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The Hanukkah merch market has exploded. But are Jews feeling more represented?

(JTA) — It was early November when Nicholas Wymer-Santiago walked into his local Target in Austin, Texas, and realized it was beginning to feel a lot like Hanukkah.

Instead of an endcap with a limited array of Hanukkah basics, as he had seen in past years, there stretched out a whole aisle of holiday products: pillows; dreidel-shaped pet toys; window decals; menorahs in the shape of lions, corgis and whales; and so much more. Even the $5-and-under impulse-buys section filled with seasonal products had a supply of Hanukkah goods, including a Star of David-shaped bowl and a set of dishes labeled “sour cream” and “applesauce.”

“In a good way, it was overwhelming at first, because there’s so much and I kind of want to buy it all,” Wymer-Santiago recalled feeling as he stood in the holiday section, looking up at a large photograph of a Hanukkah celebration alongside others showcasing Christmas.

The higher education administrator at the University of Texas decided to limit himself, at first taking home just a tea towel and a matching mug printed with a Hanukkah motif.

“And then I came back twice, maybe three times and each time I bought more and more items that I know I probably don’t need,” he said. “I think I’ve just had so much excitement about the novelty of it all, and having the ability to purchase these items, many of which I’ve never seen before.”

Wymer-Santiago is hardly alone in loading his cart with Hanukkah merchandise. Across the United States, big-box stores appear to be stocking more Hanukkah products than ever — and while off-color items such as Hanukkah gnomes and “Oy to the World” dish towels have raised eyebrows, the real story might be that American retailers have decked their shelves with menorahs, tableware and other items that are appropriate, affordable and often downright tasteful.

For many American Jews, the result is a sense of inclusion at a time of unease — although some are wrestling with what it means to have access to a fast-fashion form of Judaica.

“It is very exciting to go into Target or Michaels or a Walmart and to see Hanukkah merchandise,” said Ariel Scheer Stein, an influencer who shares crafting and holiday content for Jewish families on Instagram, where she has more than 20,000 followers.

Social media influencers in Miami, New York City and Denver respond to the flood of Hanukkah products at their local Target shops in 2022. (Instagram/@jamwithjamie/@cupofjo)

“The feeling is almost like pride and like we’re being seen and represented,” Stein added. “In a sea of Christmas … it feels really great, even if it’s a much smaller representation, that the Jewish holiday is there also and the Jewish community is being acknowledged and represented.”

The idea that retailers have stocked up on Hanukkah goods to make Jews feel represented is tempting, but it’s probably not the only reason for a shift in the market, according to Russell Winer, deputy chair of the marketing department at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He said that while an endcap — the small set of shelves at the end of an aisle — might sometimes be given over for symbolic purposes, the devotion of an entire aisle at the busiest time of the year is purely a business decision.

“These stores are very sophisticated in what they put in them,” Winer said. “They’re not going to put stuff on the shelves, especially at the holidays, if they don’t think they’re going to sell.”

There are signs that the Hanukkah market might be much wider than the proportion of Americans who identify as Jewish, 2.5%, would suggest. Numerator, a respected consumer trends polling firm, found in a survey of 11,000 consumers conducted in January 2022 that 14% of respondents said they were “definitely” or “probably” celebrating Hanukkah this year, compared to 96% for Christmas. More than half of the Hanukkah celebrants said they expected to spend more than $50 on the holiday — suggesting that retailers can expect hundreds of millions of dollars in Hanukkah spending this year.

Part of that marketplace is the growing number of families in which Hanukkah is celebrated alongside other holidays, usually Christmas. Most American Jews who have married in the last decade have done so to people who are not Jewish, according to the 2020 Pew study of American Jews; most of them say they are raising their children exclusively or partly as Jews. They may want to have products that allow Hanukkah to share the stage equitably with the other celebrations in their family.

“I’m not terribly surprised from a cultural standpoint that there’s more merchandise,” said Winer, who is Jewish. He said he and his wife had purchased Hanukkah stockings for their grandchildren, who are being raised in two faith traditions. (Evangelical Christians and Messianics, those who adopt Jewish practices while believing in the divinity of Jesus, also represent an emerging market for Jewish ritual objects.)

