What Are The Best Ontario (CA) Online Poker Sites in 2023?
Online poker became legal in Ontario on April 4, 2022. In this article we'll tell you everything you need to know about where to play online poker tournaments in Ontario, if poker is legal in Ontario, as well a guide to the best legal poker rooms to play in Ontario.
Legal Poker Rooms in Ontario
Which Online Poker Sites Can I Play At in Ontario?
Thankfully, for Ontarians, several major online poker sites have successfully applied for and obtained the relevant gaming license from the Ontario authorities. This means those of you who used to play at one of the major online poker sites can head to their Canada-specific sites at 888poker Ontario, partypoker Ontario, PokerStars Ontario, and GGPoker Ontario, and continue enjoying your favorite games.
888poker Ontario was the first of this stellar quartet to launch its online poker offering in the province. 888poker Ontario opened its doors to the public on April 4, 2022, which is the date the new online poker rules and regulations came into force in the province of Ontario.
The launch of 888poker Ontario has proven popular thanks to the site offering freeroll tournaments, exciting cash games, its popular BLAST fast-fold games, and daily tournaments that are dripping with value. 888poker Ontario players can enjoy the feature-rich downloadable client as those playing on dot-com, or choose to use the fantastic Android and iOS app for intense, fun poker on the move.
partypoker Ontario followed suit rather quickly, launching its product on April 12, 2022. Those of you who loved playing in the Daily Legends tournaments at partypoker.com can continue doing so at partypoker Ontario; they have C$400,000 worth of combined weekly guaranteed prize pools.
BetMGM Ontario is another option for Ontarians to choose. BetMGM and PartyPoker share player pools, which means there is plenty of cash game and tournament action at both sies.
New Ontario Online Poker Rules
Rules and regulations out by the AGCO and iGO state any Ontarian wishing to play legal online poker must do so in a ring-fenced player pool. This means Ontario residents can only play poker online against other players physically located in Canada's largest province. As a result, online poker giants such as PokerStars Ontario, partypoker Ontario, 888poker Ontario, and GGPoker Ontario, have created specific online poker clients where Ontarian grinders are segregated from the global dot-com player pool.
While the poker sites operating legally in Ontario are essentially carbon copies of their dot-com versions, naturally, the number of players — often called a site's traffic — will be lower than playing on dot-com sites. That said, those with an AGCO license are still offering a wide variety of cash games and tournament poker, with all planning on hosting online poker tournament festivals in the coming weeks and months.
Two other key rules stand out for Ontarians. First, all cash games and tournaments will be played using Canadian Dollars instead of United States Dollars which are the industry standard. Second, the legal gambling age in Ontario is 19-years-old, a year older than most of the dot-com countries.
What Poker Games and Formats Can You Play in Ontario?
A reduced player count aside, Ontario online poker players should be able to find their favorite poker games and formats on all licensed poker sites. Cash games, sit & go tournaments, and multi-table tournaments are already up and running.
Texas Hold'em is by far the most popular poker variant, followed by Pot-Limit Omaha, so expect to find these two games in abundance. The busier poker sites will also spread other games including Seven-Card Stud, H.O.R.S.E., and other mixed games, although PokerNews expects the games offered to depend entirely on players' demands.
You can, of course, also play a selection of Casino games at the best online casinos in Ontario.
Do Canadian Players Need to Provide Personal Information to Online Poker Sites?
The AGCO and iGO are extremely keen on responsible gambling and reducing the potential harm or problem gambling. With this in mind, each Ontario online poker site has a raft of responsible gambling features, including but not limited to limiting the amount of time spent playing, deposit and loss limits, in addition to the ability to self-exclude from games.
Know Your Customer (KYC) has become increasingly strict in the dot-com world and is expected to continue for Ontario poker players. At the very least you need to supply your real name, date of birth, postal address, telephone number, and email address. Expect operators to request photographic evidence, such as bank statements and passports, to verify your details are legitimate.
Is playing at PokerStars legal in Ontario?
Yes, absolutely! PokerStars Ontario is one of the industry leaders in the online poker world and an operator who has more licenses around the world than any other gaming company. It should, therefore, not be surprising to discover that PokerStars is one of the online poker sites that is legal in the province of Ontario.
To jump directly into the action on PokerStars Ontario, click below.
Can I play 888poker in Ontario?
888poker Ontario was one of the first online poker sites operating legally in Ontario. It launched on April 4, 2022, with its desktop client and its fantastic, feature-rich mobile app. 888poker wasted no time in creating a raft of value-packed promotions for its Ontario customers to enjoy.
In addition to its online poker operation, 888 also launched legal casino and sports betting products under the names 888casino and 888sports.
You can access the flashy 888poker Ontario client by clicking the direct link below.
Is GGPoker available to play in Ontario?
GGPoker has joined forces with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and will power the WSOP.ca poker client. This special joint venture should make it possible for Ontario's poker players to be able to win their way into major live poker tournaments such as the WSOP Main Event. Check it out below.
