As an aspiring Canadian gambler, you probably want to know the Canadian gambling laws and norms before commencing your adventure. While most countries are on the extreme end of the gambling approval, Canadians and their legal standing stay somewhere in the middle, which might make their intentions ambiguous. This review looks closely at Canada online gambling laws and what you should know. Fasten your seatbelts as we take you on an informative ride on legal gaming in Canada.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada?
Several Canadian gamblers engage in online casino games does this mean what they do is illegal? Perhaps, playing slots, baccarat, and roulette games are gambling crimes? Why is Canadian law regarding online gambling quite unclear; however, let's walk you through it.
Decades ago, illegal betting and gambling were part of crimes in Canada. Before 1970, many gambling games were often against Canadian criminal codes. Nonetheless, after 1970 the federal government deemed well, the gambling laws in Canada got a little lax, and the federal government gave each province the authority to decide their takes on games like slots, roulette, and the like.
The internet briskly entered the picture in the early 21st century, and online gambling became an option. The Canadian government frowned on it and then barred online gambling till 2009. Just as with traditional gambling, the federal government made online gambling legal and gave each Canadian province the option to form its own regulations. A brief answer to "Is online gambling legal in Canada?" is yes, and is regulated by the Canadian Gaming Commission. However, it still gets tricky with offshore gambling sites in most Canadian provinces.
Canada Gambling Regulations
Gambling laws in Canada are integral, especially since Canada gambling doesn't stand on firm ground. According to Canada's federal criminal code, all forms of gaming are prohibited. However, section 207 of the criminal code also states that each Canadian province is permitted to conduct and manage gaming activities. By and by, Canadian provinces are laden with the responsibility of compiling regulations as regards online gambling in their province. Hence, every online Canadian gambler must be conversant with the online gambling regulations that apply to their province.
Before participating in any form of online gambling in Canada, we advise you to familiarize yourself with your province's local gambling regulations and stick with legal gambling options. We don't promote gambling in prohibited areas and aren't liable for any activities done on third-party platforms.
Canadian Criminal Code
The criminal code of Canada deals with various illegal gambling offences; however, here are a few popular ones that keep coming up.
- 1️⃣ Section 201 states that operating a betting house or being found in one is illegal. However, this section isn't clear on whether this applies to online casinos and poker sites or not.
- 2️⃣ Section 202 is concerned with illegal betting, pool-selling, and book-making.
- 3️⃣ Section 203 prohibits people from placing bets on behalf of others.
- 4️⃣ Section 205 states that anyone related to lotteries of a game of chance is guilty of an indictable crime.
- 5️⃣ Section 207 permits the provincial government to manage lottery schemes alone or with other provincial governments. The section also states that lotteries are lawful for charitable or religious organizations as long as the Lieutenant Governor in the council licenses it.
For online casinos, there is an ambiguity that comes with their stand in Canada. The sections above mainly apply to land-based casinos. However, Canadian laws don't prohibit its citizens from gambling online. But the service must be owned or licensed by the provincial government to be considered legal. Nonetheless, over a thousand unlicensed offshore casino sites offer gambling services to Canadian citizens.
As a rule of thumb, a form of gambling is considered illegal in the confines of Canada if it isn't managed or licensed by the Canadian government (federal or provincial)
The Provincial Gaming Authorities in Canada
Canada is divided into ten provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Alberta. Every province governs itself, with the federal government's authority given to the lieutenant governor. This section highlights the different gambling laws in each Canadian province and how they affect an average Canadian citizen.
Ontario is the province with the most population in Canada. Most residents of Ontario are within an hour's drive from a legal gambling establishment. Gambling is legal in Ontario. As of April 2022, the Ontario government started to offer licenses to online gambling operators, including BetMGM. Online gambling on offshore casinos is legal as well. However, you must be 19 years old to access an online casino or gamble online.
Alberta has a long history of gambling and sport; about four percent of its revenue is from gambling. In Alberta, online gambling is only legal on provincially regulated and licensed sites according to its gambling laws; the same applies to offshore sportsbooks and casinos. Alberta is also under the western Canada lottery corporation, which operates lotteries and the like. The age requirement for gambling is 18 years old.
British Columbia is gambling-friendly; residents can play on online gambling sites licensed by the province. Nevertheless, there are no gambling laws restricting this activity on offshore online sportsbooks and casinos. You must be at least 18 years of age before you can access an online casino.
Gambling is legal in Manitoba in sites supervised by The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba, created by the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission. The province is also permissive to gambling on other offshore online casinos and sportsbooks.
Although it is not illegal to gamble in Saskatchewan, there are currently no provincial online gambling services. The province intends to Launch an online gambling service later this year. Also, it is not illegal to gamble on offshore online casinos and sportsbooks in Saskatchewan; however, you have to be at least 19 years old.
Online gambling is legal in New Brunswick via the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC). Residents can patronize the services of offshore online casinos and sportsbooks, given the casinos don't advertise in Canada or operate from there. You must be 19 years old and above to gamble.
