As stated, when reviewing online casinos, we rely on a carefully established system. We’ve developed it over the years, and our experts use it to evaluate all the aspects of an online gambling platform and decide whether it’s trustworthy. Then, they can rank its features objectively and determine the overall grade.
Let’s look at all the characteristics we examine — we will let you know how we assess them and what affects the final rating.
Acceptance of Canadians
First and foremost, you need to ensure the casino accepts Canadians.
Unless the casino is licensed to operate in the country, there’s no guarantee it will allow Canadian players to join. One of the ways of determining this is by checking whether it offers localized content or bonuses in CAD.
In case you are still unsure, we advise you to check the terms and conditions. Here, you will find a list of restricted countries whose residents are not permitted to join the casino.
Alternatively, you can try to register an account. Every registration procedure includes a part where players need to input their address — if Canada is available, you can be sure that the casino accepts players from this country.
The information related to the casino’s owner is typically listed in the page’s footer. Most casinos display this info — those that don’t should be ruled out because it may indicate questionable practices.
Once you see who the owner is, you can research it and visit its other websites. Most casinos are operated by firms that own two or more gambling platforms, so it's worth checking out the sister sites, as well.
It is believed that the more prominent the owner is, the better the casino will be. However, bear in mind that even those casinos that are owned by relatively unknown companies might be worth checking out, as it is possible they are simply a new player on the market. That’s why you need to check other aspects of the site as well to make sure it’s worth your time.
Licensing and Security
Every reliable online casino needs to have a licence.
In those places where the online gambling industry is regulated, the casino will likely seek a permit from a local gambling authority. For instance, as of 2022, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has been the province’s official licensing body.
However, even if a casino doesn’t own this specific licence, it should still have one from another major international regulator. Some famous names include:
- Kahnawake Gaming Commission
- Malta Gaming Authority
- United Kingdom Gambling Commission
You can check the licensing info in the website’s footer. The permit will be displayed with a logo or licensing numbers. In some rare instances, casinos might lie about this information, which is why we advise you to visit the official website of the regulatory body and check whether the numbers are correct. Reputable casinos will even leave a link, so you can quickly review the legitimacy of the licence.
Even though you may think a proper licence is enough to guarantee safety, it’s good to dig a little deeper, just in case. That’s why we also analyze the casino’s security features, including:
- SSL encryption — Secure Socket Layer encryption is the standard security protocol for all websites. The sites with a proper certificate always have HTTPS instead of HTTP in their address. Casinos with this type of technology encrypt data, meaning all the information you use on the site or share with the casino is safe from cybercriminals.
- Firewalls — Trustworthy online casinos have firewalls that ensure only specific types of traffic are permitted. These are typically used for geo-location, but they can also ban people with specific IP addresses from accessing the site.
- Third-party security checks — Reputable online casinos tend to make deals with independent companies that periodically perform security checks to ensure everything is in order.
Reputation and Trustworthiness
It’s one thing for a licensing body to vouch for an online casino, but it’s much better if players and iGaming experts recommend it as well. So, you can learn a lot about the casino’s reputation by looking at:
- Online reviews on sites like this one
- Player feedback on reputable websites like Askgamblers and Casino Guru
- User opinions posted on forums and social media groups
Apart from this, you can check other indicators of the casino’s trustworthiness. For instance, you can see whether the operator has a licence or established partnerships. The latter is more common with sports betting sites; however, online casinos can also establish relationships with third-party auditors that check their casino game offerings to ensure the releases are not tampered with.
Trustworthy casinos also share their Return-to-Player (RTP) percentages with the public. This kind of information is important, as some games offer RTP ranges — in other words, the casinos hosting them are allowed to pick the level that suits them best.
Casino Games and Software Providers
Even though there are a huge number of providers and releases in the iGaming industry, our experts know precisely which names point toward a great casino. After all, the quality of game selection is another indicator that can show you whether a casino is worth your while.