Stein offered another theory to explain the uptick in interest in Hanukkah products: the fact that social media and Zoom meetings have made home lives more transparent than ever.

“The communal sharing of lives, whether you’re an influencer or even my friends on Facebook showing what their display is this year or taking a picture of a recipe they were really proud of, making latkes from scratch — there’s just more visibility than there has been in the past,” she said. “And that’s probably a factor.”

Whatever the reasons, shoppers are noticing. Like Stein and countless other Jewish influencers, Rabbi Yael Buechler, a devoted observer of Jewish consumer trends, has offered tours of Hanukkah merchandise to her social media followers. Wearing Hanukkah pajamas that she designed and sells, Buechler has posted 14 videos to TikTok showcasing the Hanukkah collections of national retailers and assigns each store a “yay” or “nay” based on several metrics, including whether items display accurate Hebrew or appear to be generic blue-and-white items being passed off as made for the holiday. The videos, which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, have given her a broad view of what’s available to the Hanukkah consumer.


Welcome to the second installment of Hanukkah merch: YAY or NAY? .@target edition .Items were rated by:If the product was beyond blue & white Correct Hebrew Whether the Hanukkiyah was kosher If the Hanukkah pun was goodWhether animal was Hanukkah punnable (i.e. Menorasaurus) .#hanukkahiscoming #hanukkahfails #hanukkahcountdown #hanukkahyayornay #yayornay #hanukkah2022 #targetfinds #hanukkahpresents #hanukkahpjs #hanukkahgifts #hanukkahcheck #chanukah2022

♬ Oh Hanukkah – Maccabeats

“I see a lot more products this year than any other year,” said Buechler, who works at a Jewish school outside New York City. “I see a lot of new prints. I see more creativity in the market. I see more humor in the market.”

Like Wymer-Santiago, Buechler said Target, which has 2,000 locations across the United States, stood out as offering the widest array of products and the lowest proportion of “fails,” or products that miss the mark religiously, culturally or aesthetically.

“They have really stepped it up,” Buechler said. “Target also carries the Nickelodeon ‘Rugrats’ Hanukkah sweatshirts that are just brilliant. … I would definitely say they get the biggest ‘yay’ for this year.”

Target, which has a track record of using inclusive imagery in its advertisements and in-store promotions, declined to answer questions about its offerings, including how much bigger its Hanukkah collection is this year than in the past and how widely the products for Jewish buyers have been distributed. But a spokesperson said the feeling Wymer-Santiago and Stein described after visiting their local stores is exactly what the company is trying to cultivate.

“Target is committed to creating an inclusive guest experience in which all guests feel represented,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. The spokesperson noted that Target’s Hanukkah assortment “was developed in collaboration with Jewish team members and input from our Jewish employee resource group” and crosses several of the retailer’s in-house brands.

One of those lines, Opalhouse by Jungalow, was created by a Jewish artist, Justina Blakeney. Last year, Blakeney’s first Hanukkah collection included plates and pillows, as well as a gold menorah shaped like a dove. This year, Blakeney added new pillow designs and a clay menorah.

Target’s website prominent promotes Hanukkah products, including from a house brand by a Jewish creator named Justina Blakeney. (Screenshot)

“If I could go back in time and tell elementary-school-aged Justina (or ‘Tina’ as I was called back then) that I would have a chance to design a Hanukkah collection for Target, I would have lost my mind,” she wrote in an October blog post revealing the collection.

Hanukkah goods have always been widely available through Jewish merchandisers and at synagogue bazaars — but those products have been available only to people who already engaged in Jewish communities. Amazon and other online retailers have increased access, but only for people who are hunting for Hanukkah supplies. A Hanukkah aisle at Target, in contrast, reaches the many Jews who may not already have robust holiday traditions.