Like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia is also part of the ALC. Hence any gambling services offered by the corporation in the province are legal. However, they just launched this service in 2022. As an online gambler, you are free to play legal games on offshore casinos as long as you are 19 years or more.
It is legal to gamble online via the platforms offered by Quebec's provisional gaming corporation, Lọtọ-Quebec. Residents can gamble in offshore online casinos and sportsbooks; they have to at 18 years.
In Newfoundland, online gambling and betting are legal and managed by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Unlike most provinces in Canada, any online gambling that ALC doesn't offer is illegal, and gamblers must be at least 19 years of age.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is also part of the ALC, so any gambling services offered by the corporation are legal. Plus, you can opt for offshore online casinos and sportsbooks without restrictions. However, Prince Edward Island frowns upon underage gambling, so you must be at least 19 years old to gamble online.
Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Kahnawake Gaming Commission is an official gambling regulatory and licensing authority. This body isn't restricted by Canadian provincial or federal government legislation, so it can regulate Canadian offshore casinos. It has to audit the gambling acts compliance within Mohawk. It is also permitted to provide reputable licenses to online sportsbooks, poker, gambling providers, and casino operators. Plus, it monitors and resolves claims and disputes that Canadian players might have with operators.
Casinos that seek to be licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission have to be on par with specific requirements. These requirements ensure that online casino and betting operators are fair and scam-free. Plus, this commission monitors both online and land-based casinos independently. Here are the five KGC licenses:
- ✅ Client Provider Authorization
- ✅ Casino Software Provider Authorization
- ✅ Interactive Gaming License
- ✅ Key Person License
- ✅ Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization
How to Escape Illegal Casinos
As an aspiring Canadian gambler, you must avoid illegal casinos like it is a plague. However, you need to know which casinos to avoid and the laws the provincial governments issue. On that note, here are five things to look for before you opt for a casino as a Canadian gambler:
Check the Law
Ensure you are conversant with the law and form of gambling compatible with your province. For instance, online gambling and betting not under Atlantic Lottery Corporation are illegal in Newfoundland.
Is the Casino Registered?
Like most countries, Canada and its provinces have a gambling regulator responsible for issuing gambling and betting bodies licenses and providing laws. If the casino you hope to play at isn't registered with any reputable/reliable board, steer clear of it.
You can learn to steer clear of blacklisted casinos - as if they are even registered, they are usually not trustworthy options.
Player Information for Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have played in the NHL for over four decades, and it has become one of the picks for betting. The Canucks is one of the most popular franchises in Canada and attracts a myriad of hockey bets in the region. As a sports bettor in Canada, it is prone to catch your eye. Betting on Canucks is divided into three categories:
- ✅ Puck Line
- ✅ Total
- ✅ Money Line
Each of these categories has different ways of how they work. Canadian bettors can choose either of the three options when they decide to bet. There are also several wagering types you can put on Canucks as well; here are a few:
- ✅ Correct Score
- ✅ Alternative Puck Line 2-Way
- ✅ Asian Goal Line
In this day and age, you can bet on any aspect of a Canucks game. Many Canadian sportsbooks offer to bet on Canucks games. Plus, if you don't see the start of the match, you can play while it is going on because most sportsbooks offer in-play betting.
1. Is It Possible to Deposit And Withdraw Money From Online Casinos?
Yes! As long as the online casino is registered and legal, you can make deposits and withdraw money from them. Plus, since many offshore online casinos view Canada as a rising market, they support Canadian dollars for deposits and withdrawals. Hence, this means you don't have to worry about currency rates or charges when you want to withdraw from these online casinos.
2. Are My Gambling Winnings Taxed?
As a Canadian gambler, your gambling winnings are taxed. The taxes you will need to pay depends on if you picked Canada as your primary residence and if you are gambling professionally or recreationally. Failure to pay the expected taxes from winning is typically frowned upon by the Canadian government. Aspiring Canadian gamblers must reach out to their local tax attorney since each province has a unique set of tax rules and regulations that gamblers should follow.
3. How Many Canadians Participate in Gambling on a Daily Basis?
Although the stand on gambling and betting is quite vague in Canada, it is clear that its citizens love to gamble. Nearly ⅔ of the Canadian population find themselves regularly gambling in Canada, and a small percentage of the regular gamblers are also at risk of severe gambling problems. For valid reasons, Canada is viewed as a rising gambling market for many offshore online casinos.
What Future Does the Canadian Legislature Hold for Gambling?
At the moment, there is moderate widespread acceptance when it comes to gambling in Canada. However, the rules and regulations expected to manage online gambling in Canada are still quite vague.
There have been a lot of shifts in the Canadian gambling industry. The future of Canadian online gambling also seems bright, as we hope to see a lot of shifts. One will be that the Canadian government becomes a bit more accommodating of gambling which will help bolster growth and even make the sector a considerable part of the country's GDP. Others include the approval of decentralized casinos for Canadians, as it is not yet available, and more provincial regulating bodies.