Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in Canada, as it is with the rest of the world. Whether it be through an online casino or through more traditional physical casinos, Canadians really love the thrill and exhilaration that comes with the activity. However, given that Canada is broken down into different provinces that maintain a certain sense of autonomy, gambling laws and regulations can differ depending on where you’re playing. In this article, we are going to break down all of the basic laws and regulations that govern gambling in Canada.
Before 1985, gambling was practically illegal in all of Canada. Even after certain legislations were made to allow for a more liberal practice of regulated gambling in the country, it took a while before the industry really started to grow. Fast forward to a couple of decades later and the country now stands to earn C$14 billion in revenue from the gambling industry every single year. There are many reasons that have contributed to the gambling boom in the country. Of course, there is the traditional allure of gambling inside these large and luxurious casinos. They make excellent travel features for tourists who come flocking from all over the world. Aside from that, there is also a surge in online gambling activity, especially these days when technology is becoming a lot more sophisticated and accessible to the masses.
However, it’s important to note that even though Canada has grown more liberal in its approach to regulating gambling activities, online casino gambling still falls within a grey area of the law. Technically, online casinos are not allowed to operate in the country without the necessary licenses from the government. Although, the Canadian government doesn’t grant such licenses to operators. The good news for online gamblers is that there are no laws that prohibit them from accessing off-shore platforms.
Out of all the provinces, Quebec is known to be one of the most liberal when it comes to its gambling laws. Quebec residents are allowed access to nine different land-based casinos all throughout the provinces. They are also given access to Espacejeux, which is a gaming site that’s operated by the government. In Alberta, they have a few more options as residents have access to 25 different land-based casinos. It’s the same in British Columbia where there are 15 land-based casinos scattered throughout the province. In British Columbia, citizens also get access to a sports betting site called PlayNow. The province of Ontario has more than 24 different casinos with a bulk of these sites offering slot machines. This is another province that has relatively lax regulations when it comes to casino operations. Nova Scotia offers limited options with just two casinos that are operated by the government and the Pro-Line service. In Manitoba, all casino operations are regulated by The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba. As of the moment, only PlayNow Manitoba is granted a license to operate as an online casino in the province. Aside from that, sports betting is limited to C$250 per day via the Sport Select website.
New Brunswick doesn’t have that many options either with only one land-based gaming venue. Newfoundland and Labrador do not allow land-based casinos to operate. However, they do allow daily sports bets up to C$250 through the Pro-Line service or off-shore gaming sites. In Saskatchewan, online casinos aren’t allowed to operate, but residents are still given free access to offshore sites. There are also parlay bet options for the Sports Select service. On Prince Edward Island and Northwest Territories, physical casinos are allowed to operate but there are currently no services providers in the region except for Pro-Line betting and Sport Select respectively. Lastly, Yukon Territory doesn’t allow land-based casinos to operate. However, there are instances wherein temporary licenses are granted to venues for up to three days.
When it comes to the legal gambling age, anyone above the age of 19 is allowed to participate in gambling activities in Canada. For the most part, Canadians enjoy off-shore gambling platforms due to their convenience and accessibility. At the end of the day, while this is still an infantile industry in Canada, there’s no denying its rising popularity and its strength as a market.