Stein, who said she particularly regretted not snapping up a marble dreidel sculpture that quickly sold out at Target, said she saw only benefits in promoting major retailers’ Hanukkah offerings, even if doing so has made her something of an unpaid advertiser at times.

“Right now, especially with the rise of antisemitism, if there are ways that we can spur Jewish joy — and for me, that’s by sharing and inspiring people with different kinds of Hanukkah merch and home decor and jewelry — I think that’s great,” she said.

Not everyone is thrilled by the shift in the marketplace. The sweeping Hanukkah displays are drawing criticism from those who have long lamented that the American primacy of Christmas has caused Jews to focus too much on a minor holiday, while leaving holidays with more religious significance relatively uncelebrated.

“I think: What would it feel like to see a giant Shavuot display?” Wymer-Santiago said.

The fast-fashion aspect of the big-box retailers’ offerings, many of which are imported from China, also raises concerns about whether easy access to trendy Judaica comes at environmental and cultural costs.

“How about we don’t extract fossil fuels to make crap that no one needs and that makes Jewish communities less distinctive?” asked Dan Friedman, a writer and longtime climate activist, though he emphasized that systemic change, rather than tweaks to purchasing decisions by Jewish consumers, is needed to avert climate catastrophe.

For Buechler and others, the benefits of a mass-market Hanukkah merchandise boom outweigh any possible drawbacks.

“As a rabbi, I am all for anything that will make Hanukkah celebrations more engaging and potentially lengthen a family celebration,” said Buechler, who said her own collection had outgrown the four tubs it occupied several months ago, and that one of her favorite purchases was of a Hanukkah sweater for lizards that she bought for a friend’s guinea pig.

“I really do believe that owning different kinds of Hanukkah merch, whether apparel or otherwise, will increase the likelihood that a family will celebrate with friends with family for more nights than they would have last year,” she added.

Nicholas Wymer-Santiago takes a selfie showing off his menorah collection, mostly acquired at his local Target in Austin, Texas. (Courtesy of Wymer-Santiago)

Wymer-Santiago plans to celebrate the holiday with his family in Ohio, meaning that he will be leaving behind much of this year’s Target haul in his Austin apartment: the device that makes dreidel-shaped waffles, the window decals that advertise the holiday to passersby, the giant dreidel-shaped jar that he has filled with, well, dreidels. He said he planned to make room in his suitcase for at least one item: a $5 menorah that reminds him of his dog.

Wymer-Santiago said a piece of him worried that Target was taking advantage of his excitement about Jewish representation, the way it has been criticized for doing around LGBTQ Pride celebrations, to sell him stuff he doesn’t need.

“Every time I buy something from Target in general, but definitely for Hanukkah, I think about this,” he said. “But then I think: This thing is so cute. And I just need it.”

The post The Hanukkah merch market has exploded. But are Jews feeling more represented? appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Hating Israel Isn’t New; How the CIA and State Department Undermined the Jewish State

