Gambling Guide: Regulations, Laws & Policies in Canada
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Gambling Regulations in Canada

Online casinos are becoming popular day by day in Canada. In fact, a Canadian Gaming report indicates that 70% of Canadians participated in some form of sports betting in the last year alone.

However, when it comes to gambling laws in Canada, it isn’t all black and white in the case of online casinos. Earlier gambling laws in Canada made sure that online casinos shouldn’t operate from within the country. Still, it didn’t mention whether players can gamble on offshore online casinos or not. Moreover, seeing the growing interest of Canadians in online casinos, some provincial governments in Canada started their own online casinos.

Be that as it may, there are many things that you will have to consider while playing at the international online casinos regulated by foreign licensing authorities. So, scroll down and find out everything that you have to know about gambling regulations in Canadian provinces.

Gambling In Canada

The federal government of Canada permitted all the ten provinces to make their own gambling laws. So, depending on the province you live in, you will have to ensure that you qualify for the minimum legal age, pay taxes, and the ways to gamble (which sports betting is allowed and which isn’t).

This guide will inform you about everything regarding the gambling laws in each province. Of course, you can skip to the individual sections and read the gambling laws of your region.

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What Are The Gambling Regulations For Each Canadian Province?

All the ten Canadian provinces have different gaming authority boards. Needless to say, all of them differ on their views of influence, control, and regulations over legal gambling like online gambling, lottery tickets, horse racing, and regulated sports betting sites.

As you might already know, online gambling sites are not allowed to operate from any province. In fact, any accessible legal gambling site that you access — from any Canadian province — is licensed by a foreign authority.

Still, the gambling laws in Canada apply to the players. And these laws in Canada state that the players (depending on their location) must abide by the local regulations when participating in sports betting.

As you will find out, the gaming authority board has similar laws and regulations on sports betting. Still, the type of sports betting — like horse racing, lottery tickets, online gaming, casino games — you can play and the legal age difference in all the ten provinces significantly.

For your convenience, the Casinovator’s team have listed all the things that you should know about laws in Canada about sports betting and online gamling sites. Skip to your province and ensure to read thoroughly to avoid being a part of illegal gambling.

Gambling Regulations In British Columbia

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation allows anyone 19 years or above to participate in legal gambling. You can visit any gambling location and the community gambling centers and gamble. The ways to gamble are horse racing, online casinos, slot machines, licensed gambling events, bingo, and other sports betting options.

All the gambling locations, including online gambling sites, are government-owned in British Columbia. Other people looking to organize gambling events can apply for a license; however, you are eligible to host your sports betting events only if it benefits the community. So, ensure to validate the gambling location. And confirm the owner, i.e., the B.C. government or not — this rules out illegal gambling events.

Gambling Regulations In Quebec

Quebec is one of the few provinces in Canada that has its own online casinos for users. There is a good chance you might have heard about Espacejeux — yes, the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Loto-Québec regulates and manages it.

The gambling regulations allow anyone above 18 years to participate in sports betting and online gambling. You can play all the state casinos (overseen by the provincial government). The ways to gamble include horse racing, lotteries, instant betting, and sports betting options. Moreover, you can also play on the offshore-run online casinos, as the gambling laws are in the gray area when it comes to online casinos.

Gambling Regulations In Ontario

Ontario is the hub of gambling in Canada. Having over 25 land-based casinos and 9900+ lottery outlets, Ontario’s annual revenue from its commercial gambling hubs was about C$6.1 billion in 2021 alone. However, Ontario’s government uses all the profits for the community.

Needless to say, you will find all popular sports betting options at its land-based casinos and gambling locations. Anyone above the age of 19 can play casino games and take part in any form of legal gambling options. One of the best things about Ontario is it allows residents to play on offshore internet gambling sites.

Gambling Regulations in Alberta

Alberta has five state-owned land-based casinos and allows anyone above 18 to participate in the legal gambling and sports betting options like horse racing, casinos, and more.

Unlike Quebec, Alberta doesn’t have an online casino. So, the only way to participate in online betting is via offshore online casinos. You can play traditional casino games like blackjack, slots, and poker. Of course, any form of (considered) illegal gambling is the responsibility of the online casino operators. So, you will only find sports betting and online gaming options allowed by the federal government in Alberta. 

