The iGaming market in Canada continues to go from strength to strength, with the gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated within the space projected to peak at $356.80 million by the end of 2023.
Between 2023 and 2027, the market will continue to grow steadily too, at an estimated CAGR of 6.32%. If this is accurate, iGaming in Canada will be worth an impressive $455.90 million at the end of this four-year period, as more jurisdictions legalise online gambling and new regulatory frameworks are created.
Ontario is the latest Canadian region to regulate online gambling and remote betting. But what are the best Ontario online casinos, and just how legal are these entities in the current legislative climate?
Can You Play Legally at Online Casinos in Ontario?
Before we take a look at the best online casinos in Ontario, it’s important to determine whether you can play legally in the region.
The good news is that online casinos have been live and fully legal in the region since April 2022, with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and its subsidiary iGaming Ontario (iGO) assuming responsibility for regulating this burgeoning marketplace.
To this end, iGO issued a series of licenses to help launch the market in earnest in April of last year, with a host of major iGaming brands being approved to operate in Ontario in the process (we’ll touch a little further on some of these operators below).
This represents the culmination of provincial governments’ plans to end the lottery’s online gambling monopoly, which were formulated in April 2019 before the initial regulatory framework was announced in 2020. The final regulatory standards were published ahead of the formation of iGO in September 2021, with these guidelines implementing a ban on autoplay and a minimum spin speed of 2.5 seconds for slots.
With the Ontario market now up and running, players can wager freely and legally at a large number of licensed online casinos, affording them access to competitive markets and genuine peace of mind.
The Best Ontario Online Casinos
At the time of writing, there are approximately eight online casino brands operating in Ontario, including some of the most iconic and recognisable names in the whole of North America.
From a technology perspective, each of these sites is secured with 128-bit SSL encryption, which represents the minimum industry standard and help to safeguard your personal and financial information when completing transactions.
OK, we hear you ask, but who are the leading casino brands active in Ontario? Here’s a breakdown of the top five!
BetMGM is one of the biggest iGaming brands in the whole of North America, and one that now offers 24⁄7 customer support and a diverse games’ library to Ontario customers. The site is also running an extremely generous welcome offer to new customers at present, with this taking the form of a 100% first deposit match up to the value of $3,000. You can even bank a no-deposit bonus of $100 once your new account has been verified, creating an added incentive if you’re looking to wager in Ontario.
BetRivers is another popular and trusted casino brand, and one that combines iGaming verticals with remote sports betting. The .ca site is also incredibly well designed and user-friendly, while it boasts a huge selection of slots and instant payout options. New customers here can access a 100% deposit match bonus up to the value of $250, with this accessible to all players who credit their fledgling account with a minimum of $20.
LeoVegas is a global iGaming and sports betting brand that originated in Scandinavia, and has since reached out into lucrative markets such as the UK, Ireland and Canada. LeoVegas is also a high-quality and award-winning mobile casino, and one that delivers 24⁄7 support across multiple channels. Here, new Ontario players can claim their first offer card when they deposit $10 and wager this 20x on eligible slots, before earning a 100% deposit match up to $500 and 100 free spins on selected slots.
Party Casino is another platform that offer an exceptional mobile gambling experience, while players who are on the move can access the full games’ library that includes include more than 1,500 slots alone. There’s also a large number of immersive live casino games available here, while new players can access a 100% deposit match up to the value of $1,000 across their first three deposits. The minimum deposit to qualify for this bonus is just $10.
Founded in 2017, PointsBet was one of the first gambling brands to enter the Ontario market last April, while it boasts exceptional sportsbook integration and offers competitive odds across a range of sports and markets. The casino also has an intuitive and easy to navigate interface, while it’s currently running an innovative welcome offer on behalf of new customers. This affords players up to 200% back in free spins (up to the value of $800) on total losses incurred on any casino game within 72 hours after opening your account.
Ontario Casino Apps – What You Need to Know
All of the Ontario market leading casinos listed above have developed native apps in both iOS and Android, while continuing to operate responsive websites that can be accessed seamlessly through mobile browsers such as Safari and Chrome.
This affords you choice in terms of how you access your chosen Ontario casino, although apps offer significant advantages over accessing websites through a mobile browser. These include:
- It’s Easier to Deposit and Withdraw Winnings: Ontario casino apps are seamlessly designed and navigable, so you can manage your account and execute transactions with a single click.
- Services and Files Can be Synced: This actively minimises the need to shift between different web pages when processing payments and verifying your account, whereas browsers may require you to navigate the site using cumbersome ‘back’ buttons.
- Casino Apps are Generally Safer: While both mobile browsers and native apps are secured and encrypted, the latter are arguably a little safer. This is because mobile browsers are at risk of specific trojans and malware that has been designed to collect sensitive banking data.
Ultimately, the choice of how you access Ontario casinos through your tablet or smartphone is a personal one, but the good news is that the jurisdiction’s licensed casinos offer genuine flexibility in terms of how you wager your money.
The Key Considerations When Choosing a Real Money Online Casino in Ontario
Whether you want to wager and play for real money through your desktop device a mobile browser or native app, it’s important to choose the best Ontario casino for you.
But what are the most important considerations when looking for casinos to wager your hard-earned cash? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Safety and Security: While all casinos boast 128-bit SSL encryption as a minimum requirement, some platforms have integrated 256-encryption into their platforms. Licensed online casinos should also have had their games’ libraries independently tested to ensure that they’re fair and generate random outcomes, and comparing these metrics can help to protect your bankroll. We’d also recommend checking out each casino’s licensing number and credentials to ensure that it’s regulated and allowed to operate in Ontario.
- The Casino’s Return-to-Player (RTP) Rate: The RTP rate is expressed as a percentage and details how much you can expect to recoup for every $1 wagered. Not only are licensed Ontario casinos requires to published accurate RTP rates for each game, but the market leaders also reference the average rate of return across their entire platform. This helps you to calculate your potential real money returns when betting online, while also informing your choice of games in the first place.
- Wagering Requirements on Bonus Offers: Most welcome offers and casino promotions are bound by wagering requirements, which are expressed as a multiplier of bonus values and dictate how much you’ll have to play through to withdraw any associated winnings. These must be met within a predetermined timeframe too, and in some instances, you may find that a bonus is lacking in value or well beyond your means. This can hurt your bank roll, so check each bonuses’ wagering requirements before you formally commit!