Canadian Gambling Laws and Legislation: Explore the Legal Landscape

Casinos are regulated to give you the best possible user experience. Additionally, these legislative guidelines allow for fair play across Canadian territories, consequently elevating your gameplay and ensuring the safety you’ve come to expect at all major Canadian online casinos.

A Brief History on the Evolution of Canadian Gambling Laws

Gambling has a rich history in Canada, originating with the indigenous peoples, who engaged in diverse gaming activities long before European settlers arrived. These early games, utilizing natural materials like sticks and stones, served various social, economic, and spiritual purposes. The arrival of Europeans introduced more structured and commercial gaming forms, like lotteries, aiding the development of early settlements.

The late 20th century brought a significant shift with the advent of the internet, leading to the emergence of online casinos. These platforms offered Canadians a convenient way to access various casino games from home. The initial legality of online gambling was ambiguous, with varying regulations across provinces. The surge in online casinos’ popularity led to the establishment of regulatory frameworks by provincial governments to license and oversee online gambling, ensuring safety and fairness.

Today, online casinos are integral to Canada’s gambling industry, providing a range of games and continuously evolving with technological advancements, introducing innovations like live dealer games and virtual sports betting. The provinces continue to refine their laws and regulations to adapt to the changing dynamics of online gambling and safeguard Canadian players.

Gavel sitting on poker table.

Staying Legal: Gambling Laws for Internet Casinos

Internet Gambling laws are designed to protect you and fellow gambling enthusiasts. Depending on the province you reside in, laws will differ from your gambling companion across the border.

Here we break down the core pillar stones of gambling within the Great White North:

Provincial autonomy in gambling regulation

Gambling law in Canada is primarily regulated at the provincial and territorial level, with each jurisdiction having the authority to permit or prohibit different forms of gambling within its borders. The Criminal Code of Canada establishes the legal framework for gambling, outlining the types of gambling activities that are prohibited. However, it allows provinces and territories to operate and regulate various gambling forms, including lotteries and casinos.

Regulatory bodies and local variations

Each province and territory has its own regulatory body responsible for licensing and regulating gambling operations, ensuring compliance with local laws, and promoting responsible gambling. The legal gambling age, available gambling options, and online gambling regulations can vary, reflecting the preferences and values of the local population.

Online gambling: A diverse provincial approach

Online gambling has been a point of discussion, with some provinces operating their own online casinos or partnering with private operators, while others are still refining their approach to regulating this sector. The overarching goal across all jurisdictions is to provide a safe and fair gambling environment for Canadians while generating revenue for public services.

How May Online Gambling Laws Affect You?

Regardless of the laws present in your province, you’re going to have to adopt their way of doing things. Here are a couple of ways local gambling laws may affect your approach to playing some of your favourite online games.

Understanding provincial variations

As previously stated, each province and territory has the authority to regulate online gambling independently of other provinces. This leads to variations in legal gambling age, available games, and operating platforms. Residents should be aware of their respective provincial laws to ensure they are gambling legally and responsibly.

Access to licensed operators

Provincial regulations determine the availability of licensed online gambling operators. Some provinces have their own online casinos or partner with private operators, ensuring fair play and security. Playing on unlicensed sites can expose players to risks, including fraud and lack of consumer protection.

Responsible gambling measures

Local governing bodies implement responsible gambling measures to prevent addiction and promote safe gambling practices. These may include self-exclusion programs, deposit limits, and access to support services, helping players maintain control over their gambling behaviours.

Taxation on earnings

Generally, gambling winnings are not subject to tax in Canada unless they constitute a professional income. However, understanding the tax implications in your province is crucial to avoid any legal complications related to undeclared income.

Player rights and protections

Provincial regulations provide varying levels of consumer rights and protections in online gambling. These include dispute resolutions, fair gaming assurances, and data protection. Being informed about your rights helps in choosing platforms that ensure a secure and fair gambling environment.

The Impact of Online Gambling Laws on Each Province

Are you wanting to find the gambling laws associated with your home province?

This table can help you identify all notable gambling laws that regulate your area.