Gambling Regulations In Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia permits the residents to participate in land-based or online gaming and sports betting options. The legal age for gambling in Nova Scotia is 19. So, if you are above 19, you can play casino games. You can play at land-based casinos as well as offshore online casinos.

Players can choose not to disclose their winnings from playing at the offshore casinos as long as they are not professional players. So, if you are from Nova Scotia and want to gamble online, log in to the best online casinos accessible in Canada and start playing casino games of your choice.

Gambling Regulations In Saskatchewan

The provincial government of Saskatchewan allows anyone above 19 years to gamble online and place bets in the local sports betting events. The Saskatchewan government also owns nine commercial gambling hubs throughout the region. Moreover, you will find all the casino games like slot machines, blackjack, table games, and other sports betting options.

You can also play at the offshore online casinos, as the Saskatchewan gambling laws don’t oppose them. Like all the provinces, even Saskatchewan doesn’t consider income generated from online gambling as taxable as long as you’re not a professional gambler and have other sources of income.

Gambling Regulations In Manitoba

The legal age for gambling in Manitoba is 18. It has over six land-based casinos and 900+ lottery outlets. The land-based casinos in Manitoba include all major casino games. Instant gambling options like lotteries are also allowed in Manitoba.

Manitoba residents can also play at the international online casinos as long as the online casino facilitates only legal service casino games, i.e., it should be regulated by an offshore gaming authority. 

Gambling Regulations In New Brunswick

New Brunswick only has two land-based casinos; however, there are many legal sports betting options like horse racing, lotteries, and charitable gaming.

The legal age for gambling in New Brunswick is 19. Moreover, the gambling laws in New Brunswick do not prohibit residents from participating in online betting. You can sign up at any international online casino site accessible in your region and play casino games. Again, the income generated from online gaming isn’t taxable.

Gambling Regulations In Prince Edward Island

Like New Brunswick, the legal age for gambling in Prince Edward Island is 19. You will find many ways to gamble. The province includes two physical casinos and lottery outlets.

Moreover, the gambling laws allow the residents to engage in foreign online casinos and play casino games. It doesn’t have any online casino of its own, so you will have to rely on offshore gambling sites.

Gambling Regulations In Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador don’t have a regulatory body of their own, and Alberta's authorities oversee the land-based casinos and sports betting revenues like lottery outlets. Still, gambling laws allow residents to play casino games and participate in sports betting options freely.

Residents can also play at the offshore online casinos accessible in the region and do not have to disclose their winnings unless they have other sources of taxable income.

Different Rules For Difference Provinces And Territories

The above gambling laws of each province clearly indicate that gambling and sports betting is legal thorough out Canada. Moreover, residents can also play casino games at the international online casinos accessible in their region.

However, there are a few things in which each province differs, like the legal age. For instance, Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba's minimum allowed age for sports betting is 18. At the same time, the other regions do not permit anyone under the age of 19 to take part in legal sports betting events.

The same is the case when it comes to taxation on gambling. The professionals have to pay taxes on their winnings. And the rate of charge differs from province to province.

Quebec has the highest tax rate, a 15% tax on winnings. The lowest tax rates are Nunavut, which charges a 4% tax on the winnings.

How Much Money Is Gambling Worth In Canada?

Gambling in Canada is a multi-billion dollar industry. Since the pandemic, the year-on-year increase did plummet. Nevertheless, after the lockdown, the gambling revenue is climbing again and is projected to be around US$ 12.54 billion in 2022.

Looking at the individual provinces, the gambling generated in 2021 are:

Canadian ProvincesAnnual Revenue from GamblingCount of land-based casinosCount of Lottery outlets
British ColumbiaC$2.7 billion30+ land-based casinos4300+ lottery outlets
ManitobaC$814 millionSix land-based casinos900+ lottery outlets
Quebec   
Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland)C$1.1 billionSix land-based casinos3000 lottery outlets
SaskatchewanC$773 millionEight land-based casinos900+ lottery outlets
OntarioC$6.3 billion25+ land-based casinos9900+ lottery outlets

*The gambling revenue mentioned here accounts for all forms of legal gambling options like horse racing, parlay bets, the casino gambling industry, and other forms of sports betting.

Gambling Taxes On Players

Gambling isn’t a source of income for most players. They play the game of chance for the sake of fun and entertainment. And this is why the individual provinces nor the federal government in Canada (the CRA) allow you not to disclose the winnings if you do not want.

