Gambling Laws In Canada

Canadians have access to a wide range of gambling options, both land-based and online. There are many brick-and-mortar casinos scattered throughout the country and Canadians are also able to use authorized offshore gambling providers. Canada’s Criminal Code has outlined the provisions for the Canadian gambling industry. The decision to host gambling has been left up to the individual provinces. This provincial responsibility also includes licensing and regulatory oversight. It is up to individual bettors to be informed concerning the legal status of gambling in their province and which gambling channels are appropriate.

This guide was created with the intention of being a benchmark resource for Canadian residents to refer to. You will find information on the laws in place and how they affect the Canadian online gambling industry.

Laws For Land Based Gambling In Canada

Canada is an interesting country when it comes to gambling because the laws change with each respective province. The decision to leave the licensing and regulation responsibilities up to individual territories gives them a sense of freedom and control. It also allows provinces to tailor their gambling laws to suit the needs of the population they service. Any laws in place target the gambling providers, not the individual players who use them. Any gambling venue operating without legitimate authorization is considered illegal in the eyes of the Canadian government.

The only thing residents have to worry about regarding gambling laws is whether they are betting at a legally sanctioned destination. You can find casinos throughout Canada that offer casino-style games, all of which operating within their legal rights.

Canada's Online Gambling Laws And Regulations

The laws governing Canada’s online gambling industry emulate those in place for the land-based casinos. Canadian residents can gamble with online sites so long as they are legitimately overseen by some form of government, whether foreign or domestic. That being said, not every foreign gambling brand accepts Canadian bettors. The Canadian Criminal Code doesn’t say anything about gambling with these kinds of online gambling providers as being illegal. There are many online gambling sites, however not all of them possess the necessary oversight to be viewed as legal enterprises in the eyes of the Canadian government. It is important that you verify the online gambling site you are using fits the criteria set out by the proper authorities.

You can find a list of legal online casinos in Canada here which have all been vetted and confirmed to offer legitimate access to safe, real-money online gambling.

Attempts To Amend Criminal Code

Sports betting has long been the black sheep of Canadian gambling law. Canada’s Criminal Code specifically prohibits various types of sports betting throughout the country. The only exception comes through rare allowances of parlay style betting through provincial oversight—Ontario’s ProLine, for example. In 2011, a bill known as C-290 attempted to amend the federal criminal code to allow for single-game sports betting (should the respective provinces choose to host it). The bill passed through the House of Commons but never made it off the Senate floor, dying in the process.

Another bill (C-221) made the legislative rounds in 2016 with the same intent of legalizing single-game betting. This bill failed to make it out of the House of Commons via a 156-133 vote in opposition to its passing. Proponents of the bill argued that it would help create jobs and could potentially bring money into the provinces via taxed revenue, but nevertheless, the effort failed.


What Forms Of Gambling Are Allowed In Canada?

The answer to this question varies by province, but in most cases you will find casino-style games and poker rooms in land-based casinos. Province-regulated online gambling sites offer similar games. Sports betting is only allowed in parlay format through provincially regulated Lottery forms, such as ProLine in Ontario. Single-game betting is prohibited in accordance with Canada’s Criminal Code.

What Is The Difference Between Using An Offshore Gambling Site Vs. A Domestic One?

Offshore gambling sites usually have a wider range of games available to players. From a sports betting standpoint, offshore sportsbooks have more betting lines and wagering types than the domestic alternative. You will also find additional features like mobile betting, live betting (for sports), bonuses and more.

What Is The Kahnawake Gaming Commission?

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission handles the licensing and regulation for gambling activities within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. In short, it is an example of the many different individual provinces that are charged with handling their own gambling markets.

What Does The Future Of Gambling Look Like In Canada?

Canada’s gambling industry is operating smoothly with the exception of single-game sports betting. 2016 saw another effort at passing legislation, though it was shot down in the House of Commons. Lawmakers in favor of sports betting will likely push another bill into the forefront during the next legislative session. As for the other forms of gambling, players already have access to legal online poker in Canada as well as casino and sports betting options.

How Does Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Factor In?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s political party came out in opposition of the attempted bill to legalize sports betting. Trudeau has made no explicit mention of anything significant happening with the current status quo as it applies to Canadian gambling laws, so it appears likely things will remain the same.

How Do I Know If I’m Using A Legit Online Gambling Site?

Any reputable online gambling venue will have their credentials and other pertinent information readily available to their users. These brands have reputations for professionalism and strong security.