Gambling Laws in Canada

One of the most common questions we get asked is if online gambling is legal in Canada. Online gambling is perfectly legal in Canada and there are no restrictions in place on any online casino in Canada. Operating a casino in Canada without a local license is illegal, but there are no restrictions on playing online casino. Let’s go into all the legal aspects of online gaming in Canada and explain everything in detail.

Before we get into this topic in earnest, it is important to point out a few things. Firstly, all the information we have posted on this page has been fact-checked and we are constantly updating this page so that we can provide the most valid information as it comes through. However, it is important to point out that we are not legal advisors, so be sure to check things even more thoroughly. With this disclaimer out of the way, let’s take a closer look at legal online gambling in Canada.

Canada Online Gambling and Land-based Gambling Guide

Online gambling is legal across Canada as long as the gambling site is not based in Canada. If it is an overseas company, it is completely legal to bet, gamble, and wager on an online site. If the gambling site is in Canada, then it must either be owned and operated by the Canadian government or licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

Each Canadian province governs its own laws and regulations regarding gambling. We will go through all the laws and regulations around each province in more detail below.

Gambling in the Canadian Provinces

Casinos in Canada have a combined total of more than 1,000 slots, video poker terminals, and table games. Canadians are allowed to gamble, but the legality of gaming in each province is decided by that province’s legislature. The most significant difference between gambling restrictions across the provinces is the age at which you may participate.

The nation of Canada is divided into 10 provinces, including the following: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Colombia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

Here is an overview of gambling regulations for each province. After we go through the laws in each province we will include the latest updates on rules and laws. The most significant change will be happening on April 4th, 2022 when the online gambling market in Ontario will open up to any gambling company that qualifies for a legal license.

Ontario Casino Regulations

Ontario is home to more gaming businesses than any other province. There were 308 commercial gambling sites in Ontario as of December 2016, with over 300 table games available within its boundaries. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that a 2011 poll found that 82.9% of adults in the province had gambled at least once during the year.

Here are all the specific requirements based on each of the possible gambling sectors in Ontario.

Land-based Casinos

At the moment there are 25 brick and mortar casinos active in Ontario and these range from private companies to charitable organisations run by the government.

Sports Betting

Since August 27, 2021, Ontario has had single-game online sports betting through Proline+. However, there is a major development coming up shortly. On April 4, private internet sportsbooks will begin online sports betting in Ontario. The Ontario betting market will be dominated by the world’s most well-known online sportsbooks. We are seeing big American sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, theScore and BetRivers among the firms to start in early April. It was also recently announced that 888 was one of the first gambling sites to receive an AGCO license to operate in Ontario. We will include more information about this below. This also applies to online casinos.

Slot Machines

Slot machines may also be found at racetracks and other select sites, such as casinos. These are far more prevalent in Ontario than in any other Canadian province.

Lottery

Ontario residents may participate in the provincial lottery draws run by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC). These drawdowns have always been a major source of income for the province, generating over $2 billion in 2011 with an all-time record of over $3 billion in the fiscal year 2009-2010.

Horse Racing

Ontario is home to a number of racing locations. The province has fifteen racetracks at the moment. However, since 2013, their popularity has been on the wane. Horseracing is regulated by Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission.

Charitable Gambling

Charitable gaming includes events such as raffles and bingo. Over 50% of the income generated by gaming is controlled by the OLGC, which runs a few eBingo websites.

Quebec Casino Regulations

Since 1970, legal games of chance have been available in Quebec. The following are the most popular types:

Land-based Casinos

There are now nine brick and mortar casinos in Quebec. Over time, these businesses have remained popular among local residents and tourists from the United States. The Quebec Alcohol, Racing, and Gaming Commission are in charge of all operations.

Sports Betting

Mise-O-Jeu is a game similar to betting on college or professional sports that Quebecois citizens can play. It is very similar to Super 7s in the UK. You will get money if you have two to eight correct selections. You can wager from your home or at select shops throughout the city.