However, if gambling is the source of your income, in other words, if you are a professional poker player or play a “game of chance” to make money, then the income is taxable.

For instance, if you have a stable job and pay taxes, then no disclosure of winnings is required. So, you do not have to worry about taxes and confusion over the question of showing the receipts in books or not, as you can choose to exclude them.

However, any interest generated with the winnings is taxable. That is to say, if you have started a business with the winnings, then you do have to pay the taxes.

Who Operates Casinos In Canada?

The gambling laws in Canada make it apparent that online casinos are not allowed to run from within the country. However, several operators have found loopholes and operate online casinos despite being based in Canada. Needless to say, they have also managed to get the license from the respected regulated sport betting licensing authority.

Some of the popular online casinos in Canada are:

Jackpot City

Licensed by Kahnawake Gaming Commission and Malta Gaming Authority, Jackpot City is one of the top-rated online casinos worldwide. Founded in 1998, Jackpot City has more than 500 casino games, including online slot machines, mega moolah, and wheel of wishes. Moreover, you will find all the traditional casino games like blackjack, roulette, and other parlay bets and legal sport betting options and land a jackpot.Playolg.caLicensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Playolg.ca is a Canadian online casino with exciting casino games, giving a real casino-like experience, including all online casino games like blackjack, poker, and other legal sports betting options. Moreover, unlike most online casinos, Playolg.ca also has instant online gaming options like scratch cards and more. Although licensed by the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Ontario, Playold.ca is accessible throughout Canada.

Espacejeux

Espacejux is certified by the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Loto-Québec. Espacejeux is one of the best options for Canadian players not looking to play at offshore online casino sites. It includes live casino games, slot machines, table games, and keno. You will also find virtual sports and instant online gaming options. Canadians looking to play casino games will find Espacejeux entertaining and fascinating. The user interface looks calm and is simple enough to be liked even by the technophobic.

Playnow

Under the jurisdiction of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Playnow has all that a player looks for on an online casino site. With tons of casino games and instant online gaming and sports betting options, Playnow features all the winning stories for the users to see and inspire. Of course, it also advises you to abide by the gambling rules like playing responsibly. So, if you want to stick to local Canadian sites, you should check out Playnow and have fun playing casino games on the site.

WCLC.com

Regulated and overseen by the Western Canadian Lottery Corporation, WCLC.com may not have a cool-looking layout. But it sure has tons of casino games and instant sports betting options like parlay bets. However, do not expect WCLC.com to have many casino games. Instead, it is a platform known for Lotto variants, poker, and keno. Again, you can access WCLC.com from any province in Canada and play casino games.

Equally important to note, the land-based casinos are provincial government-owned — or at least have affiliation — with the respective regional government. You will find land-based casinos in every part of Canada.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Gamble In Canada?

Just like the gambling laws, each province has a different stance on the minimum age for sports betting.

ProvinceLegal Age for Sports Betting
British Columbia19
Manitoba18
New Brunswick19
Newfoundland and Labrador19
Nova Scotia19
Ontario19
Prince Edward Island19
Quebec18
Saskatchewan19
Alberta18

Ensure to participate in sports betting if you qualify the minimum age criteria. You might think that you can cheat the system by entering the wrong age at the online casinos. But you will be wrong, as you will have to verify the identity at the time of withdrawal. Moreover, the name you use at the time of signup should show in the ID that you submit to the internet gambling site.

Furthermore, as a parent, you should ensure that you block access to gambling sites on your kid's devices. You can use a block listing or parental control app to ensure that your kid is safe on the internet. 

Who Issues Licenses For Online Casinos?

If you follow Casinovator, you might already know that every casino — land-based or online casino — must have an operating license from a gaming authority. This ensures that there is no shady business and the casino is not there to cheat the customers. Plus, the lack of license is a red flag. That is to say — if you do not find the license on a gaming site, it is best not to sign up on the platform, irrespective of how big a bonus they are giving or what offers they have for the users.

Different federal government authorities enact legislation and provide licenses to online casinos to ensure that operations conducted will be fair.

When it comes to online casinos, the provincial and federal governments do not issue licenses. By gambling laws in Canada, no online gambling sites are allowed to run from within the country. As a result, all the online casinos accessible in Canada are offshore entities (exceptions).

Still, it does not mean that the offshore regulatory bodies are not genuine. As long as the license is issued by an official regulatory body, you can ensure that online gambling sites host provably fair casino games.