Is partypoker Available to Play in Ontario?
partypoker Ontario is one of the longest-running online poker sites and one of the first online poker rooms to legally operate in Ontario. partypoker launched in Ontario in mid-April 2022 and players in the province are flocking to the site. partypoker Ontario offers a wide selection of multi-table tournaments, cash games, fast-forward cash games, and jackpot SPINS.
Can I play at BetMGM in Ontario?
Yes! BetMGM Ontario is fully licensed and regulated to operate in Ontario, meaning you can enjoy busy cash games and epic tournaments from home. BetMGM and PartyPoker share a special relationship that allows them to share traffic, which gives you even more choice when it comes to playing online poker.
Which other poker operators can we expect to see in Ontario?
In addition to PokerStars Ontario, PartyPoker Ontario, WSOP.ca, and 888poker Ontario, a raft of online poker operators is expected to launch in Ontario in the near future. Unibet has stated it has applied for a license with the AGCO.
Playtech, owners of the iPoker Network, is ready to offer an online poker network in Ontario. Earlier this year, Playtech partnered with Northstar Gaming. While the partnership is primarily focused on sports betting and casino products, there is every chance Playtech will offer B2B services if Northstar Gaming wishes to offer online poker. Although Playtech is yet to debut in the lucrative United States market, the press release in January does explicitly mention poker.
What banking options are available to online poker players in Ontario?
The banking options offered by Ontario online poker sites, casinos, and sports betting operations differs from site to site and is based on the deal those operators have with payment providers. Online gaming operators know the importance of having a variety of deposit and withdrawal options available to their players; they want players to move their funds with relative ease.
Major debit cards, powered by Visa and MasterCard, are the obvious choices and tend to be the staple methods of every merchant globally. Expect bank transfers, e-wallets such as PayPal and Skrill, and prepaid cards to become available either at April 4, 2022, or soon after.
It is worthwhile reading the Ontario poker room reviews here at PokerNews for more banking information in addition to contacting the various offshore operators' customer support teams for more information. You will find they are as accommodating as they can possibly be.
What is Happening With Online Poker in Ontario?
The legality of playing online poker in Ontario has been something of a grey area for several years. While not technically illegal, it was not entirely legal either. That changed on April 4, 2022, when the Ontario government gave the green light for companies to offer online poker, casinos, and sports betting in the province.
Online poker, online casinos, and sports betting on the internet all became 100% legal providing the operator has received a license and entered into an operating agreement with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario (iGO).
Operators wishing to offer services to Ontarians must be licensed by the AGCO. The AGCO created a subsidiary called iGaming Ontario (iGO) which oversees everything online gambling-related. Dozens of established gambling operators, including PokerStars, 888poker and the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the last-named powered by GGpoker, have had their Ontario gaming licenses accepted.
What is the Legality of "Free To Play" Poker Sites and Casinos?
Free To Play poker and casino sites are still fully legal to play in Ontario despite the recent rule changes. They remain legal because they are either completely free to play, are subscription-based, or use a sweepstakes model to award prizes.
Ontarians wishing to try their luck in free-to-play online casinos are more than welcome to play at Slotomania, PokerStars Play, House of Fun, and many more. These free-to-play online casinos do not offer real money prizes, just the excitement of slots and casino games, so are permitted almost anywhere in the world.
What is the Tax Situation for Online Poker Players in Ontario?
The AGCO and iGO are still fine-tuning the rules and regulations regarding their licenses, so some things are currently undecided. Taxation is one such area that needs confirmation. Tax on land-based casinos is currently 55%, which would not be an attractive proposition for online operators if the AGCO deployed a similar taxation rate.
However, the regulators have already gone on record to say they are committed to creating a competitive environment that promotes getting Ontario players to play on licensed sites.
Should the AGCO go down the route of taxing poker players, casino game players, or sports bettors, expect operators to 100% comply with the rules and take care of this automatically, much like PokerStars currently does for its Greek players. PokerNews will bring you any tax-related information once it learns of it.
Are sports betting and online casinos allowed in Ontario?
The passing of the new online gambling laws in Ontario paved the way for licensed operators to offer sports betting and online casino games to players residing in Ontario. PokerStars and 888casino already have a presence in Ontario while more than a dozen operators launched on April 4, 2022. Figures show more than 30 operators have applied for sports betting and casino licenses, and more will follow in the coming weeks and months.
The AGCO has created some new rules regarding online casinos, some of which have caused a stir in the online casino community. First, all bet amounts, etc must be displayed in Canadian dollars and not as credits. Auto-play on slots is also banned, as are any measures to speed up the gameplay.
Each slot's spin must take 2.5 seconds and split-screen or multi-screen slot games are no longer permitted. Operators are also banned from celebrating losses disguised as wins. Sometimes, a player will "win" $1.50 after spending $2 on a spin. The machine then plays a tune and animation to celebrate the victory. This is no longer permitted if you want to offer slots in Ontario.
Are Ontario poker rooms segregated?
Segregating or ring-fencing Ontario players is one of the key terms and conditions of obtaining an operating license in the province. Essentially, this means anyone playing poker in Ontario is only able to play against other Ontario residents.
Of course, there is scope to change this in the future and create a multi-state agreement, much like the existing one in the United States between Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey, although the AGCO nor the iGO have even mentioned this.
