Online gambling and online casinos are constantly evolving in Canada. The major restriction in this space is the online casino regulation in Canada. And one of the things that make it safe, regulated, and uptight is the Canadian online gambling laws. These are regulations that inform gamblers about how to gamble legally. The government sets these rules to help ensure that a site that operates in Canada is licensed and regulated. Without these casino regulations, players will risk falling on the wrong side of the law regarding operators.
Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a notable licensing authority for websites operating in the territory. This is just one of the many regulatory bodies set up by the Canadian government to enforce the rules and the issuance of licenses to third-party operators. Read on to find out if Canadian online gambling is legal.
A few years ago, online gambling remained illegal in Canada, except it was done with a company licensed by the government. However, Canadian online casino players still enjoy their favorite games through offshore casinos. Canadian laws do not allow casinos and sportsbooks to set up their servers.
However, Canadians participate in casino operations by leveraging internationally licensed sites. That’s possible because there’s no restriction on access to these sites as long as they don’t have servers in the country.
The Canadian government once controlled gambling through a criminal code, but things changed in 1985 when it allowed provinces to create their regulations. Although each province and territory has its own licensing body, the Canadian Gaming Commission controls the entire ecosystem.
📜 Canada Online Gambling Laws
Canadian online gambling laws have evolved over the past few decades. Before 1969, gambling in Canada was utterly prohibited. However, a new turn occurred in 1969 when the Canadian government introduced a law recognizing lotteries as a legal form of gambling. The aim of setting up this law is to help generate funds for charitable projects.
Then in 1970, the provinces were granted authority to oversee and regulate betting activities within their jurisdictions. They were empowered to ensure compliance with the laws in Canada.
As years pass, Canadian gambling laws have undergone various adjustments and amendments. Then online casinos in the country came to the limelight in 1990; they were recognized but illegal. There was no severe regulatory input from the government in the ’90s.
Fast forward to recent years, the industry has experienced tremendous growth. Their offerings include a wide range of games. Players now have access to an impressive selection of slots, card games, sports betting, and lotteries, all readily available at their fingertips.
Following the expansion of Canadian online casinos, the gaming addiction problem was also among Canadian players. However, the country has now established satisfactory laws, offering gamblers numerous options, whether through offshore casinos or local licensed websites.
Fortunately, Canadian gambling laws are continuously improving. Ontario, in particular, has become the first province to legalize the market, indicating a promising future for the industry in this country.
🍁 Online Gambling Regulations by Province
The online gambling laws in Canada are unique and peculiar to each province. Now let’s take a look at the online betting regulations by province.
Alberta has only one licensed and regulated online casino (PlayAlberta.ca). If you’re 18 years old, you are eligible to gamble on this site without restrictions. The site is closely monitored and regulated by the Alberta Gaming, liquor, and cannabis commissio...n to ensure they run with the required license all the time.
Online gambling in British Columbia is regulated by the Ministry of Finance of British Columbia branch, known as Gaming Policy and Enforcement. One of the online casino regulations is that you are only eligible to play once you are 19 years and above. The onl...y legally recognized online casino in British Columbia is PlayNow.
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation regulates online gambling, and only individuals 18 years and above are allowed to gamble.
Once you’re 19 years or more and a resident of New Brunswick, you’re eligible to play at online casinos. The Department of public safety regulated this segment in NB through its gaming control branch. In addition, you’re allowed to wager the casinos that do n...ot actively promote their services.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador don’t have land-based and online casinos, but you can access lotteries, card games, and bingo once you’re 19 years and above. The consumer and commercial affairs branch of service in the consumer affairs division is responsible for r...egulating gambling in Newfoundland and Labrador.
As a part of ALC, if you’re a resident of Nova Scotia, you can play online casino games offered by ALC. Once you turn 19, you can gamble in Nova Scotia without restrictions. The Alcohol Gaming Fuel and Tobacco Division of Service in Nova Scotia tightly regula...tes the operations.
In Ontario, online gambling didn’t become legal until April 2022. Since then, anyone 19 or older can play at online casinos under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming operation regulation.
Prince Edward Island
As a resident of Prince Edward Island, you can tap into the provincial online casino provision in ALC. Regulation is by the Prince Edward lotteries commission, which is the provincial regulatory body.
The provincial gambling platform and regulator in Quebec are Loto-Quebec. As a resident of Quebec, you also gamble on offshore sites as long as you’re 18 years or older.
It is not illegal to gamble in Saskatchewan, but this province has zero provision for websites. However, if you’re 19 or older in Saskatchewan, you can play from any international site. Regulation of gambling operations is the responsibility of the Saskatchew...an Indian Gaming Authority.
📄 The Importance of Gambling Licensing
Licensing is a strategic provision by the Canadian government to ensure that providers deliver their services within the limits of the law. With proper licensing, your safety as an online casino player is guaranteed. This is one of the measures to ensure that casinos in Canada don’t trick innocent people.
The licensing is specific to each province, and all website companies must abide by the online casino rules in Canada laid down by the local government of the province where their service is located. With the proper license, it becomes difficult for Canadian online casinos to perform illegal service provisions.
Who Issues Gambling Licenses in Canada?
It is the responsibility of the Canadian government to issue licenses. However, this is not a monotonous role, as each province has the power to establish its regulations. Here, it is not surprising to find variations in land-based and new online gambling laws across the country.
All the provinces have their own regulatory body that collaborates with providers and grants them the responsibility of issuing licenses. These bodies include:
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
Québec Gambling Commission and Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Manitoba Liquor and Gaming Authority
British Columbia – The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB)
Alcohol and Gaming Authority of Nova Scotia
Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) in Newfoundland and Labrador
Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA)
Prince Edward Island Gambling
New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation
Each sets the rules and laws for their province and serves as the provider responsible for licensing operators.
🆕 New Gambling Laws in Canada?
In November 2020, Bill C-13 was introduced by the Canadian government, which was a game changer. The bill was designed to amend the criminal code placed on gambling as sports betting in the country. The bill was successfully passed in Feb 2021, and since then, it has become legal to gamble on licensed sites.
This was a legislative intervention that showed the increased federal involvement in regulating the activities. The future of online gambling in Canada may seem unclear, but the laws will keep evolving. The expectation for further development is high. One potential change to expect is that the federal government will adopt a more proactive approach to regulating online casinos. However, it is also plausible that each province will continue to hold online casinos independently.
There is also a proposal for establishing a national regulatory framework to aid the establishment of comprehensive guidelines for betting activities. This should also be a viable means to provide further centralized authority to enforce online casino regulations.
⚡ Finishing Thoughts
This article thoroughly addresses everything you need to know about Canadian online gambling laws. Indeed, online casino regulation in Canada is diverse and unique, as each province has the authority to set rules. The provinces also have regulatory bodies that set regulations as licensed websites. Online gambling in Canada is legal only when done under strict compliance with the laws in Canada as stated explicitly by each province.
1️⃣ Does Canada allow online gambling?
Canadian law restricts the residents of Camden from gambling on sites that are not regulated as licensed by the provincial regulatory body. On the flip side, it is not illegal to gamble at offshore casino sites.
2️⃣ Is online gambling taxable in Canada?
If you gamble just for fun, your winnings are not taxable. However, professional gamblers have to pay taxes for their winnings.
3️⃣ When did Canada legalize online gambling?
Online gambling was legalized in 1994. It started with various games and has evolved to accommodate more games and fun. However, it was in April 2022 that it became legal in Ontario.