Gambling Business in Canada: Legislation, Local Restrictions, Online Gambling – 2024 Review

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Canadian authorities experience their flexible approach towards plenty of disputable matters, with gambling among the others. In comparison to other states with legalized casinos, this country is not a gambling center. Nevertheless, the gambling business is thriving here. So, let’s pay our close attention to the details.

Gambling Laws in Canada

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Before to play on any of the platforms, you may come up with many questions related to the regulations of gambling in Canada. Activities in this field are regulated by the Criminal Code’s Articles 204 (it controls horse racing and sweepstakes), 206 (it specifies restricted games and actions), and 207 (it specifies the list of permitted gambling games and actions). These are the key rules based on which other bills at the province level were adopted. Thanks to the provisions of Article 207, local authorities can establish their own rules and control activities of the gambling business.

So, gambling regulation varies by province: there are 13 states in the country, and each has its peculiarities regarding this business. In some places, you can gamble from the age of 18, in others – from 19. Somewhere only lotteries are permitted, and somewhere this list includes even land-based and online casinos, horse racing, etc.

One Province – One Law

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In the times of the first Canadian explorers, they noticed that a variety of gambling games were beloved by local tribes. These entertainments had exclusive spiritual significance. So, gambling is far from new to the lands of Canada.

As for today, this activity is regulated in various Canadian lands differently. Here is a short description of differences:

Province Minimum Age Peculiarities
Alberta 18 Casino gambling, lotteries, and betting are permitted.
British Columbia 19 Casinos, horse racing, bingo, sweepstakes, and slot machines are available.
Manitoba 18 The province allows the work of casinos, sweepstakes, and horse races.
Labrador 19 Offline and online state lottos, as well as horse racing, are legalized.
Newfoundland 19 Sports betting, offline and online lottos are also permitted.
Nova Scotia 19 There are casinos, bookmakers, offline lottos, and a state online lottery.
Northwest Territories 19 Only a state lottery is permitted.
Quebec 18 There are several online and offline lottos, poker rooms, casinos, and horse racing.
Ontario 19 All types of casinos are permitted.
Prince Edward Island 19 There is an interesting type of gambling here called “racino” – a hybrid of a casino and sports betting. Private and state online draws are permitted.
Saskatchewan 19 All kinds of gambling, as well as racino, are permitted.
Yukon 19 Government and private lotteries are permitted, as well as non-commercial casinos.


The Most Gambling Provinces in Canada

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According to the statistics, Quebec is on the top of gambling provinces in Canada with more than 10,5 thousand land-based establishments. If we consider that the population of Quebec is more than 6 million people, then for every 634 people there is 1 institution.

The second place belongs to Ontario. The province has around 10 thousand local establishments, which means that 1 institution works for 1086 people. The third place is occupied by British Columbia that has around 4 thousand establishments, or 1 establishment per 980 people.

The least of all gambling institutions are located in the province of Prince Edward Island (about 200). The islands of Newfoundland and Labrador have the highest “density” of gambling institutions: one establishment per 318 people.

Online Gambling in Canada

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Online gambling sites were banned in Canada until 2009. Canadians, however, played in various offshore casinos, and the legislation did not provide any punishment. The strictest ban in the history of online Canadian gambling was only in 2007 when a $2 million fine was imposed on the Kahnawake Mohawk reservation. After paying the fine, the reservation continued to conduct this business. Today, this is one of the top world gambling authorities.

iGaming is not permitted in all provinces. For example, Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are the provinces where online gambling is prohibited. Meanwhile, it is legal at the territories of the remaining provinces. In 2010, the official web casino was opened for the residents of British Columbia. This has become the beginning of the legal activity of online gambling establishments in Canada. The next step was the launch of the first poker room, which took place in 2011.

Quebec was the next province to introduce the web poker room, as well as a casino-style gaming site, which happened at the end of 2010. The beginning of 2013 became the starting point of the legal Internet casino activities in Manitoba. In the above-mentioned states, all the lottery companies have been joint into one network, which made it possible for players from these provinces to play at the same online table.

So, online gaming in Canada includes:

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  • poker;
  • instant scratch cards;
  • lotteries;
  • casino slots;
  • video poker
  • bingo;
  • Ingenio;
  • board games;
  • sports betting.

Each province specifies its own list of the allowed web games. For example, in British Columbia, the only Ingenio is banned. Bingo, Lotteries, and scratch cards are the only permitted games in Nova Scotia and on Prince Edward Island.

The province of Alberta has issued the majority of charitable licenses – about 15 thousand. These licenses, as a rule, include only those establishments that make a profit on sales of more than $10,000. Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia are exceptions.

In Conclusion

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The gambling business in Canada is an example of successful cooperation between the authorities and casino owners. Thanks to such establishments, the provinces receive a good income every month. Gamblers can play without a fear to be punished. As a result, Canada has a very low percentage of people with gambling addiction.

Considering the way that Canada has passed to the legalization of gambling, the beginners who are about to start playing on Canadian websites can be 100% sure in the reliability of this choice. Good luck!