“Teddy Roosevelt’s great-great-great grandson is an anti-Israel protester at Princeton,” blared a New York Post headline on May 4, 2024.
The Post reported that Quentin Colon Roosevelt, an 18-year-old freshman, and descendant of the 25th President, is an anti-Israel activist at the Ivy League university. But far from being hip and new, Quentin’s brand of anti-Zionism is old hat — he is merely continuing a long family tradition of anti-Israel activism.
There is an abundance of literature on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s views on Jews and Zionism, the belief in Jewish self-determination. Both FDR and his wife Eleanor had made antisemitic remarks. In a private conversation in 1938, then-President Roosevelt suggested that by dominating the economy in Poland, Jews were themselves fueling antisemitism. And in a 1941 Cabinet meeting, FDR remarked that there were too many Jewish Federal employees in Oregon. In his final days, FDR promised Saudi leader Abdul Aziz Ibn al Saud that he would oppose the creation of Jewish state in the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland.
FDR is the president who led the United States to victory against Adolf Hitler. He also employed Jews in high-ranking positions in his government. But he is also the president whose administration failed to save more Jews fleeing Nazism, and who refused to bomb the railway tracks leading to Auschwitz and other death camps where millions of Jews met a ghastly end. Accordingly, it makes sense that his beliefs regarding Jews have been the subject of books and belated study.
Less examined, however, is the Oyster Bay branch of the Roosevelt clan, and their beliefs regarding Zionism. In part, this is easily explained by the unique place that FDR holds in American history. He is the only president to serve four terms, and presided over both the Great Depression, World War II, and arguably the beginning of the Cold War. His branch of the family, the Hyde Park Roosevelts, were Democrats and remained active in public life for decades after his 1945 death.
At first glance, the Oyster Bay Roosevelts were more of a turn of the 19th century affair. They were Republicans, and their scion was Teddy Roosevelt, a war hero turned governor of New York state who, thanks to an assassin’s bullet, found himself as the nation’s leader in 1901.
The famously ebullient Roosevelt helped redefine the country’s idea of a president, and served as an inspiration for his cousin Franklin. But Teddy largely presided over an era of peace and tranquility, not war and upheaval.
Teddy was a philosemite. He was the first occupant of the Oval Office to appoint a Jewish American to the Cabinet. He championed the rights of Jews, both at home and abroad, and was harshly critical of the numerous pogroms that unfolded in czarist Russia.
As Seth Rogovoy has noted, Roosevelt’s “special relationship with Jews was forged during his time serving as police commissioner in New York City, a post he assumed in 1904.” When an antisemitic German preacher named Hermann Ahlwardt gave speeches in the city, Roosevelt assigned a contingent of Jewish police officers to guard the man.
Roosevelt was also a Zionist. In 1918, shortly after the Balfour Declaration, he wrote: “It seems to me that it is entirely proper to start a Zionist state around Jerusalem.” He told Lioubomir Michailovitch, the Serbian Minister to the United States, that “there can be no peace worth having … unless the Jews [are] given control of Palestine.” Six months later Roosevelt died in his sleep.
Not all his descendants would share his belief in Jewish self-determination, however.
Two of Teddy Roosevelt’s grandchildren, Kermit and Archie, served their country in the CIA during the early years of the Cold War. Both were keenly interested in Middle East affairs, and were fluent in Arabic. Both were well read and highly educated, authoring books and filing dispatches for newspapers like the Saturday Evening Post, among others.
They were also prominent anti-Zionists.
Kermit Roosevelt, known as “Kim,” played a key role in anti-Zionist efforts in the United States and abroad. He was not, by the standards of his time, an antisemite. But he was ardently opposed to the creation of Israel.
As Hugh Wilford observed in his 2013 book America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East: “the anti-Zionism of the overt Cold War foreign policy establishment is well known” but “less widely appreciated is the opposition to Jewish statehood of the individuals responsible for setting up the United States’ covert apparatus in the Middle East.”
This began with the OSS, the CIA’s precursor. And it included men like Stephen Penrose, a former American University of Beirut instructor, and Kim Roosevelt’s boss during his wartime service in the OSS.
“Documents among Penrose’s personal papers reveal him engaged in a variety of anti-Zionist activities at the same time that he was commencing his official duties with the OSS,” Wilford notes.
Like many of his fellow Arabists, Penrose was the son of American missionaries who, failing to convert the native population to Christianity, sought to foster Arab nationalism instead. Penrose described himself as a “chief cook” who was “brewing” opposition to Zionism. He became one of Kim Roosevelt’s mentors.
In a January 1948 Middle East Journal article entitled, “Partition of Palestine: A Lesson in Pressure Politics,” Kim called the 1947 UN vote in favor of a Jewish state an “instructive and disturbing story.”
Roosevelt believed that the US media was unduly supportive of the creation of Israel, and claimed that almost all Americans “with diplomatic, educational, missionary, or business experience in the Middle East” opposed Zionism.
Kim’s pamphlet was reprinted by the Institute for Arab American Affairs, a New York-based group whose board he sat on. He also began working with the Arab League’s Washington, D.C., office and “turned elsewhere for allies in the anti-Zionist struggle, starting with the Protestant missionaries, educators, and aid workers.”
