Big Canada Banks that Allow Online Gambling in 2024

If you’re reading this now, it’s likely because you’ve experienced the frustration of having a payment rejected, a common issue with Canada’s “Big Five” banks. Despite the fact that online gambling is legal in the country, both with provincially-run online casinos and internationally regulated ones, many of our major banks still refuse to process eCheck or credit card transactions to or from your preferred online gambling destinations.

To address this puzzling situation, we’ll provide a concise explanation. But first, let’s get to the information you’re seeking:

Assessment of Canadian Banks for Gaming-Friendly Deposits by eCheckCasinos.ca (December 12th 2023)

Big Five Banks of CanadaLocal $Global $
Bank of Montreal (BMO)
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBD)*
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)*
ScotiaBankX
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)X
*Payments are expressly restricted, but some get through anyway.

* Source: Table information and essential bank acceptance data retrieved from debitcardcasino.ca.

The above charts shows Canada’s ‘Big Five‘ banks. We see that payments to Local (provincially-regulated) online casinos are supported by all banks. Payments to Global online casinos (regualted outside Canada) are not readily available. That’s the short of it, anyway. Unfortunately, it’s not so cut and dry as that.

As the little asterisk under the table states, not all payments get through to global gaming sites. The truth is, only one Big Five Bank of Canada allows all gambling payments to offshore casino websites, and that’s BMO.

Here’s another chart that shows just how likely a payment is to get through. Again, we’ve separated them by Provincial Online Casinos (Local) and International iGaming websites (Global).

Odds of eCheck Gambling Payment Acceptance by Bank

 

Big Five Banks of CanadaLocal $Global $
Bank of Montreal (BMO)100%98%
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBD)100%50%
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)100%20%
ScotiaBank100%0%
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)100%0%

Once more, we see that all banks support gambling deposits and withdrawals at Local (provincially regulated) online casinos, 100% of the time. However, the acceptance rate drops significantly as you go down the list for Global (internationally regulated) online gambling payments.

As you can see, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) is the only bank with a remarkably a high acceptance rate for Global iGaming. 98% isn’t perfect, but it’s awfully close to it; far higher than any of its competitors. Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada (CIBC) has a variable stance, in which debit/credit card deposits are generally okay, but withdrawals are not. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) prohibits these payments in its terms, but seems to let about 20% of them slip through, anyway. ScotiaBank and TD Canada simply won’t do it.

We’ll talk more about how and why each of Canada’s major banks allow online casino deposits in paragraphs to come. Before that, let’s take a quick look at why the Big Five are so important, and how iGaming transactions became taboo in the first place.

Why Only the Big Five?

 

We can’t possibly cover every bank, credit union and financial institution across the country, and expect to keep up with the ever-changing policies. What we can do is cover more than 90% of Canada’s banking system by detailing the iGaming transaction rules for the Big Five. These companies are so large, their branch networks encompass the vast majority much of the nation’s financial market, as they have for half a century now. So no, we can’t cover them all, but there’s at least a 90% chance we’re covering yours.

Why Banks Don’t Like iGaming Transactions

 

This isn’t just a Canadian problem. It actually started south of here on January 1, 2007. That’s when the U.S. began enforcing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). That piece of legislation was meant to ban online gambling in the US. However, the government had no way of enforcing this law against iGaming operators. So instead, they threatened to penalize financial institutions for facilitating transactions with iGaming sites. And so the banks-against-iGaming revolution began…

Why is their problem ours, you ask? We could blame the American-based credit card companies that issue the vast majority of credit/debit cards for Canada’s banks. Or, we could blame our Big Five for branching out into the U.S. in the first place. They all have offices south of the border, serving Americans as readily as they do Canucks. But in reality, it’s the sheer laziness of these banks that’s to blame.

Bear with me a moment, and it’ll all make sense…

Visa, the largest card issuer on the planet, calls Foster City, California its home. MasterCard hosts its head office in Purchase, New York. Both are American companies, subject to American laws. Canada’s Big Five banks all have U.S. offices, subject to the very same laws.

This does not mean Canadian banks don’t have the right to facilitate online gambling transactions on their home turf. What it means is that they must write separate rules for domestic and foreign customers. I don’t mean adding notes to the terms and conditions that say “(US customers only)” here, and “(Canada customers only)” there. I mean actual separate terms for each of their services, in each country. To date, only BMO has gone the extra mile to do it. The rest were – for lack of better verbiage – too lazy.

