How Is Gambling Regulated In Canada?


Gambling is popular “leisure and professional” activity amongst Canadians. People enjoy visiting land-based or online Canadian casinos for playing games with the free spins bonus. But, a good time online or offline depends on playing within your means and adhering to set regulations in the gambling industry. Canada is a vast country with many regions, and each part is independent. Thus, gambling legislations vary from one province to another, which can be confusing to players but fulfilling once you come to terms with it. Rules are there to protect you as a customer and ensure maximum gambling experience without fear of fraud. So, how is gambling regulated in Canada?

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  • Gambling history In Canada
  • Does online gambling face the same laws?
  • The resultant gambling regions
  • How Is gambling regulated in Canada?
  • Gambling regions in Canada

Gambling History in Canada

Canada’s gambling history dates back to the country’s natives. The first instance of card games recorded in history is through John Cabot, who journeyed to the country’s shores in 1497. This first instance is what led to the development of new games such as dice or poker. But, no rules were governing the industry then. The government took an interest and started regulating gambling back in the 1800s. For instance, the Canadian criminal code became active in 1892, which permitted gambling under certain conditions. In 1910, an amendment to the Criminal code became active, allowing Pari-Mutuel horse racing and other games. But, the benefits from gambling activities would only be for religious or charitable activities.

Another amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code occurred in 1970, issuing the governing rights to gambling activities to the different regions in Canada. Thus, the first land-based casino in Winnipeg arose in 1989 and still stands to date. The industry has developed and grown to accommodate online gambling as well. The Canadian Gaming Commission oversees the gambling industry in the country, but the regions retain the rights to create regulations that govern gambling in the areas.

The Resultant Gambling Regions

After the laws went into effect back in 1970, the country aimed to abolish illegal gambling activities since the beginning of time. The regions officially took over from the government back in 1985, and the rights to oversee slots machines, lotteries, and every other gambling activity went to the areas. However, it does not mean that modernised organised crime didn’t occur. On the contrary, the passage of time and other developments, including gambling legislation, only made the people cleverer by adopting the latest technologies and rigging during sports betting and more.

Thus, the country took more decisive action by adjusting the criminal offences related to gambling, such as illegal gambling, in 2010. Section 201, 202, 206, and 209 transformed into “Serious Offenses.” these have a maximum jail term of 5 years, but most convicted cases for illegal gambling carry 2 years. If running a betting house illegally, you may face a jail term of 6 months or $5000 in cash fines. But, Canada is still considered to have lenient gambling laws compared to the US.

Does Online Gambling Face the Same Laws?

Similar to other countries in the world, online gambling falls in a “Grey Area.” it means that the law has no limitations on your gambling activities online. The provider does not require a Canadian license to practice its operations in the country. Also, the government may not have a right of ownership for an online gambling entity to be considered a legal business. As a result, over 1000 offshore websites without licenses offer gambling services to Canadian citizens today!

Some conflicts witnessed between the governing authorities and online gambling providers include British Columbia going against Delaware-based gambling provider Starnet Communications International, where the latter parted with over $4 million. Another is the Platinum Sports Book raids in Ontario, where the governing authorities authorised and carried out 10 attacks, seized $2 million, and charged 19 gamblers.

Gambling Regions in Canada

When travelling to various gambling destinations in Canada, understanding each gambling region’s different laws can save you from much trouble. Gambling rules in these areas, including the age where individuals can partake in gambling activities, vary. No matter the differences in government, the various regions present one of the most diverse gambling experiences to punters. For instance, Quebec is considered the most varied gambling destination in Canada. It has the highest income tax rates for winnings made by professionals through gambling. But, players can enjoy both land and online casinos with 9 casinos on land, plus the government-owned Espacejeux online casino.

Players, who desire a more positive experience on land-based casinos, go for Ontario, which has 24 different casinos with relaxed or friendly gambling rules. Alberta has the highest number of casinos at 25 and offers a fantastic array of sports betting activities. British Columbia is a must-visit. However, if going to Saskatchewan, you will not have a chance to visit a local online casino. But, you can play on sites located in other regions. Get a temporary license if you want to venture into Yukon Territory. The government authorities do not allow permanent casino operations in the region!

How Is Gambling Regulated in Canada?

The legality of gambling in Canada has become transparent and understood in recent years. Gambling activities fall under regional governments, and online gambling has no specific regulations attached. Players can play on offshore sites without Canadian licenses. However, the sites must have permits from reputable governing jurisdictions. At the same time, the Canadian Gambling Agency is responsible for the entire gambling industry in the country. The Canadian Criminal Code sets the possible offences that may arise in operating and running a gambling business and the resultant consequences. The gambling industry development in the country is a factor that requires constant evaluation. Therefore, the laws will continue evolving with time. Keep checking to keep up to date with gambling laws in Canada.


Gambling has evolved from an activity considered “illegal” to a regulated industry in Canada. Players can play and take time to visit land-based casinos without fear of persecution or arrests. Online gambling may be a little unregulated, but the regional governments are developing proper and suitable laws. Some regions do not permit casinos, but the situation is changing. Gambling has a bright future, both online and land-based!

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