Bingo & Charitable Gaming

This form of gambling is controlled by Loto-Quebec.

Online Gambling

Residents of Quebec can play at any website, including casinos and Espacejeux. This may change for online gamblers soon if the Quebec government goes through with their promise to block all offshore sites not authorized by Loto-Quebec.

Lottery

Quebec has a variety of lottery games available including Lotto Max and Tout ou Rien. The lottery is the oldest form of legal gaming in Quebec. Players can enjoy the lottery daily which is the most popular form of gambling in the province.

Horse Racing

There’s only a single racetrack in Quebec located at the Quebec Hippodrome 3R. The only form of horseracing is professional harness racing. In addition to placing bets at the track, bettors can also place bets at several off-track facilities.

Video Lottery Terminals

Previously, there were a lot of illegal VLTs in operation in Quebec. The government has shut down illicit gambling but does not have as many legal machines as other provinces.

Nova Scotia Casino Regulations

Nova Scotia is the second-smallest Canadian province in terms of area and is mostly made up of farmland. However, it still has a decent gambling scene, with 87% of adults in the province admitting that they play games of chance at least once per year.

The following forms of legal gambling are available throughout the province:

Land-based Casinos

There are only two casinos in Nova Scotia, both of which are government-owned. They offer traditional slots and table games.

Sports Betting

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation offers a variety of gambling options on sports. However, the legal gambling age is 19 or older and they use the Pro-Line system. Players cannot place bets on single events or athletes and must bet on at least two athletes or teams and can choose from parlay bets to winnings that are based on cumulative scores over time.

Online Gambling

Residents are not permitted to access any online casinos hosted in the province, but offshore sites are not restricted.

Lottery & Charity Gaming

Video lottery tickets can be purchased from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation or any of their authorized sellers. Tickets are sold in over 1,000 stores throughout the province.

Horse Racing

Most of the legal races in Nova Scotia are offered at three tracks: Inverness Raceway, Northside Downs, and Truro Raceway. There are also a small number of tele-theatres for people who want to bet.

Video Lottery Terminals

VLTs are by far the most popular form of gambling in this province. There are over 2,700 VLTs in 300 licensed stores. They are mostly found in age-restricted locations such as bars and liquor stores.

New Brunswick Casino Regulations

The population of New Brunswick is just over one million people. However, there are several lawful gambling options to choose from. These include:

Land-based Casinos

The only casino in the province is in Moncton. It has several slots, casino games, and poker.

Sports Betting

The Atlantic Lottery oversees a betting game that can be purchased through licensed dealers.

Lottery

You can only legally purchase lottery tickets at 900 land-based outlets. Lotteries are run by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation.

Charitable Gaming

There are over 800 non-profit licenses available in the province, with the most popular kind of gambling among those 65 years old or older being bingo. Raffles, on the other hand, are still quite popular.

Online Gambling

Residents can play at offshore online casinos with no issues at all. In recent years, New Brunswick has openly discussed the idea of launching their own casino site similar to Manitoba and BC.

Horse Racing

The only permanent racetrack is currently at Exhibition Park Raceway. There are off-track betting facilities at Saint John, Dieppe, and Fredericton.

Video Lottery Terminals

In 1990, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation in New Brunswick introduced VLTs. We could not find specific information as to how many terminals were in this specific province.

Manitoba Casino Regulation

Manitoba is a western Canadian province that allows gambling. The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba regulates the gambling market. Within the borders of the province, residents and visitors can engage in the following legal forms of gaming:

Land-based Casinos

In Manitoba, the government and First Nations operate casinos. The province runs two of these casinos in Winnipeg, both of which are owned by the government. All these locations have a great selection of casino games.

Sports Betting

The Sport Select system allows players to wager up to $250 per day on two or more sporting event outcomes. The minimum age to play is 19, and participants can choose from options such as props, pools, and over/under bets.

Lottery

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation offers lottery tickets and scratchcards. These can be purchased online or at licensed retailers such as convenience stores.

