Everything You Should Know About The Gambling Legislation In Canada

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by Cameron Dover
Gambling Legislation In Canada

Probably the main question on the lips of any new Canadian gambler still getting acquainted with the glamorous world of virtual casinos is whether they are legally allowed to wager real money online. Shortly put, yes. At the moment, Canadian regulations do not outlaw or prohibit the provision of online forms of gambling provided by private companies that have obtained a license. The Federal Criminal Code makes this very clear in sections 201 through 206. Canadian operators offering online gaming services to players in the country need to comply with the Federal laws, while foreign or offshore operators are completely safe and legal to use.

A quick mention of the 2019 gross revenues generated by offshore casinos ($392 million) and the projections expected by the end of 2020 ($451 million) should be enough to understand that the industry is on an ascending trend, flourishing and not showing signs of going anywhere anytime soon. This is why we believe it to be important to shed some more light on a few critical Canadian gambling law matters so that new players can know exactly what to expect and how to make the safest choices possible.

Canadian Gambling Laws In The Past

The country has an interesting history in regards to gambling and it is closely tied to the name of an Italian explorer, John Cabot, who landed his Matthew ship on the East Coast in 1497. According to historians, Cabot brought along a deck of playing cards that the crew made use of to keep busy during their long travels on the water. While Cabot is not the father of gambling in Canada, his contribution is certainly a noteworthy one in the history of gambling in Canada. However, long before this historical voyage took place, gambling was already a popular form of entertainment among the native people here.

When the settlers started to take control of the country during the Gold Rush in the 15th century, gambling was not a regulated activity. By 1892, when the first Criminal Code was first enforced, it outlawed most betting forms. In 1910, the law was updated and it enabled parimutuel betting as well as a few casino games for charity work. The Canadian gambling laws went through various other amendments in the following years, from but they remained rather unaltered until the seventies, when the changes to the Criminal Code enabled the provinces to license and regulate gambling, with some minor exceptions.

The Current Legal Status of Gambling in Canada

Canadian citizens are not subject to legal risks when wagering at online casinos, no matter if they choose to do it for pure entertainment or as a means of earning a secondary income. Also, there are no Canadian citizens ever to be prosecuted for playing at online casinos or engaging in games or poker for real money online. The same foes for wagering on sports online. As stated before, all virtual casinos that operate from within Canadian borders must have a license or they must be located offshore. If you want to know what it the best online Canadian real money casino at the moment, take a look at our top recommendations.

Keep in mind that the Canadian gambling legislation does not tax any winnings from gambling activities unless they are regarded as a means of employment when certain criteria are met (skills used, frequency, expected payouts, and so on). Canadian players who choose to have a gambling session online will not have their potential winnings taxed.

Furthermore, according to the Criminal Code in the country, playing at online casinos is not considered a crime.

Canadian provinces are legally allowed to regulate and issue gambling licenses within their borders. There are lots of land casino operators on top of lotteries that are currently run by the gaming authorities in their provinces. These authorities are, as follows:

  • Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

  • Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission

  • BCLC

  • Liquor and Gaming Commission of Manitoba

  • Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority

  • New Brunswick Gaming Control

  • Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division Service of Nova Scotia

  • Lotto Quebec

  • Service NL

  • Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission

While these gaming authorities currently run private gambling platforms online with casino games on display, they are known to be of poorer quality in terms of bonuses, graphics, and playability compared to offshore casinos dedicated to Canadian players. The Kahnawake Commission is placed in Quebec and they set up their Gaming Commission in 1996. since they are an First Nations territory, they are a sovereign entity fromm a legal standpoint, and this means they do not need to comply with the Canadian gambling laws. They have the right to issue licenses and also to regulate online casinos located offshore and their original work mostly included Microgaming branded casinos.

The Future Of Gambling Legislation In Canada

There is an overall laissez-faire type of attitude embraced by most of the officials involved in the development of Canadian gambling laws. Government representatives have not expressed their desire to tighten the laws or outlaw online gambling at offshore casinos, which means players can expect to see the same level of permissiveness and fairness when it comes to accessing and playing online casinos.

The Canadian government continues to concentrate on other topics considered of greater importance, so we can expect to see a continuation of the status quo with gamblers freely playing their favorite casino games or engaging in sports betting online using reputable casinos located offshore or online casinos licensed by the government.

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