Canada since its inception, and their enhanced PROLINE+ version only boosts their value to bettors with dedicated mobile apps and massively expanded betting options. Over the past couple of years, Proline has even moved to sign partnerships with the NFL, NHL, NBA, and the MLB, further cementing its position as Ontario’s official sportsbook.
Online gambling is legal in Ontario thanks to their new iGaming law, which establishes a regulated market that allows third-party operators to serve Ontarian players.
The legal gambling age in Ontario is 19 years old for anyone playing at casinos or betting on sportsbooks. However, Ontarians can purchase lottery tickets and bingo cards if they are 18 or older.
Yes, you can gamble online in Ontario and you have quite a lot of options for doing so. From online casino games to sports betting and everything in between, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to online gambling options in the province.
Just about all forms of gambling are allowed in Ontario as long as they are provided by a provincial corporation. This includes sports betting on horse races, casinos and lotteries; the recent expansion into iGaming, however, has allowed licenced online casinos in Ontario to provide their services legally.
Ontario casinos offer just about every gambling game under the sun. Players can expect to find slots, poker, bingo, blackjack and a host of other games.
OLG is the acronym for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the government agency that is responsible for running the province's official horse racing venues, land-based casinos, and provincial lottery.
Yes, you can win real money on Ontario online casinos. To do so, however, you will need to make sure that the online casino you are playing at actually allows you to bet real money and that you have an account at the casino all setup.