Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada? — A Comprehensive Guide

Online gambling is a pastime loved by many people all around the world. In response to incredible demand, many countries have regulated online gambling and made it available to their citizens in recent years. 

People in Canada are no exception. Many of them like casino games, sports betting, and other legalized forms of gambling. If you’re in Canada and want to try your luck, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the country’s gambling rules. 

So, is online gambling legal in Canada? We’ve included everything you need to know about online gambling in Canada in this guide. Read on to learn how online gambling works in this great country.

The History of Gambling Laws in Canada

Gambling has a long and fascinating history in Canada. Games played with sticks and bones thousands of years ago, developed for spiritual and community purposes, are most likely the origins of gambling in this region.

In the 1990s, the fast advancement of computer and internet technologies had a significant impact on gambling. 

The first online casinos were launched, signalling the beginning of a new era. Because few people owned computers at the time, the number of people who gambled online was initially very small. Another primary concern was the absence of regulations regarding legal online gambling in Canada and other nations. 

Countries worldwide began to establish rules to control the ever-expanding online gambling sector in their own countries one by one. Now, a few decades later, gambling is prevalent in Canada, and playing in online casinos is simpler and faster than ever before.

Gambling is legal in Canada in some forms, although the 10 provinces and three territories all have the authority to determine their own specific rules. Aside from Quebec and Alberta, where you can gamble once you turn 18, the minimum gambling age in Canada is 19.

All racetracks, casinos, lotteries, and other gaming establishments must abide by the rules of the province or territory in which they operate. Certain types of gambling are legal in some parts of Canada and illegal in others, and varying age restrictions apply.

Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada Nowadays?

Online gambling was illegal in Canada until fairly recently. However, the government has since modified its laws, and today Canadians can play their favourite casino games at home. So there’s your answer to the question: “Is online gambling legal in Canada today?”

In Canada, there are two gambling laws: the First Nations Law and the Provincial law. The provincial law gives each province or territory control over the regulation of online gaming. As a result, some local regulations are more restrictive than federal laws.

In 1995, the First Nations Gaming Act became law. It allows indigenous tribes and communities to create gaming establishments. It also enables them to run online gambling websites.

Canadian Gambling Laws for the Provinces

Canada is divided into 10 provinces, each of which is a self-governing body with power delegated by the federal government to the various lieutenant governors. Any significant changes in this arrangement necessitate a revision of the country’s constitution.

Ontario

Let’s start with the gambling laws in Ontario. In Ontario, there are more than 25 land-based casinos, ranging from privately owned to government-run charitable establishments. The minimum gambling age in Ontario is 19

Slot machines can also be found at racetracks and other specified sites, in addition to casinos. From Ottawa to Fort Erie, racetracks provide quarter horse, standardbred, and thoroughbred racing.

Ontario gambling laws allow players to use the PROLINE service to wager on various sports through the internet or in person at a lottery center. 

Furthermore, Ontario is home to one of North America’s largest lottery networks, which is great news for everyone who’s of legal age to gamble in Ontario. Bingo, along with several lottery games, generates the most significant gaming revenue in Ontario.

Quebec 

Quebec online gambling laws regulate online gambling under the Loto-Quebec organization. The Espacejeux website, which is the only authorized online gaming platform controlled by the Quebec Alcohol, Racing and Gaming Commission, was established for this purpose.

Espacejeux is not only a poker website; it also offers lotteries, casino games, skill games, and bingo. In other words, any type of gambling that’s allowed in Quebec could now be accessible on the official website, including sports betting. To play any of these games online, the minimum gambling age in Quebec is 18.

Nova Scotia

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation is responsible for video and ticket lotteries, as well as other charitable gambling activities like bingo. Nova Scotia has two land-based casinos, both of which are government-owned. 

Inverness Raceway, Truro Raceway, and Northside Downs are the three licensed horse racing tracks in Nova Scotia. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation uses the PROLINE system to allow residents to wager on sports. 

Although the province does not have its own gaming sites, people can access thousands of offshore casinos and sportsbooks without fear of legal repercussions. 

Moreover, at approximately 300 licensed retailers, there are over 2,700 video lottery terminals. The legal gambling age in Nova Scotia is also 19.

New Brunswick

The Criminal Code of Canada governs gaming in Canada. Gambling is therefore illegal unless it is organized and supervised or licensed by the province where it occurs.

As required by Canada’s online gambling laws, the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gambling Corporation (NBLGC) is responsible for the conduct and management of all provincial gaming under the Gaming Control Act. 

The Gaming, Liquor, and Security Licensing Branch, established under the Act as a branch of the Department of Justice and Public Safety, is in charge of provincial gaming regulation and control, as well as charitable gaming regulation, management, and licensing.

Manitoba

The Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation, part of the provincial government, is in charge of gambling regulation in Manitoba. It oversees legal online gambling, tribal casinos, and the licensing and monitoring of lotteries. In Winnipeg, this crown company also operates two casinos.

British Columbia

Adults in B.C. can participate in various gambling activities, including:

  • purchasing lottery tickets
  • gambling online
  • playing casino games
  • betting on horse racing

The minimum gambling age in B.C. is 19. Minors are not permitted to enter a gambling establishment or engage in any form of gambling.