Charitable Gambling

The following types of charitable gaming are available in Manitoba: bingo, raffles, sports draft, and Texas Hold’em poker tournaments.

Online Gaming

Manitoba launched its own online gaming site, PlayNow Manitoba, after British Columbia’s government-owned gaming website was a success. Any internet gambling operations based in another country are also permitted.

Horse Racing

Both thoroughbred and Standardbred races take place at Assiniboia Downs, the only permanent track for such events. All racing events are regulated by the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission.

Video Lottery Terminals

These games of chance are confined to VLT lounges throughout the province.

British Columbia Casino Regulation

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation has offered gaming to residents for over three decades. The available forms of gambling in British Columbia are:

Land-based Casinos

There are currently 19 casinos within the province, with a single casino belonging to the First Nations. The largest in terms of gaming space is Hard Rock Casino Vancouver with 1,000 slots, 70 table games, a poker room, and 8 baccarat tables in a high-limit room.

Sports Betting

Betting slips are available in convenience stores and other licensed locations.

Charitable Gaming

The following charitable events are available in BC: ticket raffles, bingo, poker, wheel of fortune, and social occasion casinos.

Online Gambling

PlayNow Casino, established in 2004, is the province’s only licensed and entirely legal gambling site, which is operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Sports bets, lottery, bingo, poker, and casino games are available on the site. Offshore online casinos are also legal.

Lottery

Players must be 19 or older to buy a ticket, and winners have one year from the draw date to claim their prize.

Horse Racing

British Columbia offers both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in the province. Thoroughbred races take place at Hastings Park, while the Standardbred racing takes place at Fraser Downs. There are also off-track simulcasts at 19 locations throughout the province.

Video Lottery Terminals

These games of chance are confined to VLT lounges throughout the province.

Prince Edward Island Casino Regulation

Consisting of one major island and 231 smaller islands, PEI is the smallest province in Canada. The Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission has been overseeing gambling-related activities in the region since 1976.

Land-based Casinos

The only legal casinos are at Red Shores Charlottetown Casino and Red Shores Summerside which combine harness racing and casino-style gaming. Blackjack, poker, and slots are available, and anyone over the age of 19 can take part.

Sports Betting

The Pro-Line service allows anyone 19 or older to make bets on various sporting events. Tickets may be purchased online or at licensed retailers.

Online Gambling

The only online casino games available are through offshore gaming sites.

Lottery

The provincial lottery is operated by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation.

Charitable Gaming

The following charitable games are allowed: bingo, raffles, and lottery-style contests.

Horse Racing

The main horseracing events all happen at Red Shores, located in Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside Raceway. There are no off-track betting facilities currently in operation.

Video Lottery Terminals

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation are the sole VLT operator for Prince Edward Island. There are several terminals throughout the islands.

Newfoundland and Labrador Casino Regulations

Gambling in Newfoundland and Labrador is legal. The only form of illegal gambling is land-based casinos. However, First Nations still have the right to open their own gambling establishments on tribal lands.

Here are the forms of gambling which are available on Newfoundland and Labrador:

Charitable Gaming

Charitable gaming such as raffles and bingo are overseen throughout the province by the Department of Government Services.

Sports Betting

The Pro-Line service offers sports wagering to anyone who is over 19. The maximum daily wager is capped at $250.

Online Gambling

As with most of the other Canadian provinces, offshore gaming sites are unregulated and completely legal to play at.

Lottery

Managed by the ALC, this provincial lottery offers top jackpots ranging from $10 million to $50 million. Tickets may be purchased online or at one of over 1,000 licensed retailers.

Horse Racing

St. John’s Racing and Entertainment Centre is the only legal racing track currently operating in Newfoundland.

Video Lottery Terminals

There are more than 2,000 of these devices present at 500 age-restricted retailers across the province.

Saskatchewan Casino Regulation

According to a study conducted by Statistics Canada, residents of Saskatchewan spend more per household on gambling than any other province. The following gambling activities are allowed in Saskatchewan:

Charitable Gaming

Any not-for-profit organization may apply with the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority for a license to conduct bingo or raffles.

