Gambling Laws in Canada

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Published: 27 February 2024

 Sports & Casino Author from CanadaSports & Casino: Luke Garrison

Luke Garrison is simply a master writer who grew up conscionable extracurricular of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He presently useful astatine nan Canadian Press and enjoys nan outdoors successful his free time.

Many Canadian provinces still person a agelong measurement to spell erstwhile it comes to offering nan afloat gamut of lotto, casino, and sports betting gambling options. That said, gambling has taken large strides successful caller years passim some Canada and to nan southbound successful nan United States – particularly online.

Read connected to study much astir key accusation surrounding nan history and existent state of gambling laws successful Canada.

The Evolution of Canadian Gambling Laws Throughout History

For centuries, Canadians person enjoyed games of chance. In fact, instrumentality gambling and dice games person been played by indigenous group making love arsenic acold backmost arsenic 1497.

It was past that celebrated Italian explorer John Cabot observed these types of games being played by respective indigenous populations successful Canada. For nan indigenous, this shape of gambling was not simply recreational. It was often utilized arsenic an arbitrary measurement to salary debts and to settee different disputes.

When European settlers began arriving successful Canada successful nan 1600s, they brought cards and early iterations of blackjack and different chance games that became a ample portion of Canadian gambling culture. By nan 19th century, gambling was rather regulatory passim Canada and nan authorities began to return notice.

Canada Passes First-Ever Gambling Regulations

The first-ever gambling regulations came astir pinch nan creation of nan Canadian Criminal Code successful 1892. At that point, games of chance including dice games and paper games were being played astatine homes and taverns each complete nan country.

The Canadian authorities viewed gambling arsenic a problem connected par pinch alcohol, smuggling, and cock fighting. In fact, these first gambling restrictions coincided pinch nan clip play of nan Canadian prohibition. As such, galore group successful Canada perceived these humanities events to beryllium connected. In galore ways, they are.

Canadian Government Continues To Amend Gambling Laws During 1900s

In 1910, an amendment was made to nan codification successful bid to let profitable games of chance by charitable aliases belief organizations – for nan intent of fundraising. The alteration besides legalized a type of gambling that is known arsenic ‘pari-mutuel’ betting (derived from ‘Paris mutuel’). Paris itself did not make this type of betting ineligible until 1894.

To this day, pari-mutuel betting is simply a staple of equine racing betting. Essentially, each bets connected a fixed title create a excavation of reward money, which is past arsenic divided amongst each nan winners. For example, if $50,000 is cumulatively wagered connected a fixed equine title and 100 group stake connected nan winning horse, nan prize money excavation is divided accordingly.

The rule changed erstwhile again successful 1925 to let gambling astatine nationalist events specified arsenic authorities fairs and different municipality exhibitions. From there, nary important modifications were made until definite lottery games were legalized successful 1969. This move ended up having a domino effect arsenic conscionable a twelvemonth later, successful 1970, gambling was legalized astatine a national level.

Canada’s Perception of Gambling Begins To Change

Once nan ineligible stigma was lessened, Canadians became moreover much willing successful gambling than before. The first charismatic lottery was held successful 1974 successful an effort to fundraise for nan 1974 Winter Olympics – which Montreal was hosting.

Pari-mutuel racetrack betting was each nan rage astir this clip play arsenic well, pinch a reported $1.64 cardinal being cumulatively spent astatine racetracks crossed nan state successful 1984. Parlay betting was besides gaining traction, becoming ineligible successful 1985.

Another important milestone was nan expansive opening of a casino successful Winnipeg during 1989 – nan first commercialized land-based casino successful Canadian history. Casinos had antecedently existed successful Canada before, nevertheless they were often successful members-only clubs exclusively reserved for nan wealthy.

The occurrence of this casino snowballed into different location being opened successful Montreal conscionable 4 years later. As nan 90s progressed, nan net became prevalent and pinch it came a beardown liking successful online gambling.

The State of Canadian Gambling Laws Today

Modern-day Canadian gambling laws let for a batch erstwhile compared to history, nevertheless there’s still a agelong measurement to go. One of nan biggest hot-button issues is the beingness of online commercialized sportsbooks and casinos passim Canada.

August 27th, 2021 was an important time for gambling laws successful Canada arsenic single-event betting was formally legalized astatine a national level. Since then, ample commercialized sportsbooks and casinos specified arsenic DraftKings and FanDuel person been trying to participate nan Canadian market.

To date, commercialized gambling operators person only entered Ontario – which became a reality connected April 4th, 2022. Other provinces do not person entree to astir online commercialized sportsbooks, with nan objection being offshore books that person been regulated by overseas gaming commissions specified arsenic bet365 and BetVictor.

Key Facts About Gambling Laws successful Canada by Province

Each Canadian state has unsocial gambling laws that are decided upon by nan gaming committee successful charge. Here are immoderate cardinal facts astir each Canadian state and which types of gambling are permitted successful each:

Province Legal Gambling Age Gaming Regulator Online Commercial Sportsbooks? Online Non-Commercial Sportsbooks? Number of Land-Based Casinos
Alberta 18 Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis Commission Yes (Offshore) Yes 24
British Columbia 19 British Columbia Lottery Corporation Yes (Offshore) Yes 18
Manitoba 19 Liquor, Gaming & Cannabis Authority of Manitoba Yes (Offshore) Yes 8
New Brunswick 19 New Brunswick Lotteries & Gaming Corporation Yes (Offshore) Yes 2
Newfoundland & Labrador 19 Province of Newfoundland & Labrador (Atlantic Lottery Corp.) Yes (Offshore) Yes 0
Nova Scotia 19 Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation Yes (Offshore) Yes 11
Ontario 19 iGaming Ontario Yes Yes 25
PEI 19 Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission Yes (Offshore) Yes 8
Quebec 18 Loto-Québec Yes (Offshore) Yes 6
Saskatchewan 19 Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority Yes (Offshore) Yes 8


Many Canadian provinces are, astatine minimum, attempting to advancement towards nan legalization and motorboat of online commercialized gambling – pinch Ontario mounting precedent arsenic nan first to person done so. Western provinces including Alberta and British Columbia are opening to travel astir to nan idea, pinch authorities books still being nan only disposable action that’s regulated by a section governing body.

Offshore books are permitted to operate successful galore parts of Canada and are not technically forbidden contempt not being regulated. With offshore books comes offshore profits, which is surely capable inducement for provincial Canadian governments to yet find a measurement to support that grip wrong state lines.


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