Prince Edward Island

Like those of numerous other provinces, Prince Edward Island’s gaming regulator is the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. This government agency monitors all other land-based and internet gambling activities in the province and runs its own online and land-based betting platforms.

In Prince Edward Island, online gambling legality has now become a thing. The majority of gamblers in Prince Edward Island prefer to play at offshore gambling sites, as making wagers through websites operating outside of Canada is permissible under Canadian legislation.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Within the province’s borders, Newfoundland and Labrador permits most forms of gaming. In the province, the following types of gambling are currently legal:

  • lottery
  • video lottery terminals
  • charitable gaming
  • horse racing
  • sports betting
  • online gaming

Saskatchewan

The minimum gambling age in Saskatchewan is 19. If you live in this part of the country, these are the legal gambling options that are now available:

  • lottery
  • video lottery terminals
  • casinos
  • online gambling
  • sports betting
  • charitable gaming
  • horse racing

Alberta

Alberta gambling laws allow for legalized gambling in several forms. These include casinos, video lottery terminals, bingo, racetracks, sports gambling (via the Sport Select platform), and lotteries. 

These forms of gambling are lawful because they are subject to government regulations.

Is Internet Gambling Legal in the Territories?

In addition to the provinces, Canada also has three territories: Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. While legal games of chance are scarce in these areas, they can be found if you know where to search.

Yukon

Fortunately, the Gambling Act of Canada still applies to Yukon. That means gambling on C.A. sites is entirely lawful here. Many Canadian provinces and territories have developed their own gaming websites, which the government administers. 

Many overseas gambling sites operate here, and the government does not control them. However, you have to be 19 to gamble, as that’s the legal age to gamble in Canada.

Nunavut

There aren’t many options for the more daring risk-takers in Nunavut when it comes to gambling. However, there’s a lottery here, and you can use the PROLINE platform. With the proper licenses, card games and bingo are legal. However, there are no:

  • casinos
  • slot machines
  • blackjack tables

Online gambling, on the other hand, is entirely legal in Nunavut. So, if you’ve ever wondered: “Where is online gambling legal in Canada?” Nunavut is one of the answers. 

The Northwest Territories

Residents of the Northwest Territories have access to all of the world’s newest technologies, but no place to place a wager. In the Northwest Territories, there are no casinos.

There is no internet gambling legislation in the Northwest Territories for those within the legal age range for gambling in Canada. An operator is only penalized in Canada if it 1) does not have a lawful operating license and 2) has a physical presence in the country. 

As a result, we can conclude that online gambling is lawful in the NWT, as players are not breaking any Canadian or NWT online gambling regulations by betting on offshore gaming sites.

Legal Gambling: The Importance of Licenses

Thanks to the lack of a global regulating organization, many governmental and independent licensing entities have developed. 

These regulatory authorities exist to ensure that all gamblers of legal gambling age in Canada have access to a fair and secure gambling environment. Their primary goal is to avoid scams and minimize dangers.

As a result, we strongly advise you to play at a licensed casino. To put it another way, avoid casinos that your country has not approved. By enrolling at a licensed casino, you’ll avoid any potential legal problems.

In addition, if you’re unsure whether your area allows legal internet gambling, check the casino’s licensing section. You can learn more about the regulatory organizations that oversee the operator of your choice there.

A Final Word on Legal Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling is a relatively new sector that has grown in recent years due to technological advancements. But is online gambling legal in Canada

It should be clear that players are not putting themselves in any legal danger by playing online casino games, whether as part-time employment or just for fun.    

Another crucial point to remember is that winnings from online gambling are tax-free as long as they are not deemed full-time work. To put it another way, if you play online casino games for fun, you will not be forced to pay any taxes on your profits.

FAQs

What is legal gambling?

Gambling is a form of entertainment in which money is wagered on a game of chance, betting, or lottery. In Canada, gambling is a regulated activity that is only lawful when overseen by a provincial or territorial government. 

The legal gambling age in Canada is 19. The exceptions are Alberta and Quebec, where the age is 18. 

Is online sports gambling legal in Canada?

Gambling is prohibited in Canada unless a province regulates it. 

A proposed new law would empower provinces to establish rules for new types of sports wagering, both online and in physical locations. This is expected to provide governments with attractive new revenue streams by taxing formerly unexplored areas.

Is private gambling illegal in Canada?

Ontario is on the verge of developing a new regulatory environment that would allow private internet gambling providers to do business in the province if they register with the provincial government. 

Many details are still unknown, but the province’s attempts to open up the market may be legally dubious.

Is sports gambling legal in Canada?

The federal government has made it legal to bet on individual sporting events. At the discretion of the provinces and territories, Canadians can now participate in single-event sports betting in a controlled and safe setting. 

Does Canada allow online gambling?

Online gambling was illegal in Canada until recently. The government changed the laws, and now Canadians can play their favourite casino games from the comfort of their own homes.

Is it legal to gamble online in Canada?

It is illegal to run an internet casino without a government-issued license, and the country’s government will not provide any such licenses. 

But is offshore gambling legal online gambling in Canada? Yes, it is; you can play online casino games on offshore sites lawfully. So keep this in mind next time you wonder: “Is online gambling legal in Canada?

After teaching for 8 years, Damjana found a new challenge — writing. With her academic background in the English language, doing research and writing is always fun and enjoyable. In her spare time, she loves binge-watching TV shows, especially crime documentaries, or spending time with her dogs.

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