A Complete Guide to Canada Gambling Laws

A Complete Guide to Canada Gambling Laws


Oh Canada, what a place to be!

Canada is an amazing country and there are plenty of reasons to fall in love with this special piece of land. It is no longer news that Canadian lands always appear at the top of the list of the best countries to visit, but also to study and even to live in. 

What are the reasons behind this reputation? There are many, many reasons to love Canada and safety, job opportunities, how nice people are and the natural landscapes are all part of this choice.

Why is Canada such a special place?

Well, for starters, Canadians know a thing or two about being extremely efficient when it comes to work, while still balancing it out perfectly with having a good social time, as well as enough time to rest. Sounds like a dream? For Canadians that’s just how life works!

Another great reason to add Canada to the top countries to be at, is their great variety of gambling offers. So, if gambling is part of your selection of hobbies, buckle up and enjoy the ride we have stored for you because in this article we will shortly guide you through the gambling laws of Canada, from its history to its present state. 

Stick around and real until the end, to find out why Canada is a special place for those who love to gamble and enjoy our complete guide to Canada's gambling laws, that we have carefully prepared for you.

We hope you like it!


Something that has always been a big part of Canada's citizens fun time was the opportunity to relax while playing some traditional casino games. So, it is clear that the interest in the game arose in Canada since the very first settlers.

As it is expected, it all started with very simple and unpretentious games, which people played mostly at home. As cities grew, so did casinos, which even then could offer a reasonable range of gambling entertainment activities.

But gambling in Canada wasn’t always widely accepted and, similarly to a lot of different countries all over the world, the gambling industry went through a hard period in Canada, due to prohibitive laws. 

After the emergence of Canada as an independent state in 1867, the country's law underwent a major transformation when it came to gambling. The Penal Code, adopted in 1892, explicitly and unequivocally prohibited all forms of gambling for money. 

However, this strict ban did not last long, and as early as the early 20th century laws were changed and started being less tough on games of chance. They started by allowing bingo lotteries and sweepstakes. At first it was only allowed for charitable organizations, but gradually these and other types of gambling gained wider and wider audiences.

Years passed, times changed and people wanted more excitement and interesting experiences. Finally, in 1999, casinos in Canada became fully legal and slowly gambling became less and less stigmatized. 

Today, online casinos are very popular in Canada and in every province, you can find a working casino that can offer its visitors a rich collection of gaming solutions. From live blackjack, online poker, slot machines, baccarat and sports bets, Canadians casinos are incredibly well equipped with some of the best slot machines offer, table games variety and the most modern casino games. 


There are no doubts that Canada is one of the countries where gambling is widespread. But let’s go straight to the topic that led you here: Canada's Gambling Laws!

Even though gambling is very widely spread and socially accepted, the question of its legality was always complex, even today. Today, the country’s gambling revenue stands at an impressive C$14 billion a year. But still… There is a massive gray area when it comes to Canadian gambling laws. 

Something to take into consideration is that, the fact that each province and territory manage and oversee gambling activities means that gambling laws and rules will be different, depending on where you live in Canada. 

Here are some curious facts that will show you, with examples, how different gambling laws and realities can be in Canada:

  • Quebec is the most liberal province when it comes to gambling laws and its residents can access any offshore casino:
  • Gambling is so popular in Alberta, it became the province with the most land-based casinos, currently at 25. This number is followed by Ontario, with 24 land-based casinos. 
  • In Manitoba, sports bets are limited to C$250 per day.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, land-based casinos are not allowed to operate and, in Saskatchewan, it is prohibited for online casinos to be based there.  
  • In Yukon Territory, it is not allowed for a land-based casino to operate permanently, but it is possible to get a temporary license, for a maximum of three days. 
  • The minimum legal age to engage in gambling activities in Canada is 19, except for Quebec and Alberta, where you must be at least 18. 

This short list is intended to give you a general view about how hard it is to talk about uniformized Canadian gambling laws. However, one thing you can keep in mind is that gambling is allowed for everyone in Canada, as long as you are 19 years or older. 


The development of technologies had a profound impact on the gaming business sphere. Furthermore, the World Wide Web has brought new life and new excitement into this field, also making it grow exponentially. Nowadays, in Canada, anyone can visit an online casino by just going to their desired website on their computer or mobile device.

However, betting virtually is still very ambiguously regulated. The rules are not clear and not specific enough, resulting in a big gray area. 

Technically, there is a ban that does not allow anyone to operate a gambling site without a license. But as it is, sites with offshore accounts online are not part of the restriction.

The laws governing online gambling in Canada are a bit unclear. Let’s see:

The Federal Penal Code is the rule of law that governs gambling in Canada. Sections 201 through section 206 makes all types of gambling, betting and lotteries illegal throughout Canada, with very limited exceptions. This Penal Code deals with a wide range of illegal gambling crimes. Section 201 includes many offenses, but the most common is holding a common game or bookmaker, section 202 deals with illegal betting, bookmaking and pool selling, section 206 deals with offenses relating to lotteries and other games of chance, while section 209 deals with cheating in games of chance with fraudulent intent. As a general rule, a form of gambling is illegal in Canada if it is not licensed or administered by the government at the federal or provincial level.

Whether you are in Canada or anywhere else in the world, the advantages of playing in online casinos, instead of traditional land-based casinos are plenty, such as:

  • It is so easy to play! You can access a Canadian online casino from any device, from anywhere in the country and at any time;
  • A massive selection of online casino games! A land-based casino is physically limited to accommodate such a large selection of games such as never-ending options of online slot machines, hundreds of roulettes, table games and so on. 
  • You can play for free! Most online casinos will give you the option to play in a free demo mode - this feature allows players not to invest a dime, while still playing their favorite online casino games. All modern online casinos in Canada offer customers a chance to try out this option even without having to register or make a deposit.
  • In Canada, online casino gambling is completely legal; owners pay taxes and advertise their establishments free of charge on radio and television.


There is no doubt that the development of digital technology will not be ignored by online gambling and that online casinos in Canada will become more and more alive, attractive and interesting for visitors. For example, some locations have already implemented the possibility of using virtual reality technology for a better immersion in the slot atmosphere. So far, it is available in some establishments and only for microcomputer owners, but the next discoveries will only add to the overall quality of the business.


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