Is Online Casino Legal In Canada?

Determining the present legal status of online gambling is a prerequisite before placing any bet and playing a casino game. Betting and casino gaming for real money are the most popular source of entertainment in the territory of Canada. However, just like many other countries, local gambling in this nation is of a grey area. Considering the popularity of this activity, the Canadian government has legalized various forms of land-based gambling activities and online gambling. If you’re a Canada-based gambler and wondering whether it would be safe and legal to play any casino game, then keep on reading this article. It will clarify all your doubts.     

Who Decides Gambling Laws In Canada?

In the early 1970s, the Canadian government gave each individual province the right to legislate and regulate gaming in their region. The reformed criminal code, 1970 started gambling by giving this right to each province. Today, each province in Canada creates its gambling governing body. 

“Who is behind legalizing and administrating gambling laws in Canada?”

Some of these provincial gaming authorities are as follows –

  • ✔  Alberta – Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
  • ✔  British Columbia – BCLC
  • ✔  Manitoba – Liquor and Gaming Commission of Manitoba
  • ✔ Nova Scotia – Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division Service of Nova Scotia
  • ✔ New Foundland – Service NL
  • ✔  New Brunswick – New Brunswick Gaming Control
  • ✔  Ontario – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
  • ✔  Prince Edward Island – Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission
  • ✔  Quebec – Loto Quebec
  • ✔  Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority 

Please note that most of these provincial gaming authorities operate their own gaming platforms boasting casino games.   

Canada Gambling Laws

According to some sources, gambling was first legal in Canada, but some pieces of legislation declared it out of law in 1892. After the 1900s, casual raffles and bingo were legalized, but just for charitable events. The horse race was allowed to enjoy just a decade later. In 1985, gaming machines were legalized in Canada. After some years, many casinos made an appearance in the country’s gambling market. 

If the companies are based in the countries where online gambling is a legal activity, then Canadian laws would not be applied.”

Canadian casinos are licensed and regulated by lottery corporations. Casino gambling come into expansion since 2000. Many racetracks covering failing horse-racing revenue numbers were permitted to include slot gaming to their properties. After some time, video poker and table games were also added. The major difference between Canadian and other land-based casinos is that in Canada venues, all alcohol must be purchased. No comp drinks are available at the Canadian casino to loosen up the players.      

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission

Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a gaming regulatory body based on the Indian reserve of Kahnawake and located within the Canadian borders. This gaming commission grants a license to gambling sites to allow them to operate from within Kahnawake and satisfy their certain criteria. It is also responsible to regulate sportsbook sites and online poker rooms. Kahnawake is considered as a sovereign country in its own. So, it is not governed by any law in Canada.    

Before receiving a license from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, online casinos have to meet certain criteria. This organization holds the responsibility to monitor the compliance of the gambling legislation within Quebec’s Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. Presently, it is providing 4 types of licenses under the regulations that agree to interactive gaming of 22 September 2010. 

Legal Age For Gambling In Canada

There is no specific legal age to enjoy gambling in Canada. It varies based on which type of gambling activity you are going to play. For example, if you wish to play bingo or any other game sold at the lottery retailer, then you need to be at least 18 years old. The legal gambling age will increase to 19 if you wish to play any casino game at the land-based casino. Most of the Canadian online casinos usually have the minimum gambling age of 18 and 19. Still, it is recommended to check the terms and conditions of a selected casino site or simply look at the bottom of the homepage to know what should be the minimum eligible age of a player.    

Canada’s Bingo Laws

Bingo games are legalized and licensed by each of the Canadian provinces. Traditionally, these games were found all over the country with a large number of people playing them to win big prizes. But, that craze is reducing these days and only a few of those games are available today because the increasing number of bingo halls are closed nowadays. Hence, only a few of them can be found in rural areas. However, players can enjoy online bingo at the trusted online bingo websites offering this game that starts often every minute. 

Is Sports Betting Legal In Canada?

Sports betting legalization has been the topic of discussion in Canada when the US government started it in 2018. Just because Canada lies in a border north of American counterparts, the news of regulating sports betting across the US, spread quickly in Canada. As a result of which, the Canadian government also started discussing over legalizing sports betting in the country. 

Playing a parlay-style game is legal in most of the provinces. But, it can be played only at those lottery retailers which are regulated by the lottery itself. The winning odds are comparatively lower than placing bets on any game individually. Sadly, according to federal law, placing bets on the outcome of a specific sporting event is restricted in Canada. Despite this law, Canadian sports punters keep on making bets at top online sports betting sites. Too many sports betting sites start accepting players from Canada and take real-money bets from them. The passion of punters reached a peak when the hockey sports team in Canada got international success.  

Criminal Code Of Canada

The Canadian Criminal Code is basically a bill that defines gaming activities within the country as illegal. The provinces can operate, manage, and issue license to some casinos including online casinos. The provisions that restrict Canadian gaming operations are given in the Criminal Code’s part VII with a few exceptions in section 207. The current Canadian legislation states that online gambling sites must be operated by the respective provincial government. 

Legal Status Of Online Gambling In Canada

Canadian gambling is a legal grey area, but how grey it is, let’s find out…!”

As described above, online gambling on the territory of Canada is still vague because the government of Canada does not permit local companies and does not issue a license to operate online casinos. The country was against gambling until the 1960s. After some time, the government allows provinces to legalize poker or gambling activities within their regional borders. 

According to the updated Criminal Code of Canada, running a gambling website on Canada’s territory is fully legal. Every province can allow any gambling activity that may be operated through or on the computers within the regional boundaries. But, this situation seems more complex as there is a long list of the Criminal Code of the country that shows that the Canadian government and its provinces are the only bodies or authorities that may legalize and operate any type of gambling.  

The new twist in Canada’s online gaming industry came in 2016. In this year, NetEnt (Net Entertainment) – one of the most trusted and world-renowned software company declared that it would not deliver its products to Canada’s web-based casinos. William Hill, an online gaming leader in the UK, also left the gambling market in Canada on 10th May 2016 due to some regulatory concerns. It informed all the Canadian players to withdraw all of their funds. Other operators such as Paddy Power left this market in 2011, Betfair in 2015, and Ladbrokes in 2014. 

NetEnt came back in Canada with its special offerings by 12 May 2017. It declared that it secured the approval to operate and provide casino games by BCLC of Canada. The Stockholm-listed software provider also ensured that it will launch its products in British Columbia because the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and Gaming Policy & Enforcement Branch allowed the developer to work as a licensed supplier. So, it is expected that Canadian casino players will very soon enjoy myriads of NetEnt games.     


Summarizing all the points, there are no gambling laws in Canada that show playing online as an illegal activity. Hence, Canadian citizens can always gamble online at licensed casino sites that accept players from Canada and allow them to make deposits in Canadian Dollars. 

Various discussions keep on taking place in Canada regarding changes to online gambling legislation in the country. So, keep an eye on the new reports of online gambling laws in Canada.” We’ll provide the latest and accurate update when the Canadian government introduced any change.    


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