Canada offers a wide range of gambling opportunities, and is home to some of the world’s largest and most successful casinos. But before you head to the nearest casino, it’s important to understand the gambling laws in Canada. This comprehensive guide to gambling laws in Canada will give you the information you need to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.
You’ll learn about the different types of gambling that are legal and illegal in Canada, as well as the regulations that apply to each type. Also, you’ll find out about the different provincial gaming commissions, and the penalties for breaking the law.
Overview of gambling laws in Canada
Gambling laws in Canada are complex and vary depending on the type of gambling in question. While some forms of gambling are legal, others are strictly prohibited. It’s important to understand the difference between the types of gambling, as breaking the law can lead to hefty fines and even jail time.
You’ll need to know what forms of gambling are legal and where, as well as the associated regulations. When it comes to gambling laws in Canada, there are two main factors that you need to keep in mind:
- The type of gambling
- Where it’s taking place
These two factors determine whether or not the form of gambling is legal in Canada. Legal types of gambling include charitable gaming, lotteries, and casinos. Illegal forms of gambling include pool selling, bookmaking, and bank/credit card games.
Online gambling laws
Online gambling in Canada is a very gray area. While the laws are vague, most online gambling websites don’t violate the law. There are no federal laws against online gambling, so each province is free to decide if and how online gambling is regulated.
Some provinces have strict laws in place that prohibit online gambling, while others have no laws at all. In some provinces, online gambling is only legal at licensed casinos, while others don’t have any laws against online gambling.
If you are a fan of online casinos then we recommend that you register with a no verification online casino. There are more and more Canadian no verification withdrawal casinos which don’t require KYC these days and you do not have to go through a lengthy verification process to make withdrawals or even place bets.
Types of gambling legal in Canada
There are 3 main types of gambling which are legal in Canada:
- Charitable Gambling – This type of gambling is regulated by the provincial gaming commissions, and only applies to bingo games. Bingo is legal in every province except Quebec, New Brunswick, and British Columbia, where it’s only legal at special events. Bingo games must be licensed and the earnings must be used for charitable purposes. Bingo is the only form of legal gambling for minors.
- Lotteries – This includes both provincial and multi-jurisdictional lotteries. While individual provinces set the rules for their own lotteries, the Canadian Lottery and Lotto Authority oversees the rules for multi-jurisdictional lotteries. Lotteries are legal across Canada as long as they’re run by the provincial government, and the earnings go towards a non-profit cause.
- Casinos – Gambling at casinos is legal across Canada, and considered to be the most popular form of gambling in the country. Casinos are heavily regulated by the provincial gaming commissions, and require a special license for operation.
Provincial gaming commissions
The provincial gaming commissions are responsible for issuing licenses, regulating gambling, and investigating complaints related to gambling. They also determine whether or not a form of gambling is legal in their respective province. The commissions are responsible for making sure that all gambling operations are safe, fair, and above board.
Canadian provincial gambling commissions are:
- British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC)
- Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC)
- Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SGC)
- Manitoba Lotteries Corporation (MLC)
- Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)
- Quebec Établissement de Jeux et de Loisirs (EJL)
- New Brunswick Gaming and Revenue Authority (GRAA)
- Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission (GCC)
- Prince Edward Island Lotteries and Gaming Corporation (LGC)
- Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor and Gaming Authority (LLGA)
Charitable gaming is regulated by the provincial gaming commissions, and allows non-profit organizations to raise money legally through gambling. The regulatory body sets the rules, and determines which forms of gambling are legal and when they can take place.
Some types of gambling are restricted to specific times. Legal forms of charitable gambling include bingo, raffles, and sports betting. Bingo and raffles can take place at any time, while sports betting is restricted to certain times of the year. In order to operate legally, a non-profit organization must have a special license from the provincial gaming commission.
Gambling is considered to be a form of entertainment, and as such, it’s important to play responsibly. As a gambler, you have a responsibility to yourself and others to play responsibly, and to understand the laws. While it’s impossible to win every time, you can minimize your losses by playing smart.
Make sure to check the laws before you start gambling, and play within your means. Don’t let gambling interfere with other aspects of your life. If you find yourself gambling too often, or losing more than you can afford, it’s important to seek help.