Is Online Casino Gaming Legal in British Columbia? Important Things Players Must Know
British Columbia is one of Canada’s oldest and third most populous provinces. Due to its varied mountainous terrains and coasts, the province is known for its love for outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, and camping.
However, in recent years, there has been a rise in a new pastime activity in the province, with most residents now turning to online casino gaming for their entertainment needs. But this trend comes as no surprise to many as British Columbia is known for its very rich gambling culture that can be traced back to several centuries ago.
But despite the growing popularity of online casino gaming in the province, there are still some uncertainties about its legality.
As a player, there are important things you need to know so you can safely enjoy your favorite games online without breaking any laws.
Here, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the current online casino gaming laws in British Columbia. To stay updated with the latest developments in the casino industry, and learn more about the best gambling platforms, visit CasinoUSA.com for insights.
Status of Online Casino Gaming in British Columbia
Like in most jurisdictions around the world, online casino gaming in British Columbia operates in a legal grey area. Currently, no explicit province laws prohibit residents from playing casino games online. In fact, residents above 19 years of age can even enjoy a wide variety of games like slots, poker, blackjack, and bingo legally when they play on sites licensed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Currently, the corporation has only issued a license to one platform, PlayNow.com.
In Canada, provinces are generally allowed to dictate and regulate gambling within their jurisdiction, with the federal Canadian criminal code being the supreme control. According to the federal criminal code, all forms of unauthorized lottery schemes are prohibited, but this hasn’t explicitly been said to cover online casinos yet.
Legality of Playing at Offshore Online Casinos in British Columbia
As mentioned, British Columbia residents can enjoy legal online casino gaming at PlayNow.com, the only BCLC-licensed site in the province. But what about playing at offshore online casinos? Is it legal?
Well, this is where things become grey, as the province has no explicit laws prohibiting players from enjoying games at online casinos with foreign licenses. As long as these casinos don’t physically operate in BC and adhere to the gambling laws stipulated by the BCLC, they may be able to offer their services without running into issues with the Government.
As for residents, playing at these offshore sites is completely legal. Also, if there were any legal issues, the offshore casinos would face the penalties and consequences, not the players. However, since these sites are not licensed and regulated by the BCLC, players should be aware of the possible risks associated with playing games there.
Essential Things To Consider When Choosing an Offshore Online Casino
It is no longer news that many Canadian players enjoy playing real money games on offshore online casinos. Before you join them, here are some crucial factors to consider before choosing an offshore gambling site.
- License and Security
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation isn’t the only gambling commission that offers licenses. Other reputable gambling commissions like the UKGC, Malta Gaming Authority, and Gibraltar Regulatory Authority also provide licenses to casino sites. Ensure the casino operates with a license from a universally recognized gambling commission.
Also, you need to confirm if the casino’s security features are up to date to avoid risking your personal information being compromised. The casino must have SSL encryption enabled and a firewall installed to prevent hackers.
- Payment Methods
Offshore online casinos targeting Canadian players should have payment options available in the country. The casino should also accept local currency and offer a wide range of local banking options. This will ensure that players can easily deposit and withdraw thei winnings without going through lengthy processes.
- Customer Support
When you play at offshore sites, there are chances that you’ll encounter issues either during registration or in gaming sessions. It’s important that the casino has a reliable customer support team on standby to provide help.
Players should be able to access them through email, phone, social media, and a 24/7 live chat system. There should also be a detailed FAQ section that covers answers to basic queries.
The Bottom Line
The recent growth of online casino gaming in British Columbia has been attributed to many factors, including the pandemic lockdown and the province’s rich gambling history. However, as more players move online for their gambling needs, it’s only fair that they know the legal status of online casino gaming in the province.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation regulates online casino gaming in the province, and so far, only one site, PlayNow.com, has been licensed by the corporation. Nevertheless, residents can legally play at offshore online casinos, but they’ll need to consider factors like legality, security, payment methods, and customer support before making a choice.