This nascent group soon received financial support from the American oil industry, which maintained close links to Kim’s OSS/CIA colleague, William Eddy.
As Wilford noted, the Arabian consortium ARAMCO “launched a public relations campaign intended to bring American opinion around to the Arab point of view.”
In addition to missionaries and big oil, Kim gained another important ally in the form of Elmer Berger, a rabbi from Flint, Michigan. Berger served as executive director of the American Council for Judaism, an anti-Zionist group that, among other things, opposed the creation of a Jewish army during World War II at the height of the Holocaust. Berger and Roosevelt became drinking buddies and close collaborators on their joint effort against the Jewish State.
Kim eventually became “organizing secretary” for a group called The Committee for Justice and Peace. The committee’s original chair, Virginia Gildersleeve, was both a longtime friend of the Roosevelts of Oyster Bay and the dean of New York City’s Barnard College, which today is part of Columbia.
Gildersleeve was “also a high-profile anti-Zionist” who “became involved with the Arab cause through her association with the Arabist philanthropist Charles Crane and the historian of Arab nationalism George Antonius.”
Crane, a wealthy and notorious antisemite, had lobbied against the creation of a Jewish state since the beginning of the 20th century, even advising then-President Woodrow Wilson against supporting the Balfour Declaration.
By 1950, the Committee had managed to recruit famed journalist Dorothy Thompson to their cause. Thompson was reportedly the basis for actress Katharine Hepburn’s character in the 1942 movie Woman of the Year. A convert to anti-Zionism, Thompson’s extensive network of reporters and celebrities proved crucial to Kim and Berger’s efforts to rally opposition to the Jewish State. In a 1951 letter to Barnard College’s Gildersleeve, Thompson wrote: “I am seriously concerned about the position of the Jews in the United States.” People, she claimed, “are beginning to ask themselves the question: who is really running America?”
Another ally emerged that year: the Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA began funding the Committee, as well as its successor, the American Friends of the Middle East (AFME). Beginning in June 1950, Kim’s correspondence with Berger began making veiled references to the ACJ head taking on “official work” in Washington. This, Wilford believes, is a reference to working with the CIA. Indeed, the well-connected Kim and Archie Roosevelt had known top CIA officials like Allan Dulles since childhood.
With support from figures like Eddy, AFME also began encouraging Muslim-Christian alliances — ostensibly to counter Soviet influence, but also to attack the Jewish state. This led to some awkward alliances, including with Amin al-Husseini, the founding father of Palestinian nationalism and an infamous Nazi collaborator.
Husseini had ordered the murders of rival Palestinians, incited violence against Jews since the 1920s, and had led forces, equipped with Nazi-supplied arms, to destroy Israel at its rebirth in 1948. Now, along with the Secretary General of the Arab League, and Saudi King Ibn Saud, he was meeting with Eddy to discuss a “moral alliance” between Christians and Muslims to defeat communism. Kim himself knew Husseini, having interviewed him for the Saturday Evening Post after World War II.
AFME lobbied for the appointment of anti-Zionist diplomats and in favor of Eisenhower administration efforts to withhold aid from Israel. And both Berger and Thompson pushed for favorable coverage of the new Egyptian dictator, Gamal Nassar, who would wage war on the Jewish state for nearly two decades. Initially, they were successful, with TIME magazine writing that Nasser had the “lithe grace of a big, handsome, all-American quarterback.” Of course, there was nothing “all-American” about Nasser, who would become a Soviet stooge.
AFME officials like Garland Evans Hopkins would draw rebukes after claiming that Jews were bringing violence against themselves — a staple of antisemitism. Hopkins claimed that Zionists “could produce a wave of antisemitism in this country” if they continued acting against “America’s best interests in the Middle East.”
AFME itself would eventually lose influence, particularly after its boosting of figures like Nasser was revealed as foolhardy. Berger would go on to advise Senator J. William Fulbright (D-AR) in his efforts to get pro-Israel Americans to register as foreign agents.
In 1967, as Arab forces gathered to annihilate Israel, Berger blamed the Jewish State, accusing it of “aggression” and its supporters of “hysteria.” Top ACJ officials resigned in protest. That same year, Ramparts magazine exposed CIA support, financial and otherwise, of AFME.
Kim and Archie Roosevelt, however, would continue their careers as high-ranking CIA officers before eventually starting a consulting business and making use of their extensive Middle East contacts.
For some college protesters, attacking Israel — and American support for Israel — might seem new and trendy. Yet, both the CIA and big oil were precisely doing that, decades ago, forming alliances with anti-American dictators, antisemitic war criminals, the press, Protestant groups, academics, university administrators, and fringe Jewish groups claiming to represent “what’s best” for American Jewry.
As William Faulkner once wrote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
The writer is a Senior Research Analyst for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis
The post Hating Israel Isn’t New; How the CIA and State Department Undermined the Jewish State first appeared on Algemeiner.com