Online Gambling Payments – By the Banks

 

Here we’ll take a magnifying glass to each of the Big Five banks of Canada, and the relative fine print that rules their card services.

  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Canada)

 

Best Choice – Bank of Montreal for Online Gambling

 

BMO is the first choice – the only choice – for all-inclusive online gambling payment support. BMO is currently the only member of the Big Five that proudly processes Canadian credit/debit card transactions for international online gambling sites. Users can send deposits and request withdrawals without worry.

Within its terms, BMO defines iGaming payments as “cash-like transactions”. They are no different than a travelers cheques or money order; the purchase of which can be converted to cash. It’s stated directly in the fine print of the BMO Cardholder Agreement:

“…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…”

BMO Cardholder Agreement (05/20)

Update: Since late 2021, we’ve begun hearing reports that BMO is rejecting some iGaming payments. It’s not often by any means, but it is happening. The problem seems to revolve around players making frequent deposits and withdrawals to high-profile gambling websites.

Our best advice is to stay under the radar. Limit transactions to no more than two per week, to a single online casino. Avoid making payments to multiple gambling websites in the same 7-day period.

If you continue to experience problems with BMO, we suggest switching from card payments to Interac. See our BMO Alternative Payment Methods section below for more information.

ScotiaBank for Gambling Online – Local Only

 

The Bank of Nova Scotia is strictly opposed to facilitating any transfer between Canadian customers and foreign online gambling websites. They make this very clear in the opening paragraph of their customer handbook, which bluntly states:

“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.”

ScotiaBank Day to Day Banking Companion Handbook (2018)

I know what you’re thinking. “But, internet gambling is not illegal in Canada.” You’re right. But there’s two problems. First of all, gambling at international websites falls under the category of unauthorized. Second, ScotiaBank is one of those “lazy” financial institutions I spoke of above. They’ve been operating under the terms of the U.S. government’s UIGEA since June 1, 2010, when they invoked this policy:

“Effective June 1st, 2010, Scotiabank will be required to comply with the [UIGEA]…intended to restrict unlawful wagering via internet gambling sites by blocking restricted transactions…In order to comply with these new requirements, Scotiabank has implemented Visa’s Internet Gambling blocking service, which will result in the decline of all online ‘card-not-present’ gambling credit card transactions.”

ScotiaBank Internet Safety & Security Commercial Card Resource Centre

While Scotiabank is happy to process payments for Provincial Lottery Corp online casinos, account holders in Canada looking to gamble at offshore sites will need to use one of these ScotiaBank Alternative Payment Methods to do it.

CIBC Gambling Restrictions Impact Withdrawals

 

CIBC outlines its stance against online gambling payments in its credit and debit card holder agreements. Personal bank accounts, however, aren’t explicitly restricted. For debit card holders, the agreement states:

“Restricted Transactions: Your CIBC Advantage Debit Card cannot be used to receive credits for online gambling transactions, wire transfers, money transfers or gains/dividends from investment instruments.”

CIBC Cardholder Banking Service Agreement, Section 7-g

In September 2018, the credit card agreement’s Prohibited Use of Card section was updated to read:

“We may block Transactions that we can identify as internet gambling.”

There’s good news and bad news, though. The good news is that CIBC rarely blocks outgoing credit/debit transactions to international gaming websites. The bad news is, the same can’t be said for withdrawals. So, members of CIBC should have no problem depositing with a debit card, but withdrawals will need to be processed via one of these CIBC Alternate Payment Methods.

RBC Int’l Online Gambling Payments Rarely Execute

 

RBC is one of Canada’s strictest banking institutions when it comes to blocking internet gambling payments. They don’t just place discretionary restrictions on gambling transactions, like most of the Big Five. They go so far as to expressly permit transfers to/from provincially-run online gaming sites only.

“…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…”

RBC Personal Deposit Accounts (2020)
*The first portion of this restriction is repeated, almost word for word, in the RBC Prepaid Card Agreement (2014) and RBC Credit Card Agreement (2021).

There have been some slip ups on their part. Based on user data, we estimate about a 20-30% success rate for international casino debit card depositors; far less for withdrawal attempts. However, there are many options that still work flawlessly, including these RBC Alternate Payment Methods.

TD Canada Rejects All Global iGaming Transfers

 

TD Canada is the hardest financial institution to slip an unauthorized deposit by. We know of no successful attempts in recent years. Like BMO, its cardholders terms of service define gaming/betting as cash-like transactions. However, the fine print goes on to restrict transactions related to unauthorized gambling.

