12 Jul

What Canadian Banks Allow Online Gambling ?

Learn which Canadian banks allow online gambling and the methods of deposit and withdrawal they accept.

To answer this question, we must first look at Canadian financial institutions with base operations located here in the True North. It’s okay if the card issuer has additional offices in the US, so long as the main office is headquartered on Canadian soil. There are five major financial institutions that comprise this list. Known as the ‘Big Five Banks of Canada, they include:

  • Bank of Montreal (BMO) (✓) Allows Play at RoyalVegas.ca
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) (✓) Allows RoyalVegas.ca
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) (❌)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) (❌)
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) (❌)

(✓= payments allowed to local & international sites)

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This may not seem like a lot of banking options, but I assure you, it is. They comprise thousands upon thousands of branches all across the country. Even BMO – the smallest among them – has over 900 branches across Canada, with more than 7 million customers in its ledger.

Of these ‘Big Five’, however, only two Canadian Banks allow online gambling payments to/from both local and international casino websites. They are Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

RBC, Scotiabank and TD Bank, on the other hand, expressly state in their terms that international internet gambling transactions ‘will be’ or ‘may be’ declined. They will transact deposits to provincially regulated online gambling operations, but not the overseas variety.

This table defines the short of it, noting which of the Big Five Banks of Canada support payments to local (provincially regulated) online casinos, and international online casinos.

Big Five Banks of CA
Local Online Casinos
Int’l Online Casinos

Next up, we’ll take a quick look at the current, textual and contractual evidence, as provided in the cardholder and/or account holder terms and conditions, by each of these banks. We’ll start with…

Canadian Banks That Allow Online Casino Deposits w/ Offshore Operators

As previously determined, only two of Canada’s Big Five Banks – BMO and CIBC – are perfectly willing to process online casino payments for their members, even at internationally regulated gambling websites. They believes that what you do with your money is, in effect, your own business.

Here’s what they have to say about the matter.

BMO Relates Gaming with Cash-Like Transactions

BMO associates online gambling payments, locally or internationally, with “cash-like transactions”. Here’s what a multitude of their cardholder and user agreement documents state:

cash-like transactions mean transactions involving the purchase of items that are similar to and/or can be converted into cash. Cash-like transactions include but are not limited to: wire transfers, money orders, travellers cheques, casino gaming chips and gaming transactions (including betting, off-track betting and race track wagers), securities, government owned lottery tickets, court costs (including alimony, child support), fines, bail, bond payments and tax payments”.

CIBC No Longer Restricts Online Gambling Deposits

Unlike the rest of Canada’s Big Five, CIBC does not mention online/internet gambling in its user agreement, whatsoever. This was not always the case. A few years ago, transactions relating to online gambling were expressly limited. But now in 2021, CIBC no longer seems to take issue with these types of transfers.

The fact that previous restrictions were removed is indicative of CIBC’s recognition of legal iGaming in Canada, with both domestic and international gambling websites.

Which brings us to…

Big Five Banks that Don’t Allow Online Gambling Outside Canada

RBC, Scotiabank and TD all state that gaming purchases may be declined. We’ve taken a microscope to each of their T&Cs to show what they will and won’t (or might not) allow. This information is current as of mid-2021.

What the below context boils down to is this. Members of RBC, Bank of Nova Scotia and TD who reside in British Columbia and Manitoba can use their bank account to fund gaming at Playnow.com. Members in Ontario can deposit at PlayOLG.com, and those in Quebec can transfer funds to Espacejeux.com. Account holders in any of the Atlantic provinces can facilitate transfers with the Atlantic Lottery’s online casino, ALC.ca, just as Albertans can transfer money to PlayAlberta.ca. But if any RBC/Scotiabank/TD account holder, anywhere in Canada, attempts to use their account to fund an international online casino account, the payment will (most likely) be declined. You can find an extended canadian banking list here, to see if your credit and debit cards are supported.

RBC Online Gambling Deposits Restricted to Local Only

The Royal Bank of Canada will happily process your online gambling deposits, but only if they’re going to provincially authorized and regulated online casinos.

The RBC Personal Account User Agreement states:

…we reserve the right to prevent your Account from being used for certain types of transactions as determined by us, including transactions connected to internet/online gambling, except for internet/online gambling related transactions which are offered through a lawfully established provincially run lottery corporation in Canada;”

Scotiabank Says ‘No’ to Online Gambling Abroad

The Bank of Nova Scotia, aka Scotiabank, will only facilitate online gambling payments in which the deposit is going to one of Canada’s provincially regulated iGaming websites. Payments to/from an international online casino are not supported.

Scotiabank outlines its stance in a variety of ways, including this statement, found in the very first paragraph of its membership notice, entitled General Information about Personal Accounts:

We reserve the right to prevent use of your account without notifying you in advance if we suspect illegal, unauthorized or fraudulent use of the account, including transactions relating to illegal internet gambling.”

For clarification, online gambling is not “illegal” in Canada. However, this clause applies because when the activity occurs with an operator located outside of Canada, it is considered “unauthorized”.

