British Columbia is one of the best provinces for gamblers in all of Canada. It still suffers from some uncertainty with regards to online gambling rules, but for the most part gambling is legal and widely available here. In this guide we’ll show you just how BC has embraced gambling culture, while speculating at what the future holds for this region and showing you where you can find the best online casinos.
Is Gambling Legal in BC?
All forms of gambling are regulated in the province of British Columbia, with some more tightly controlled than others. There are slot machines, lotteries, bingo games, casino card games, and horse racing available across the state, all of which are legal and tightly regulated.
The world of online gambling is a little less certain and exists in somewhat of a grey area, but that doesn’t mean that it’s illegal. Far from it. The issue lies with overseas gambling, as there are only a very small number of regulated online gambling sites actually based within BC.
An oversea’s site is operating legally providing it is regulated within the country it is operating within, and because this province has somewhat of an open door policy where these sites are concerned, it can also offer its services to players in BC. The only real issue here is when the site in question is not properly regulated or is based in a country where online gambling is not allowed.
In such cases the player may actually be breaking the law, although it’s rare that they would be the ones to fall foul of the authorities.
Which Sites are Legal?
This is not an easy question for the average BC player to answer, but there is a easy solution: if a site accepts you and is reputable, then it’s safe to join. The biggest casinos and sports books turnover tens of millions of dollars (and in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars) every single year. They don’t need Canadian players to survive, so the last thing they would do is risk getting on the wrong side of the Canadian authorities.
Not only would this get them into serious trouble with officials in Canada, but it would also get them in trouble with their own regulators and could see them lose their license. If a well known, established and regulated site is opening its doors to Canadian players, then you can be sure that it is safe to signup and play.
These sites are actually very common these days, as Canada is one of the biggest gambling markets in the world outside of Europe. It ranks up there with the United Kingdom, Australia and Eastern Europe, and there are actually many casinos created solely for the purpose of targeting Canadian players.
As you would expect, these sites go out of their way to ensure they are on good terms with the Canadian authorities.
How to Stay Safe
Your safety is pretty much assured when you gamble online from BC. It’s not like the US, where you have very little recourse for action if you are conned, and the industry is pretty much on your side. However, there are still some steps that you can take to guarantee your safety at all times:
- Only Play on Regulated Sites: You should stick with sites that are regulated within Europe or the UK, as Central American regulators simply don’t have the best reputation and rarely help players in need. The Malta Gaming Authority are a perfect example of a good, European-based regulator.
- Check their Reputation: Before you signup anywhere, Google the name of the site and see what other players have to say. You can also add “Canadian” or “Canada” after the name to find reviews from Canadian players. Most players will only review a casino when they have something bad to say, so don’t be alarmed by negative reviews, but look out for patterns of bad behaviour, such as random suspensions, regulatory issues, and other serious complaints. You can also add the word “Blacklist” to see if any major review sites have blacklisted it—they only do this if they have a very good reason.
- Use a Safe Deposit Method: If you’re not sure about the site, use a deposit method that offers fraud protection and chargeback capabilities, such as credit cards and PayPal. That way, if something goes wrong you can claim your money back.
- Check Contact Details: A huge number of online casinos are created by brands that churn them out at a high rate and provide only a basic email support system to keep costs down. They can be a nightmare to deal with and should be avoided. Look for Live Chat and a phone number before you signup.
What if You’re Scammed?
Online casino scams are rare, but they do exist. Most players will never fall foul of such a scam, and if you follow the steps above then you will likely avoid them as well, but what if you’ve already been scammed?
If that’s the case then there are a few things you can do, but it all boils down to what you perceive as a scam. Typically, players will use this to describe one of five things, not all of which are actually scams.
- Unpaid Bonuses: Unfortunately, if a casino doesn’t follow through with a bonus there is nothing you can do. They are simply not obliged to do so. This is also true of sites that hide terms in their Ts & Cs to essentially trick you out of that bonus. The regulators simply don’t care, but you can leave bad reviews to warn other players.
- Unpaid Withdrawals: The casino is entitled to sit on a withdrawal in order to run checks, but only for a reasonable time and only if they provide you with a reason. Give them a chance to respond and a couple weeks to pay, and if they do not then you can take it up with their regulators.
- Stolen Money: If a casino blatantly steals a deposit from you, then you need to contact your bank or web wallet provider and let them know. They can initiate a chargeback.
- Scam Software: If you believe that they use proprietary software that is unfair, and there are no audits to prove otherwise, submit your own proof to the casino’s regulator.
- No Replies: If the casino is simply ignoring you, it’s more about bad customer service than anything else. Leave them bad reviews, file complaints through their internal system, and let the regulator and software provider know that their licensee does not respond to customer messages.