“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.”

TD Cardholder Agreement & Benefit Coverages Guide

As strict at TD Bank is about rejecting credit/debit card deposits to international gambling sites, there’s good news too. You won’t have to switch banks to gamble at foreign online casinos. All you have to do is choose one of these TD Alternative Payment Methods, such as Interac, iDebit or ecoPayz.

Alternative Payment Methods – How To Get Around Banks Rejecting Online Gambling Payments

 

There’s a very easy way to get around this all-too-common problem. Don’t use a credit card or debit card for online gambling. Instead, use one of the many alternative payment methods (APMs). There are a lot to choose from, each with their own valuable qualities. The main categories include:

  • Instant Banking Methods similar to eCheck
  • Web Wallets / eWallets
  • Prepaid Cards & Vouchers
  • Bank Wires & Cheques

 

Instant Banking Methods

 

These include methods like InstaDebit, iDebit, and Canadian exclusive Interac eTransfers. These are all common deposit methods. Likewise, instant bank wire transfers are almost always available for withdrawals.

Interac eTransfers get the highest recommendation. They are quick, easy, incredibly secure, and – despite the payment network being run by the Big Five – never raise any red flags.

Web Wallets / eWallets

 

Another alternative is to utilize an eWallet. Most of us are familiar with PayPal, or maybe Neteller and Skrill. But those eWallets no longer serve Canada for iGaming purposes. Fortunately, ecoPayz and MuchBetter do. These virtual web wallets let you can upload funds for depositing at hundreds of online casinos. For ultimate convenience, you can link your eWallet right to your bank account for instant depositing, without the hassle or delay of moving funds first.

Web wallets are an equally convenient, low-cost choice for receiving online casino cashouts. Once the money hits your eWallet, you can transfer your winnings from there, right into your bank, without fear of any rejection notice.

Prepaid Cards & Vouchers

 

Prepaid cards and vouchers are another good choice for quick, easy deposits that won’t be rejected. Canadians have access to a number of quality prepaid options. Paysafecard, Vanilla Visa, NeoSurf, AstroPay and Flexepin are among the most accessible. These cards are great for depositing at offshore gambling sites, but are rarely (if ever) eligible for cashing out.

You can buy a prepaid gift card at pretty much any retail location, from the corner service station to major department stores. Most of them can also be bought online as a virtual voucher. The only real difference is that virtual vouchers can only be used online.

Bank Wires & Cheques

 

These are what we like to call “last resort” options for cashing out winnings. If no other eligible withdrawal is available, one of these should do the trick. If your bank accepts them, you can request a bank wire transfer (a.k.a. international bank wire). It could cost you more than a few dollars to do it, though. Or, the casino might cover the cost, so long as the withdrawal is large enough. Alternatively, you can almost always request a cheque by mail. It may take a week or two to arrive, but it’s as good as cash to any bank.

APM Availability by Canadian Bank (includes eCheck-like options)

 

This last section will help you find the best alternative payment methods to/from international online casinos for each Big Five bank branch.

  • D” = Eligible for Deposits only
  • W” = Eligible for Withdrawals only
  • D+W” = Eligible for Deposits and Withdrawals
  • n/a” = Not eligible, or eligibility unknown

 

PaymentsBMOCIBCRBCSBTD
Interac eTranferD+WD+WD+WD+WD+W
iDebitD+WD+WDDD+W
InstaDebitD+WD+WD+WD+WD+W
ecoPayzDD+WD+WDD+W
MuchBetterD+WD+Wn/an/an/a
PaysafecardDDDDD
NeoSurfDDDDD
Vanilla VisaDDDDD
AstropayDDDDD
FlexepinDDDDD
Bank Wiren/aWn/an/an/a

It may be worth noting that APMs are often the subject of special bonus promotions at online casinos. Knowing what promos are available at your favorite iGaming website may help you decide which payment is right for you.

Author

  • Donna Dorsa

    Donna Dorsa is a veteran practitioner of the linguistic arts. As an independent writing and editing professional, she's spent more than 15 years researching and playing an active role in the world's ever-evolving iGaming industry. The daughter of a novelist and electrical engineer, her passions include creative literature, mathematics, game theory, and sitting around the table with her family for a good old-fashioned card or board game. In her spare time she runs a 3D printer business from home. Here is her Patreon. You can read her bio on Muckrack and find her socials on our meet the team page.

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