Land-based Casinos

Saskatchewan has six casinos operated by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, as well as two more operated by the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation. Revenue from First Nations casinos is shared between the First Nations Trust, the General Revenue Fund, and Community Development Corporations.

Sports Betting

Sports Select offers legal betting on the following sports: baseball, basketball, hockey, football, and soccer. This highest allowable wager is $100.

Online Gambling

There is no regulated online casino site run by the local government in Saskatchewan. However, residents can enjoy online gambling at any offshore online casino gambling site.

Video Lottery Terminals

VLTs are capped at 4,000 machines in this province.

Horse Racing

The only track in operation is at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon. However, it was recently announced that they would no longer host thoroughbred racing and would repurpose the stadium for soccer. There are some plans to perhaps build a new horseracing track at a different location.

Lottery

This form of gambling was first introduced in Saskatchewan in 1974. The provincial lottery is run by Saskatchewan Lotteries.

Alberta Casino Regulations

The largest of the Prairie Provinces in terms of population, Alberta has a long tradition of betting and legal gambling in Canada. Over 4% of the province’s budget comes from gambling revenue, which is more than any other province in Canada. Here are all the legal forms of gambling in Alberta:

Horse Racing

Legal racing is available in Alberta at the following locations: Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, Century Mile Racetrack and Casino, Grande Prairie Regional Agricultural & Exhibition Society (Evergreen Park), and Rocky Mountain Turf Club (Whoop-Up Downs). There are numerous Simulcast locations available throughout the province.

Land-based Casinos

There are 24 casinos located in Alberta. These include a few charity-operated casinos with profits benefiting charities throughout the region, as well as two government-owned operations and five First Nations gambling houses.

Video Lottery Terminals

These VLTs in Alberta are regulated and managed by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). They can be found at licensed liquor stores across the province. There are currently 6,000 machines in operation.

Sports Betting

The Sport Select service allows players to wager on most sports events. There is a limit of $250 in daily wagers per day.

Online Gambling

Residents of Alberta can gamble at offshore online casinos and sportsbooks without any limitations.

Charitable Gaming

In addition to most of the casinos in the province, Alberta also offers legal charitable gaming such as bingo and pull tickets to qualified non-profit groups.

Lottery

Drawings occur daily and are overseen by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.

Hopefully, this summary of the many types of gaming rules in various Canadian provinces will shed some light on legal gambling in Canada. It’s worth noting that when it comes to online legal gambling in Canada, you do not have to stick to only government-owned and operated websites; you may also play at any number of offshore online casino sites as well.

Ontario’s new online gaming market will launch on April 4, 2022.

iGaming Ontario (iGO), a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), is now in charge of establishing the rules and regulations that will govern the granting of a license for any online casino or sports betting site to work in the province. It will also be in charge of protecting players and providing more choice.

On April 4, 2022, private gaming operators that have registered with the AGCO and have concluded an operating agreement with iGO will be able to offer their games in Ontario. According to these agreements, companies will operate gaming sites in the market on behalf of the Province.

Gambling has long been illegal in Canada unless managed by provincial or territorial authorities if the company is based in Canada. Many of these authorities, all mentioned above, now operate major lottery and casino operations and offer online options. As we mentioned above, many offshore gambling sites took advantage of this loophole and have been operating in Canada without any impediment. Many reports suggest they already control a large share of the market.

What Do the Changes in Ontario Mean for Gambling?

By creating a legal framework and turning Ontario into a fully regulated market, the AGCO can now bring in more revenue streams and can regulate the gambling operators as they wish. This means that the current local casinos and sportsbooks will no longer enjoy the monopoly they once maintained. This should bring in a better experience for the player and make sure to protect all players equally. In the past, players from Canada did not enjoy the full protection of the local authority.

All new companies that successfully enter the new Ontario market have to meet rigorous standards of game and operator integrity, fairness, player protection and social responsibility, allowing all players to play with confidence.

Here are the most common questions about legal gambling in Canada.