Top online casinos in Canada tend to have diverse libraries that cover:
- Live dealer games
- Video poker
- Lottery titles
- Bingo games
- Mini-games and specialty titles
As for game providers, the more prominent names you see, the better. The best sites are those supplied by industry leaders like NetEnt, Microgaming, Play’n GO, Yggdrasil, Pragmatic Play, Evolution, Big Time Gaming, Relax Gaming, and others.
You should also check whether popular titles like NetENt’s Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst, Microgaming’s Mega Moolah, Immortal Romance, and the Thunderstruck series, Novomatic’s Book of Ra, Betsoft’s The Slotfather 2, Playtech’s Age of the Gods, Play’n Go’s Book of Dead series, or almost any live dealer game from Evolution are available.
Bonuses, Promotions, and Their Terms
Most casinos have a welcome package for new players and a host of additional promotions for the loyal ones. When analyzing a website, we make sure the casino offers both, as we want to make sure you’ll be able to maximize your earnings.
In addition, it's always nice when a site features reload deposit bonuses, free spin offers, cashbacks, refer-a-friend schemes, and loyalty programmes. However, the quality of these promos matters even more, so it’s vital to look at their terms and conditions. Some are more important than others, and the ones you need to check include:
- Wagering requirements — This is the most important part of the bonus T&Cs, as it shows the number of times you need to wager the bonus funds before you get to withdraw. This condition is always placed on promos like welcome bonuses and deposit bonuses. It should be around 30x (the industry average) or below. The lower the number, the more lucrative the offer, as you’ll have an easier time fulfilling the requirements and cashing out.
- Bonus vs bonus + deposit funds — Some wagering requirements are applied only to the bonus amount, while others pertain to the deposited funds as well. The former is better for the player, while the latter can make it more difficult to cash out, even if the wagering requirement is on the lower side.
- Maximum wins — Some casinos limit the amount you can win from a bonus. This is entirely understandable from the casino’s perspective, especially when it comes to reload promos that are often repeated and no-deposit bonuses.
- Expiry dates — All bonuses expire, and it’s vital to note the longevity of an offer before you claim it, as you need to make sure you’ll have enough time to complete wagering requirements and use up the funds entirely.
- Game contributions — All game types contribute differently toward meeting the wagering requirements. In general, slots are the only games contributing 100%, while table and live dealer titles tend to hover around 50% or less. As you can see, slots make it much easier to fulfill the requirements. However, the figures can differ from site to site, and since there are always some exceptions, it’s vital to check the bonus terms to see where you stand.
- Stake size — This refers to the amount you cannot go over when placing a single bet (for example, a single spin in a slot game).
When it comes to payment options, the first thing you need to check is whether the casino features methods popular among Canadians — Interac is typically at the top of this list.
You also need to ensure the conditions for depositing and withdrawing are favourable. The minimum and maximum limits need to be accommodating to both regular players and high rollers.
Moreover, payout times should be reasonable — a few days at the most. Still, with modern payment methods like PayPal and other e-wallets, funds should reach your account within a day.
Finally, transaction fees should ideally not be imposed, at least not from the casino's side. Keep in mind, though, that some payment methods charge small fees.
We always check the quality of customer support because prompt responses and timely communication matter a lot to most players.
Since you’ll probably have to ask for help at some point, it’s crucial that agents are available most of the time, preferably 24/7.
In addition, high-quality customer service should offer more than a single channel of communication — as a result, you’ll often find email addresses and phone numbers that you can use to reach out to the agents. Still, live chats remain the preferred option because of their fast response times.
Ideally, an online casino should impose deposit and time limits to help you remain responsible. There should also be options that enable you to exclude yourself from the casino’s services for a specific period, like a few months or a year.
The sites we recommend boast many of these features, including self-assessment tests, advice on dealing with gambling problems, and links to reputable organizations that can help struggling players, like Gambling Therapy, GamTalk, and similar.