Gambling Laws in Canada at land — based and online casinos

People from all over the world feel the urge to experience an adrenalin rush from time to time. And everyone has a different way of fulfilling this desire. Some go bungee jumping; others like to swim with the sharks. However, the majority prefer a more health-safe way, though it does not mean it is somehow less thrilling – making bets and risking money.

Making bets on something to earn some coin is an ancient hobby of humankind, and this North one is no exception. The country has a long history with this type of entertainment: and gambling laws were changing as time passed by. For example, in 1892, the Canadian Criminal Code prohibited any kind of game of chances. But it wasn’t long until the authorities had changed their minds. The authorities began to see the industry as a way to collect money for charity. New gambling laws made bingo, horse races and lotteries legal and very popular among people.

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Gambling in Canada: Laws Concerning Offline Casinos

casino canada land based lawsIn the Great White North, each province deals individually with the activities involved with games of chance and has its own set of acts and regulators. The requirements may differ, for example, you have to be 18 to gamble in Quebec, but in Yukon, you can visit the casinos only if you are 19. So as you see, each province and territory has a different set of rules, and it is not only about age restrictions.

The most common illegal gambling offenses in Criminal Code of Canada:

  • Section 201 — Keeping gaming or betting house; Person found in or owner permitting use.
  • Section 202 — Betting, pool-selling, book-making, etc.
  • Section 206 — Offence in relation to lotteries and games of chance.
  • Section 209 — Cheating at play.

Here, you will find territories where you can only participate in the state lottery; anything else is illegal. And there are also provinces where you can choose whatever you want: horse races, poker, bingo – you name it. Everything here depends on your location, so be sure to check the legislation beforehand.

No wonder Canada is attracting people from all over the world with its legal casinos. There are not many countries with state approval and support systems for the betting industry. Tourists come here trying to make a fortune. And you know what is especially nice about playing in this country? No tax on the winnings unless it is the way you make your living. If you are not a professional poker man, the government will not take even a penny from you!

Even though games of chance are mostly legit in the Great White North, illegal gaming houses can still be found all over the country. Such places have an enormous amount of currencies circulating inside. But here is a fun fact – the authorities do not pay a lot of attention to them! As it turns out, this kind of gaming house is not a threat to the legal part of the industry. And police rarely receive complaints about them.

Internet Gambling Laws in Canada

casino canada online gambling lawsThere are no new online gambling laws that regulate a certain “branch” of industry. Canadian Criminal Code doesn’t have any particular enactment about it, so the same rules apply here as in offline casinos. The owners of Internet clubs are responsible if an underage person is playing or something is not within the existing legislation.

Even though in the majority of provinces allow residents only one kind of online entertainment – the state lottery – people still visit a lot of Internet clubs. And the funny thing is – there is no history of criminal records or even a fine! God bless Canada.

However, it was not always like that. Legally, online Canadian gambling laws were pretty strict up until 2009. Such websites were illegal back then. But Canadians always liked risking their money. So, what did they do? They were simply using some offshore casinos! The cherry on top of it – it was absolutely legal. Playing at such a website was not a crime! Fascinating, isn’t it?

British Columbia was the first province to launch electronic casinos legally and with the help of the government. And later, it spread all over the country – in a few years, people from different territories were gathering together at the same table playing network poker.

Summing up, online betting is very popular and easy to access in Canada, even though in the majority of the provinces, it is only partially legalized in the form of web-based lotteries. However, as we now know, this does not stop anyone from enjoying any slot or game they want!

Recommended online casinos in Canada

Lucas Goldberg
Lucas, a seasoned site editor at CasinoCanada, boasts a decade-long journey in the gambling industry with a focus on providing players with meticulous reviews and insights of online games and casinos.
Site Editor
University of Toronto
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Digital Media, and Journalism, PlayTech Analytics career, communication with users through high-quality gambling content.
Expert in:
  • iGaming Content
  • Bonus Incentives Theory
  • Trend Analysis
Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 20.02.2024

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