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Gambling 2021 – Laws and Regulation – Canada

100x100 Online Gambling Laws CanadaGambling laws exist to regulate the industry, but also so you know what’s allowed and what is not. Generally, countries allow you to gamble on casino games, and sports betting. But, every country does have a set of unique laws that define the perimeters of gambling in that specific country.

However, legal jargon can sometimes go over your head and leave you confused. That is why our team here at Can Casinos has put together this guide to help you better understand the gambling laws in Canada.

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Gambling Laws by State

There are different states (or provinces) in Canada and each province has its own laws that govern how things operate in the country. So, there are no standard laws that apply no matter where you are, which is why it’s important to discuss each state separately. To save time, you can scroll down to the state that you live in to find information. But we do advise you to read up on the laws in each state – just so you know.

Gambling Laws in Ontario

We cover Ontario first because to date, it has the largest population in the country. We also suspect that most of our players are located there. Here’s what you need to know about the Ontario gambling industry.

  • There are more than 25 land-based casinos operating in the state all of which are owned privately or by the national government.
  • Slot machines are the most commonly found gambling device and they are not exclusive to casinos only. You may also find a slot machine at a racetrack facility among other venues.
  • The lottery is a very lucrative business in Ontario and the province boasts of the largest lottery networks in the country. You can participate in national and provincial lottery drawings. The state also allows charitable gaming events and has multiple sport betting facilities.
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Gambling in Alberta

Alberta is one of the few provinces with a long history of sports betting and gambling. Residents in Alberta are able to enjoy playing to their heart’s content due to the few limitations placed on them. There are more than 25 casinos in the province of Alberta all of which operate as charitable events which means that the profit generated from the casinos are donated to various charities. Online casinos are also permitted.

The lottery is also quite popular in Alberta. Drawings are held on a daily basis and there are over 6000 video lottery terminals in operation. You can also engage in sports betting and charitable gaming.

Gambling Laws in Quebec

Land based and online casinos are allowed in this province. Its lottery game offering is quite diverse giving you options like Tout ou Rien, Lotto Max, and Quebec Extra. There is only one functional race track in Quebec at the moment, but various sports betting opportunities.

Gambling in Yukon

Gambling in Yukon is not as popular as it is in other Canadian provinces. Land-based casinos are not allowed to operate for more than three days, and they must be able to provide a license on days that they are open. Online gambling is less restricted. You are able to play at any online casino in the country or offshore. Lottery and sports betting facilities are available too.

Saskatchewan Gambling

There are only 6 land-based casinos operating in the state of Saskatchewan, and online gambling in prohibited in the state. You may however gamble at offshore online casinos. All other forms of gambling like lottery, sports betting, horse racing, and charitable gaming is allowed.

The other provinces in Canada, namely Nova Scotia, British Colombia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and Labrador have similar gambling offers.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is the second smallest region in the country, but has a very robust gambling industry. Lottery tickets can be purchased at over 1000 retailers throughout the country, and there are about 2700 video lottery terminals available. There are three horse race tracks open in the province and two land-based casinos. There are no online casinos available yet, but you are allowed to visit offshore online sites if you like.

British Colombia

British Colombia is doing better than Nova Scotia as far as the number of casinos available. You have access to 15 land-based casinos, but only 1 web-based casino and one race track. To play the lottery you must be 19 years and older and you may enjoy sports betting and charitable gaming too.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador accept all forms of gambling. But it surprisingly doesn’t have any land-based casinos because it’s currently banned in the province. There also aren’t any internet casinos, but you are allowed to visit as many offshore casinos as you like.

The other provinces in Canada, namely New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Manitoba, have similar gambling offers.

Apart from the provinces mentioned above, Canada also covers the Northwest territories as well as Nunavut where online gambling is legal.

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Regulatory Bodies in Canada

Like in every other country, there are various regulatory bodies that oversee the gambling industry to make sure that all players and owners adhere to the laws and rules.

Each province in Canada has its own laws that governs how things work. Below we state which main law or act that controls gambling in the Canadian provinces we mentioned above.

Province Gambling Law
Alberta Gambling, Liquor and Cannabis Act
Ontario Gaming Control Act, 1992
Ontario Gaming and Lottery Corporation Act 1999
Quebec Any Act that mentions lottery or amusement machines
Yukon Lottery Licensing Act


Illegal Gambling in Canada

Prior to the 1970’s, illegal gambling in Canada was a direct result of organised crime. Many forms of gambling were illegal at the time, but some people still found a way to gamble despite the fact that it was wrong. Today, most gambling restrictions have been relaxed and you are able to play whatever game you wish. However, many still act above the law, and do things they aren’t supposed to. This has forced provincial law enforcement to be sterner when it comes to seeing that everyone abides by the rules.

The Criminal Code of Canada mentions some of the illegal forms of gambling in the country. There are many offenses listed in the code but the common ones include:

  • Cheating on casino games, particularly games of chance.
  • Striking deals with sportsbooks and casinos that operate illegally.
  • Hosting gambling events without authorization on a regular basis.