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Sports Betting in Canada: The Kahnawake Region

Aaron Gray

by Aaron Gray

Updated Aug 6, 2020 · 11:10 AM PDT

The Kahnawake Mohawk territory is a Canadian First Nations reserve of 8,000 people, located just a stone’s throw from Montreal off the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Despite its small geographic area, most bettors don’t realize that the Kahnawake Territory is an influential hub of online sports betting.

How Long has Sports Betting Been Legal in Kahnawake Territory?

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission  was established in 1996, ushering in a new age of legal sports betting in North America. The commission is responsible for the regulation and administration of all online sports betting matters in the region, and has played an instrumental role in licensing, regulating, and facilitating online sportsbooks across the globe.

What Rules Do Sportsbooks Have to Comply With?

Before being granted a license, applicants have to follow the regulatory practices pioneered by the Kahnawake region. Many of these are now standard practices across the industry.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission requires all software to meet strict Control System Submission requirements, continuous compliance with the region’s financial regulators, and accordance with Anti-Money Laundering conditions.

Every transaction on a sportsbook exceeding a value of $10,000 USD must be reported. There are also multiple conduits for sportsbooks to report and investigate any suspect or fraudulent activity. The Kahnawake employ multiple agents to assist them in this process.

The Kahnawake Commission deserves credit for proper oversight of the legal financial operations of sportsbooks within their jurisdiction. The multiple agencies they employ to oversee each sportsbooks’ financial transactions also go a long way in ensuring bettors receive prompt payouts.

Sportsbooks in the Kahnawake Region Have Fast Service

Sportsbooks setting up within the Kahnawake region also benefit from access to Mohawk Internet Technologies (MIT).  As a local data center hosted entirely within the territory, MIT manages nearly all of the sportsbooks within Kahnawake.

MIT provides a considerable amount of bandwidth to sportsbooks, making their services a fast and responsive option for North American sports bettors. This ensures that North American users can access sites that operate much faster than their competitors.

Combined with a low tax rate and unimpeded access to prospective bettors around the world, MIT makes the Kahnawake region extremely appealing for sportsbooks.

The Kahnawake Gambling Commission also offers access to a customer dispute center, connecting bettors to the staff of the appropriate sports betting site. This has dramatically improved the efficiency and effectiveness of sportsbooks’ customer service operations.

The Kahnawake Licensing Region Is Constantly Improving

The Kahnawake Gambling Commission actively tries to improve its practices, often collaborating with other regulatory bodies within the online sports betting landscape. In 2005, the Commission entered into an agreement with the Financial Services Regulatory Commission of Antigua and Barbuda, through a memorandum of understanding. They made a similar pact of cooperation with the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta in 2006.

These cooperative agreements ensure a more secure and predictable environment for bettors wherever they place their wagers.

Interested in learning more about how sportsbooks operate, and where they’re licensed from? Check out the rest of our guide to sports betting legality.

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