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Canada’s economic growth projected to be about 1% in the first half of 2024

Canada is a country with a thriving Jewish community and has traditionally offered the security of a strong economy for residents. The national economic outlook is naturally something that everyone in Canada’s Jewish community keeps track of – especially those involved in business in the various provinces.

With this in mind, the July 2023 Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada made for interesting reading, projecting a moderate economic growth figure of around 1% for the first half of 2024. This is in line with growth figures that had been forecast for the second half of 2023, and sees the country’s economy remain on a stable footing.

Steady projected growth for first half of 2024

Although projected economic growth of around 1% in early 2024 is not as impressive as figures of around 3.4% in 2022 and 1.8% in 2023, it is certainly no cause for alarm. But what might be behind it?

Higher interest rates are one major factor to consider and have had a negative impact on household spending nationally. This has effectively seen people with less spending power and businesses in Canada generating less revenue as a result.

Interest rate rises have also hit business investments nationally, and less money is being channelled into this area to fuel Canada’s economic growth. When you also factor in how the weak foreign demand for Canadian goods and services has hit export growth lately, the projected GDP growth figure for early 2024 is understandable.

Growth in second half of 2024 expected

Although the above may make for interesting reading for early 2024, the Bank of Canada’s report does show that economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. This is projected to be due to the decreasing effect of high interest rates on the Canadian economy and a stronger foreign demand for the country’s exports.

Moving forward from this period, it is predicted that inflation will remain at around 3% as we head into 2025, and hit the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 2% come the middle of 2025. All of this should help the country’s financial status remain stable and prove encouraging for business leaders in the Jewish community.

Canada’s economic growth mirrors iGaming’s rise

When you take a look at the previous growth figures Canada has seen and also consider the growth predicted for 2024 (especially in the second half of the year), it is clear that the country has a vibrant, thriving economy.

This economic growth is something that can be compared with iGaming’s recent rise as an industry around the country. In the same way as Canada has steadily built a strong economy over time, iGaming has transformed itself into a powerful, flourishing sector.

This becomes even clearer when you consider that Canadian iGaming has been a major contributor to the sustained growth seen in the country’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which rose by around 1.9% in Q2 of 2023. The healthy state of online casino play in Canada is also evidenced by how many customers the most popular casino platforms attract and how the user experience these operators offer has enabled iGaming in the country to take off.

This, of course, is also something that translates to the world stage, where global iGaming revenues in 2023 hit an estimated $95 billion. iGaming’s global market volume is also pegged to rise to around $130 billion by 2027. These kinds of figures represent a sharp jump for iGaming worldwide and show how the sector is on the ascent.

Future economic outlook for Canada in line with global expectations

When considering the Canadian economic outlook for 2024, it is often useful to look at how this compares with global financial predictions. In addition to the rude health of iGaming in Canada being reflected in global online casino gaming, the positive economic outlook for the country is also broadly in line with expectations for many global economies.

Global growth is also predicted to rise steadily in the second half of 2024 before becoming stronger in 2025. This should be driven by the weakening effects of high interest rates on worldwide economic prosperity. With rate cuts in Canada already expected after Feb 2024’s inflation report, this could happen in the near future.

