A passionate gambler knows he can play a hand of poker or roulette in Canada, but it’s also clear that people say all sorts of things about gambling in this country. Some say that it’s completely legal, some claim the opposite, while most players are simply confused by the gambling rules and regulations in Canada.
So, which one is it?
The situation is not that easy to explain, but we can help you find your way through online gaming and the regulations related to gambling platforms in Canada. We don’t want to beat around the bush, so let’s move on to the first segment of our post.
A Brief History of Gambling in Canada
Canadian gambling laws have been changing over time – just like in almost every other country in the world. This happens because casino gambling is not just a matter of economy but also a social issue with lots of behavioral consequences.
Up until the 1980s, gambling used to be completely illegal in Canada. Three decades ago, national authorities started relaxing certain anti-gambling measures and legalized small segments of the business. The relaxation period did not end there as the government decided to legalize charity-related bingo and casual raffles.
A few years later, the first offline casinos have started their operations on the Canadian territory without any restrictions whatsoever. More and more people began playing casino games in the years to come, which created a nice precondition for the rise of online gambling in the third millennium.
But it took some time before gamblers actually saw the first $5 minimum deposit casino in Canada with all of the available offers and welcome bonuses. Namely, the Criminal Code of Canada considers online gambling to be pretty much illegal and it forbids such activities on the country’s territory. The catch is that every province has the right to regulate gambling on its own terms, including digital casinos and virtual betting platforms.
Canadian Provinces and Gambling Laws
The state of Canada is divided into 10 provinces: Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Colombia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Here’s how they treat online casinos and other gambling services:
- Alberta: When it comes to Alberta, there are no restrictions and limitations gambling-wise. This basically means that digital casinos are able to operate freely, while gamblers can have fun any time they feel like it.
- Ontario: Although it allows traditional gambling, slot machines, lotteries, and sports betting, online casinos are still not legal in Ontario.
- Quebec: Local authorities in Quebec don’t just allow online gambling but also invest in virtual casinos. The government-owned online casino called Espacejeux is one of the most popular in Quebec.
- New Brunswick: This province hosts a number of private casino operators who offer all sorts of digital casino games. New Brunswick is reportedly thinking about establishing a brand new provincial casino on the Internet.
- Saskatchewan: The province prevents local companies from running an online casino, but international providers can operate in Saskatchewan without problems.
- Manitoba: There is only one online casino in this province, but hundreds of offshore platforms are available for those who don’t like the Play Now Manitoba service.
- British Colombia: Play Now is actually based in British Columbia and it offers many casino games such as poker, blackjack, slots, roulette, and similar. Besides that, the province of British Colombia legalized everything but traditional casinos.
- Nova Scotia: The province itself doesn’t run online casinos, but the residents are free to check out external websites and find a place to play their favorite casino games.
- Prince Edward Island: Online gambling is not fully regulated in Prince Edward Island, but it remains available for players who find a trustworthy offshore website. Besides that, the province hosts offline casinos as well.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: More than a thousand offshore companies offer their online gambling services to the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. While there are no domestic platforms, everyone can find a game to play very quickly.
The Bottom Line
Online gambling in Canada is making people raise their eyebrows in disbelief and skepticism, but the truth is that digital gaming platforms in this country are alive and kicking. Even though national authorities don’t really approve of gambling, provincial bodies don’t have a problem with legalizing gambling.
In this article, we gave you an overview of online gambling rules and activities in Canada. It should be enough for a typical player to figure out the basics, but we will stay tuned just in case you have additional thoughts or questions to share with us in the comments!
Leslie Alexander is a content lead and a full-time member of the Gamblizard team. She is an expert in blogging and online casinos. Apart from content creation, Leslie enjoys traveling and long-distance running.