Moreover, depending on the country of origin, you will see different licensing bodies. But the most popular online casinos license authorities are:

  • Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta
  • Curacao eGaming Licencing Authority, Netherlands Antilles
  • The UK Gambling Commission
  • Gibraltar Licencing and Regulatory Authority 
  • Alderney Gaming Control Commission
  • Curacao eGaming
  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission

*We ensure that all the online casinos listed on Casinovator have a license from a reputed licensing authority.

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The Malta Gaming Authority is an independent regulatory body that governs many gaming activities, including online casinos, other sports betting, and even games of skills like fantasy sports. It acts by the Gaming Act (Cap. 583). The gaming act loosely translates to protecting players’ rights and prohibiting minors’ participation in the iGaming space. Moreover, it also verifies whether the online casino includes provably fair casino games and reviews that the online casino isn’t involved in criminal activities like money laundering before issuing the Gaming license.

Here are some of the best online casinos licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority and are accessible to Canadian players:

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Top UKGC-licensed Casinos

The UK Gaming Commission regulates all prominent gaming types in Great Britain, including the National Lottery. The UK Gaming Commission issues licenses to private businesses operating online casinos and gambling sites in the UK. If you find the UK Gaming Commission’s license on any online casino or sports betting site, you do not have to worry about the online casino protecting your rights. The UK Gaming Commission also governs and oversees regular audits to ensure there is no shady business from the online casino operators. Most online casinos accessible in Canada are licensed by the UK Gaming Commission.

Here are some of the best online casinos licensed by the UK Gaming Commission and are accessible to Canadian players:

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Top Kahnawake-licensed Casinos

Kahnawake Gaming Commission regulates all the gaming activities in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. Founded in 1999, Kahnawake Gaming Commission is one of the oldest regulatory bodies in the iGaming realm. Moreover, it also regulates and influences even the land-based casino in the region. Kahnawake Gaming Commission licenses Poker Rooms, Raffles, and Electronic Gaming Devices at the land-based casinos. It also oversees players’ complaints and handles all disputes on its end. The vision of Kahnawake Gaming Commission is to protect players’ rights, ensure integrity, and prohibit criminality.

Here are some of the best online casinos licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and are accessible to Canadian players:

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Top Curacao-licensed Casinos

Curacao eGaming is another license that you are going to see in most casinos. Its reputation is one of the highest in the iGaming space. Probably this is why most online casinos opt for a Curacao even after having a certificate from their own regulatory bodies. Curacao provides licenses for all gambling realms, including online casinos, sports betting, poker, lotteries, and bingo! And one of the best things about Curacao eGaming licensing authority is they ensure that the online casino has the most prominent gaming providers like Microgaming, NetEnt, Betsoft, and other foremost brands before issuing a license.

Here are some of the best online casinos licensed by the Curacao eGaming and are accessible to Canadian players:

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2. LuckyDays Casino

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Top Gibraltar-licensed Casinos

Gibraltar’s Licensing authority works under the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 and ensures that the online casino follows all the gambling rules before issuing the license. One of the most prominent aspects of Gibraltar’s licensing authority is to ensure that the operators do not have any criminal history. Additionally, the online casino facilitates provably fair casino games and provides a fair online gaming experience for the users. Besides licensing the physical casinos and sports betting venues, Gibraltar licensing authority also provides certificates for sports betting via telephone or email.

Here are some of the best online casinos licensed by Gibraltar’s Licensing Authority and are accessible to Canadian players:  

1. 777

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2. 888 Casino

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What Are The Gambling Regulations About Advertising In Canada?

The gambling laws in Canada have made it clear that any form of advertising related to gambling is not allowed. That is, as long as it is not from the provincial government or charitable organizations.

Moreover, the advertisement from the companies that have a license and have prior permission must adhere to the following:

  • Ensure that the activities are considered legal by the respective provincial governments.
  • The advertisement should clearly discourage minors from participating in sports betting.
  • The advertisement should discourage users from recklessly spending money on bettings as well as advise them about responsible gambling.
  • The advertisement should not infer and make their ad based on the winning amount.
  • Any promotion on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter is not advised.

*Advertisement of fantasy gambling is permitted.

How To Protect Your Winnings In Canada?

The current gambling laws in Canada tax only the professional players involved in gambling to “make a living.”

