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Gambling Tax In Canada

Gambling tax in Canada 2023

A common question asked by online gamblers is whether they must pay taxes on casino winnings. Luckily, Canadian laws are in their favour, but there are exceptions. Find out more here...

How is gambling taxed?

Gambling-related activity can't be taxed because it's not a regular source of income and isn't derived from employment, property or other viable sources. Gambling isn't considered a business and most Canadians don't make a living on their winnings.

Are gambling winnings taxable in Canada?

No. According to paragraph 40(2)(f) of the Income Tax Act, Canadians do not have to pay taxes on gambling winnings from the likes of horse racing, sports betting, lotteries, online casinos and other games of chance. However, if you earn interest on your winnings, this is taxable, and you must legally declare it via a T5 form. Not declaring this interest could result in severe fines.

How can you withdraw money from a casino?

Withdrawing money from a casino in Canada is a relatively simple process. The specific steps may vary depending on the casino and your chosen method of withdrawal.

First, you'll need to log into your casino account and navigate to the “cashier” or “banking” section. From there, you'll be able to select the “withdraw” option and choose how you'd like to receive your funds.

Common withdrawal methods include:

  • E-wallets - PayPal or Skrill, for example, offer fast and secure online transactions as well as instant payouts.
  • Credit or debit cards - The likes of Visa and Mastercard are convenient options that offer relatively fast payouts.
  • Bank transfers - These can take longer than other methods but are a reliable way to receive your funds.
  • Cryptocurrency - Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, are becoming more popular among online casinos and players.

Some casinos have limits on how much you can withdraw at one time and may require you to verify your identity before processing a withdrawal. Once you've completed the necessary steps, the casino will process your withdrawal request, and the funds should be available in your account within a few days. For additional information on withdrawal processes and the fast-withdrawal operators, check out our updated list of online casinos with fast payout times.

Do professional gamblers have to pay income tax?

You might have wondered what qualifies you as a professional gambler. Well, if you gamble full-time (online or offline) and make a living from it or are motivated by profit, you're considered a professional and will be required to file taxes. Other factors that indicate you're a professional gambler are:

  • Gambling is your main source of income
  • You've been earning money for an extended period
  • You practise regularly and have specialist gambling knowledge
  • You often attend tournaments and travel to gamble
  • Your gambling pursuits are highly organized

Professional poker players, blackjack players or any other professional gambler are viewed as operating their own business and this form of income is taxable in Canada. However, this same business can accumulate significant losses which reduce income. Favourably (though we stress the importance of paying due taxes), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is slow to assess and audit people whose source of income comes from gambling. If the CRA started to forcefully tax pro players, there could be a very damaging domino effect throughout the country.

Do you pay tax on lottery winnings in Canada?

No, you don't have to pay tax on most lottery winnings from the likes of Lotto Max or 649 as these are defined as “windfall” or “luck-based” winnings. This also applies to most winnings sponsored by charitable lotteries or sweepstakes. The CRA does not tax lottery winnings as the “luck” factor indicates that there was no prior expectation of profiting. However, any income generated on your winnings via a non-registered investment or account is subject to taxation. Examples include:

  • Bank account interest earned on lottery winning
  • Dividends earned from interest on lottery winnings in stocks or mutual funds (also applies to Capital Gains made if you shelve or sell the investments)

If you're lucky enough to land a windfall and want to invest, there are tax-free saving accounts (TFSA) which we recommend looking into further.

Do you pay tax on gambling winnings in the USA?

US citizens must pay almost half of any gambling winnings to the tax man. If you head over to the land of red, white and blue to gamble, you'll have to pay taxes on anything over $1,200 USD. Not declaring it is not an option as when you cash out, 30% is automatically deducted. However, if you're a Canadian citizen legally working in the USA, you can deduct any gambling losses which occurred in the states and receive a relative tax refund.

Canadian gambling tax summarised

  • Recreational Canadian gamblers don't pay taxes on their winnings
  • Full-time/professional Canadian gamblers are required to file taxes
  • If you gamble and win in the USA, you must declare it
  • Lottery winnings aren't taxable unless interest is earnt
  • These are our top casinos to try as a Canadian gambler

Our disclaimer

Though we do have gambling expertise, the Casino.ca team isn't comprised of lawyers. We recommend consulting reputable tax resources or a consultant for further guidance and keeping up to date with ever-changing laws.

Gambling taxes FAQ

Are online gambling winnings taxable in Canada?

As stated at the top of this page, gambling winnings are not taxable in Canada unless the player is deemed professional, or the player is earning income on the winnings. This applies to both online gambling and offline gambling.

Can you write off gambling losses in Canada?

Only players deemed professional gamblers can write off gambling losses and claim business expenses such as travel and entry costs. Recreational players don't get tax deductions on losses.

How do I prove gambling losses?

Writing off your gambling losses in Canada can be extremely difficult, as this is possible only if you are recognised to be a “professional gambler” - and the standard for businesslike behaviour in this context is very high. If you think you may meet the requirements, we advise you to contact a tax lawyer and have a professional guide you through the process.

What happens if a Canadian wins money in Vegas?

If a Canadian wins money in Vegas but doesn't live in the US, they can recover taxes on winnings at a tax rate of 30%.

What is the punishment for gambling in Canada?

The Criminal Code of Canada lays down the law for perceived illegal gambling offences. The more serious gambling-related offences carry prison terms of around two years, while “lesser” crimes carry prison terms of around six months, along with a $5,000 fine.

Is $1,000 gambling winnings taxable?

It depends. You won't have to pay taxes on gambling winnings, including high payouts, in Canada unless you're a professional gambler. Read more about how this is defined by scrolling up this page.

Tax resources

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