Scotiabank Gift Cards and Prepaid Cards are also prohibited from use for online casino deposits. The Scotiabank Visa Prepaid Card Holder Agreement clearly states:

Only online gambling transactions conducted at gaming sites owned and operated by Provincial/Territorial Governments/agencies can be authorized. All other online gambling transactions will be declined.”

Like RBC, payments to locally regulated gambling sites are accepted, but offshore online casino payments are off limits.

TD Bank Internet Casino Deposits

TD Canada Trust – the personal banking division of TD Bank that remains headquartered in Canada – has multiple user and cardholder agreement documents that state internet gambling transactions may get declined. Its rules state:

We may block use of the Card or the Account without telling you in advance if we suspect illegal, unauthorized or fraudulent use of the Account. This includes transactions relating to Internet gambling or where we have any other reasonable grounds to do so.”

While some payments do make it through, don’t be surprised if your online casino deposits are rejected by TD Bank, even if you’ve had success depositing in the past.

Accepted Canadian Bank Payment Methods

If you hold an account with any of the above listed Canadian banks that allow online gambling transactions – BMO or CIBC – you have several handy options for making payments. These include credit/debit cards, eChecks, other EFT-style payment options, including bank transfers, Interac, Trsutly, and online banking in general.

Each of these banks can issue Visa credit cards to their account holders. Visa cards are acceptable forms of payment at just about every online casino in existence. Feel free to use them for deposits. Likewise, Visa debit cards are available to all account holders. that are also eligible for use at most online gambling sites.

eCheck / EFT deposits are the equivalent of writing a paper cheque, but without the paper and pen. They work by entering the bank’s name, transit number and institution number, along with your bank account number; all things found on your paper cheques. Again, the payments are instant, but you cannot use it for withdrawals.

Bank transfers are another popular form of deposit. Plus, you can often use them to facilitate withdrawals. The biggest problem with a bank transfer is that it may come with a sizable fee. You’ll need to ask your bank about that. And when it comes to withdrawals, there may be rather high ‘minimum cashout’ requirements, sometimes running as high as $500+. Bes sure to check the online casino’s cashier policies to confirm that information.

Alternative Payments for Non-iGaming Banks

If you’re a member of RBC, Scotiabank, TD Bank, or any other North American financial institution that doesn’t take kindly to online gambling related fund transfers, you still have a few options. Of course, you could open an account with another bank that allows iGaming payments, but that’s not necessary. Here’s a list of alternative payment methods you can use, even if your bank doesn’t allow online casino deposits.

Instadebit / iDebit payments are a great way to fund your online casino account through just about any Canadian bank, without having to worry about declination. These are trusted third-party processing entities that ensure the money gets where it needs to go – without telling your bank where it’s going to, or coming from.

Web Wallets like Neteller, Paypal and Skrill are another good alternative to direct banking. With a web wallet, you can upload funds from your bank, then transfer those funds to the online casino. When you request a withdrawal, you’ll send the money right back into the eWallet. From there, you can transfer it back into your bank. It will take a few extra days to move all that money around, and yes, there are fees for using some of their services, but you can’t beat eWallets for reliability.

Crypto Currency is another option that’s becoming more and more popular in the global internet gambling community. Crypto includes a wide range of digital coins (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Tether, etc.) Dealing in crypto is different than traditional forms of money. We suggest having a looking at the following guide for more information: What Canadian Banks Support Crypto Coin Buying?

Online gambling can be a sore subject in Canada. Players love it, and many provinces encourage their citizens to participate at their respective, self-regulated iGaming websites. At the same time, those governments disdain the use of international online casinos. It’s not illegal, mind you, but it sure cuts into their provincial cash flow.

Since internet gambling isn’t illegal, you might assume that all Canadian banks support online gambling payments. That is not the case. Most financial institutions headquartered here in Canada – emphasis on most – have no problem facilitating online gambling deposits and withdrawals. They may, however, disprove of doing so with offshore operators. Then there’s the bank’s headquartered to the south, operating under regulation of our American neighbors. They’re the ones that have been throwing the biggest wrench into it for years.

Why Are Canadian Banks Wary of iGaming Transfers?

The problem started with a now-antiquated piece of US legislation known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA. Enacted in late 2006, the UIGEA made it illegal for US banks to knowingly facilitate monetary transfers for international (i.e. illegal) online gambling websites. Simply put, the US government failed to enforce illegal online gambling, so it laid the blame, and threat of penalty, on its own banks.

As a result, many US-based credit card companies put a quick stop to it. They refused to process any payment in connection with online gambling, for fear of getting in trouble with the federal government. Unfortunately, even if you live in Canada, you won’t be able to use certain credit cards, such as a Chase-branded Visa, to deposit at an online casino. The transaction will be declined, leaving you searching for an alternative deposit method.

As you may know, American laws have changed in the last 15+ years. Several US states now offer legal, regulated online casino gambling, just like most provinces of Canada. You would expect this to alleviate the problem, but it hasn’t. With internet gambling still illegal in many US states, most financial companies would prefer to keep their blanket-ban on iGaming payments, than risk facilitating an illegal transfer.