Such a multi-state agreement already exists in Canada because British Colombia, Manitoba, and Quebec players are part of one. It makes sense from a player's perspective to have a larger player pool to compete against, and from an operator's point because they receive larger revenues. Therefore, it makes sense for the AGCO, too, because it would receive more tax revenue. Watch this space.
What makes Ontario different from other Canadian provinces?
Ontario residents have already had access to online gaming, but not online poker, which was provided entirely by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). Three other provinces, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Loto Quebec also have online gaming; PlayNow.com operates in the first two provinces with LotoQueubec.com servicing the latter. All three offer online poker but only to Canadians located in those three provinces.
Where Ontario differs from the others is it is allowing private companies to compete in an open marketplace. OLG finds itself in a position where it could partner with an online poker operator and attempt to join a pact with the other three provinces, essentially creating a four-way network.
Ontario Online Poker F.A.Q.
Is online poker legal in Ontario?
The legality of online poker in Ontario was a grey area for a long time, but since April 4, 2022, all online gambling, including poker, casino games, and sports betting is 100% legal for Ontario residents.
Have online poker sites launched in Ontario?
The Ontario poker community is large, so online poker operators are falling over themselves looking to secure the custom of Ontarians. PokerStars Ontario, GGPoker Ontario, partypoker Ontario, and 888poker Ontario are just four of the companies offering legal online poker in the province.
What poker formats and variants can I play online in Ontario?
The online poker sites available in Ontario are almost carbon copies of the online poker sites you used to play at. Expect to see cash games, sit & go tournaments, and multi-table tournaments. As for variants, you will find No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha at the very least, with some of the larger poker sites spreading mixed games including Seven-Card Stud and other specialist games.
Do I need to provide personal information to play Ontario online poker?
Every licensed gambling site, including Ontario online poker platforms, require at least some basic personal information to play there. You will need to provide your name, date of birth, postal address, and email address. In addition, be prepared to send the poker site's customer support team documentation to verify this information.
Can you win real money with online poker in Ontario?
Yes! All the best online poker sites in Ontario are licensed to offer real money online poker. This means you can continue winning money while playing online poker in Canada.
What banking options are available for online poker in Ontario?
Each poker site has different banking options for making deposits or withdrawals. At the very least you can use debit and credit cards, bank wire transfers, and prepaid cards. Some accept digital wallets such as Skrill and PayPal. Look in the cashier section of your favorite site or contact the site's customer support team for full clarification.
What online poker sites are available in Ontario?
The number of online poker sites offering Ontario residents their services is continually growing, with an increasing number of operators successfully applying for an Ontario gaming license. PokerStars Ontario, 888poker Ontario, and GGPoker Ontario (who have partnered with the World Series of Poker) are just three of the major "dot com" online poker sites currently available to poker players in Ontario.
Are other forms of online gambling legal in Ontario?
Yes they are! Ontario residents can now enjoy online poker, online casinos, and even sports betting safe in the knowledge that they are not breaking any rules or laws.
What is the tax situation for Ontario online poker?
There is currently no tax-related information regarding regulated online poker in Ontario. However, if that changes, expect poker operators to fully comply with the terms of their licenses. It is worthwhile hiring an accountant if you play poker professionally as your main or only source of income because you may be liable to pay tax
How do I play online poker in Ontario?
The online poker sites available to Ontario residents are state-of-the-art and run perfectly on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, the latter usually in the form of a dedicated Android or iOS-powered mobile app. You must be physically located in the province of Ontario and the laws state you must be at least 19-years-old to legally play online poker in Ontario.
What’s the best online poker site for real money in Canada?
What Canadian players consider the best online poker site is a matter of opinion and depends entirely on the individual and their preferred poker games. The best way to find the perfect Ontario online poker site for you is to read the reviews here at PokerNews and sign up for a free account. You can then see the games and stakes offered, how busy each online poker site is, and the various promotions the real money poker rooms offer.
Can I play legal online poker in Toronto?
Toronto is the capital city of Ontario, which means Toronto poker players can play legal online poker by playing at one of the online poker sites that have obtained a gaming license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). If an online poker room is listed on PokerNews as offering real money poker in Ontario, you can 100% guarantee it is legal for you to play there.
Is PokerStars banned in Ontario?
No, PokerStars is not banned in Ontario. Indeed, PokerStars Ontario, which is one of the largest online poker sites on the planet, is one of the major players to receive an operating license from the AGCO. Real money games are available to Ontarians at PokerStars.
Is 888poker banned in Ontario?
888poker Ontario is not only not banned but was one of the first Ontario online poker sites. It launched on April 4, 2022, when the new rules for Ontario poker players came into force.
Is GGPoker banned in Ontario?
GGPoker Ontario is not banned in Ontario. However, GGPoker has partnered with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) to offer real money online poker to Ontario poker players. WSOP.ca is powered by the GGPoker software, which many consider to be the best in the business.
Is partypoker banned in Ontario?
partypoker is not banned in Ontario because it has a license to operate in the province. partypoker Ontario launched on April 12, 2022, and is only available to poker players physically located in Ontario.
A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.