All About Gambling Laws In Canada

Gambling laws can be lengthy and complex but knowing them well is important for online casino players everywhere. Legislation can also vary greatly from one country to the next. So, naturally, what’s completely legal in one place might not be in another. In this article, we’ll focus on the gambling laws in Canada. Generally speaking, the country’s approach to gambling is quite relaxed, which is great news for those who enjoy it. However, laws on playing casino games and placing bets on sporting events vary by province.

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Canadian Gambling Laws

Canada is the world’s second-largest country after Russia and is split into ten provinces and three territories. All of these sub-divisions of the country have legalized various forms of gambling. The region-specific limitations apply mostly to offline gambling which involves going to a casino or betting shop and spending money in person. In other words, online gambling laws are largely the same for all of Canada. But in general, even offline gambling laws are on the relaxed side. The only notable exception is the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador where land-based casinos aren’t permitted.

But some places in Canada offer more gambling opportunities than others. For example, the province of British Columbia offers over 15 land-based casinos. This highly populated area also has lots of horse racing venues with on-site betting, and many sports betting shops. Of course, at what age you can participate in such gambling activities depends on the province you’re in. However, generally, the minimum gambling age is 18 or 19.

Overall, the country’s gambling laws aren’t at all strict. However, there are some things that are illegal country-wide. For instance, setting up an unlicensed betting system is one such thing. On the other hand, punishments for gambling-related offenses are rare. Generally, a sentence for this kind of offense is quite lenient. This is because Canada reserves longer prison sentences for those who have committed more serious crimes.

Canadian Gambling Laws

Views on Gambling in Canada

Generally speaking, Canadians are quite open-minded when it comes to gambling and don’t seem to have negative views. Various surveys have shown that in some places, as many as 75% of people have tried some form of gambling recently. Because many different forms of gambling are easily accessible in Canada, many try it at least once. However, in some provinces, there may be only a small number of gambling venues. Especially in sparsely populated areas, residents may not have access to gambling facilities. But most of the time they aren’t prohibited and scarcity is due to low demand.

Since gambling is quite a popular pastime in Canada, it’s convenient that the laws concerning it are fairly lenient. By legalizing and regulating gambling, the government is preventing people from breaking the law. Moreover, this way there are measures in place to protect people from gambling addiction and other problematic behaviors. In other words, although gambling is controlled to a degree, that control adds a level of safety.

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Online Gambling Laws in Canada

Just like land-based gambling, the online alternative is also very popular amongst Canadians. The act of gambling online itself is legal, though for the casinos it’s not as simple. A site that serves Canadian players is only legal under certain conditions. Most importantly, their license has to come from a Canadian regulatory body. Otherwise, the casino operator is effectively breaking the law. So as long as you’re on a legitimate platform, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

There are well over a thousand real money online casinos and sportsbooks that accept players from Canada. The vast majority of these have a license and are therefore trustworthy. But before signing up anywhere, you should always make sure the license is valid. If that’s not the case, it’s better to go somewhere else and stay safe. In simple terms, an online casino has to prove its reliability and meet the industry standards to get a license. In other words, the platforms that don’t have one may not be safe.

Canadians can legally access many of the world’s biggest and most popular online casinos. So if you’re after somewhere new to play casino games, there’s no shortage of options. However, we recommend that you do some research prior to signing up. Some of the key factors you should take into account include the platform’s license and reputation. Of course, the game selection is also crucial along with the quality of software providers. But you should also think about the variety of available bonus offers and pick the best possible deal. If you like to play on the go, mobile compatibility will be a top priority, in addition to the customer service options. Finally, consider the payment methods and the fees they come with, too.

Summing Up

Gambling laws can vary greatly depending on your location. Thankfully, in Canada, you’re free to gamble and you won’t be breaking any laws by doing so. Since Canada has a fairly relaxed approach to gambling, both off- and online gaming is legal. Many players prefer going with the online route since it’s more convenient. If you’re looking to play online but don’t know where – check out our casino reviews. There you will find some of the top platforms in Canada.


Canada’s criminal code doesn’t currently prohibit gambling with real money. In other words, gambling is legal.

No, legislation may vary depending on your location even within Canada.

Gambling laws help regulate the industry and protect players.

The Canadian government considers gambling winnings to have been earned through luck, not work, and so they’re not taxed.

Yes, a country’s laws on gambling or anything else can change. But since Canada’s always had a lenient approach to gambling, any changes are likely to not be that restrictive.

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