That is to say, if you have other taxable income like a stable job, you do not have to disclose nor have to pay any taxes on the winnings. However, it is critical to note that gambling laws in Canada can change (we will update the article). Nevertheless, it is best to hire a financial advisor if you hit the jackpot. There are many benefits, from advising you on what to do with your winnings to dealing with legal aspects, and a financial advisor will come in handy.

Be that as it may, as long as your winnings do not account for much, i.e., 40-50K slab, you do not have to pay any taxes as long as you are not a professional gambler.

FAQs

  • Are Casino Winnings In Canada Taxable?
    • You do not have to worry about taxes until you qualify as a “professional gambler” in Canada. However, you will have to adhere to gambling laws like qualifying a certain age — as directed by the respective province laws in Canada to participate in commercial gambling.
  • Are Poker Winnings Taxable In Canada?
    • The status of tax on gambling revenue earned from poker is ambiguous according to laws in Canada. For instance, the laws in Canada state that “income from a business” is taxable, i.e., if you make a living playing poker, then the winnings are subject to taxable income.
      Moreover, if you are a frequent poker player — like if you participate in country-wide poker tournaments — the income generated is taxable.
      However, this question is best explained by the Globe And Mail’s article, which states that “the Income Tax Act doesn’t have an answer” about poker winnings. Moreover, there haven’t been any cases from the government of Canada explaining when the poker income is taxable. That is to say, no law or case makes it obvious what is the upthrust from which the poker winnings are subject to income tax.
  • If I Win The Lottery, Will My Winnings Be Taxed?
    • The laws in Canada make it clear that you do NOT have to disclose your lottery winnings to the CRA. Nor pay any taxes on lottery winnings.
      However, you will have to disclose and pay taxes if you earn interest from the winnings or invest the winnings and turn profits via them. 
      But then again, if you are involved in the lottery business, then you do have to disclose and pay taxes. For instance, if you are a lottery ticket seller and win commission on the winnings, you must disclose the amount. And pay taxes — as it becomes the source of your income and not a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
      All in all, unless you are professional or make a living from any form of gambling, you do not have to disclose the winnings to Canada Revenue Agency nor pay taxes on the income generated via sports betting.
  • Whose Responsibility Is It To Stop Underage Gambling In Canada?
    • If you are an online gambler, it is the job of the online gaming site operator to verify your identity and ensure you qualify for the legal age. Most online betting sites will allow you to deposit funds and participate in sports betting without a government-issued ID. However, you must submit an ID card to verify your identity when you withdraw funds.
      Coming to land-based casinos or offline gambling like horse racing, parlay bets, etc., it falls upon the legal guardian to ensure their children do not participate in commercial gambling.
      Parents can use blocklisting applications or parental control applications to ensure that their children do not participate in online sports betting.
  • What Terms Need To Be Met To Get A Gambling License In Canada?
    • If you want to get a gambling license in Canada, you will have to take the following steps:
      Prepare the business plan: describe your business and have a report to be submitted to the respective gaming authority.
      List all the gambling activities your business will conduct: you will have to get approved for all types of legal gambling activities.
      Audited accounts: you will have to prove that your money is clean. For instance, it isn’t funding terrorism and so on.
      Verified ID: you will have to verify your identity with proper documentation.
      Background checks: the board will review your past activities and ensure that you are not involved in money laundering and other illegal activities.
      On-ground review: the authorities will send a certified team to review the business case.
  • Who Licenses Lotteries In Canada?
    • Lottery qualifies as a legal form of gambling in Canada, so there are regulatory bodies that ensure fair gambling. In effect from 1976, Interprovincial Lottery Corporation was formed to influence, control, and regulate lotteries in Canada.
      Coming to the licensing authority, the lottery regulators are five provincial lottery commissions. And they are:
      The Atlantic Lottery Corporation.
      The British Columbia Lottery Corporation.
      Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
      Loto-Québec Lottery Commission.
      The Western Canada Lottery Corporation.
      The Atlantic Lottery Corporation oversees the Prince Edward Islands, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador regions.
  • Is Sport Betting Illegal In Canada?
    • When it comes to legal sports betting options like horse racing, parlay bets, land-based casinos — it is legal according to laws in Canada.
      ave found loopholes in the jurisdiction to allow Canadian players to participate in online gambling and play casino games. So, as long as you play at the legal online casinos  — all legal sites are listed on Casinovator — you do not have to worry about gambling laws.