The performance of the US economy is always of interest in Canada, as this is the country’s biggest trading partner. Positive US Q2 performances in 2023, powered by a strong labor market, good consumer spending levels and robust business investments, were therefore a cause for optimism. As a US economy that continues to grow is something that Canadian businesses welcome, this can only be a healthy sign.

Canada set for further growth in 2024

Local news around Canada can cover many topics but the economy is arguably one of the most popular. A projected GDP growth figure of around 1% for Canada’s economy shows that the financial state of the country is heading in the right direction. An improved financial outlook heading into the latter half of 2024/2025 would make for even better reading, and the national economy should become even stronger.

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The Legal Landscape of Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling has grown in popularity around the globe in recent years. While many jurisdictions have legalized land-based gambling, it hasn’t applied to online platforms. Nonetheless, Canada is one nation that has legalized online gambling with their provinces’ licensing and regulating sites.

Nonetheless, Canadians of legal age can enjoy playing their favourite online games where available. So many games like slots, blackjack, and roulette still maintain their popularity even in the digital sense.  Want to learn about what’s legal in Canada for online gambling? Let’s take a look.

What is legal for online gambling in Canada?

What is the best online casino in Canada? The list we provide you here should be a good start. It’s also important to note that most Canadian provinces do not have laws that prohibit offshore online casinos.

Many provinces provide licensing to online casinos. They even regulate them as well. For example, Alberta and British Columbia have sites regulated by their respective governing bodies. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) allows legal online gambling and oversees the services it offers to Maritime provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, there are some caveats to address. In Newfoundland and Labrador, online gambling that is not offered by the ALC is considered illegal. Therefore, it is the only Canadian province as of 2024 that prohibits offshore options.

In terms of the legal age, there are three provinces where the legal age is 18: Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The remaining provinces establish 19 as the legal age for gambling including online.

Who are the regulatory bodies for gambling in Canada?

At the Federal level, the Canadian Gaming Association is the regulatory body for gambling in Canada. Thus, they cover both land-based and online gambling in the country. There are also provincial and regional regulatory bodies such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) – which covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. A handful of provinces also have their regulatory bodies covering lottery and gaming.

Canada requires online casinos that wish to accept players from the country to adhere to regulations and licensing. These licenses are provided by provincial regulatory bodies. When licensed, online casinos must follow the regulations and security standards.

However, there is the belief that many of the laws about gambling in Canada may be outdated. This could be because these laws were created long before the advent of the Internet. Therefore, such laws may need to be modernized. Nonetheless, online gambling for the most part is legal, just dependent on the province.

Are there any legal grey areas to discuss?

The grey area that is considered a concern pertains to the use of offshore sites. As mentioned earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador is believed to be the only province that prohibits it. Even online casinos with no licensing by Canadian or provincial authorities accept residents of the country.

On the players’ end, many Canadians are allowed to play at online casinos. However, they may be restricted from certain platforms. This is to ensure that the players themselves are protected from unknowingly playing on platforms that may be illegal. 

What are the other laws and regulations about online gambling in Canada?

Online casinos have implemented measures for responsible gambling. This includes providing support and resources to problem gamblers on their site. They are also restricted regarding the marketing and advertising aspects of promoting their platform. 

One restriction of note is that marketing that is targeted at minors is prohibited. Another prohibits professional athletes from appearing in online casino ads in Ontario.

Even offshore casinos must adhere to these laws and regulations. Especially if they have obtained a license from the provincial bodies that allow them to operate.

Canada’s online gambling is legal – but will things change

As it stands right now, the legality of online gambling in Canada seems to fall under the purview of provincial laws and regulations. Canadian citizens must perform their due diligence further to see which online casinos are allowed by their respective provinces. Just because it may be legal in one province, it may not be the same in others.

Nonetheless, the question is: will any laws relax certain restrictions? Will Newfoundland and Labrador change their tune regarding offshore casinos? It’s unclear what the future holds – but watch this space for any changes about online gambling in Canada.  

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