ProvinceNotable Gambling Laws
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 18
  • Online gambling is regulated by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC)
  • Provincially run online casinos are available


British Columbia
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) regulates online gambling
  • Residents have access to provincially run online casinos


  • The minimum legal gambling age is 18
  • Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries regulates online gambling
  • Provincially run online gambling platforms are available to residents


New Brunswick
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • Online gambling is regulated by the Gaming, Liquor and Security Licensing Branch
  • Government-operated online casinos are available


Newfoundland and Labrador
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • There are no provincially run online casinos
  • Residents can access offshore online gambling sites


Northwest Territories
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • There is no specific legislation for online gambling
  • Residents can access offshore online gambling sites


Nova Scotia
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • There are no provincially run online casinos
  • Residents can access offshore online gambling sites


  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates online gambling
  • Provincially run online gambling platforms are available


Prince Edward Island
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • There are no provincially run online casinos
  • Residents can access offshore online gambling sites


  • The minimum legal gambling age is 18
  • Loto-Québec oversees online gambling
  • The province has its own regulated online gambling platform


  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • There are no provincially run online casinos
  • Residents can access offshore online gambling sites


Yukon Territory
  • The minimum legal gambling age is 19
  • There is no specific legislation for online gambling
  • Residents can access offshore online gambling sites


Understand How to Avoid Playing at Illegal Casinos

Avoiding online casinos that aren’t worth your time or money is crucial when deciding on a casino that can meet your needs. It’s important to remember that while our casino catalogue is always up-to-scratch, researching a casino’s safety features is important when picking a gambling destination.

You can easily dodge blacklisted casinos by following these tips:

  1. Never visit a casino that lacks a secure connection. You can determine the general safety of a casino by looking at the padlock next to the URL.
  2. If the padlock is closed, this means that the site is quite secure.
  3. If the padlock is open, and the term “Not Secure” is present, then it means the site should be avoided at all costs.
  4. Additionally, if the website holds very negative reviews across the broader player base, especially regarding security, we recommend steering clear and moving onto the next option.

If you are struggling to pick a site, or simply want the assurance of playing at a secure and reputable casino, our comprehensive list of top online casinos can be enjoyed by all Canadian gamblers.

Are Offshore Casinos Bound by Canadian Laws?

Offshore casinos are gambling platforms operated outside the Canadian Borders. This means that the way they choose to operate their casino is dependent on their own authorities’ rules and regulations.

Canada’s gambling laws only apply to casinos that operate within the country itself. This is why offshore gambling providers run their casinos under strict regulations to accommodate Canadian players. This also ensures that responsible gambling regulations are adhered to.

Is it safe to gamble when it comes to offshore companies?

Gambling at an offshore casino can bring you many benefits, including the prospect of safe and entertaining gameplay. Here are a few ways that prove offshore gambling can be very beneficial to a Canadian player:

  1. Diverse gaming options
    Offshore casino sites often offer a broader range of games and betting options compared to local sites. This diversity can enhance the gaming experience, providing players with fresh and unique content that might not be available domestically.
  2. Attractive bonuses and promotions
    Many offshore casinos offer lucrative bonuses, promotions, and loyalty programs to attract and retain players. These incentives can provide added value, giving players more bang for their buck.
  3. Advanced technology and features
    Offshore casinos, especially those from established markets, often employ the latest gaming technology, offering features like live dealer games, advanced graphics, and immersive soundscapes.
  4. Competitive odds
    For sports betting enthusiasts, offshore sites can offer more competitive odds, potentially leading to better payouts on winning bets.
  5. Global player interaction
    Playing on offshore sites allows Canadians to interact with a global player base, adding a multicultural dimension to the gaming experience.

Safety concerns to address

While each of our offshore sites holds licenses from reputable gambling authorities, any external site you choose to visit should be approached with caution.

Here are two factors you should confirm before playing at an offshore casino:

  1. Licensing and regulation – before engaging with an offshore casino, players should verify the site’s licensing information. A license from a reputable gaming authority, such as the Malta Gaming Authority or the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, indicates that the casino adheres to strict standards of fairness and security.
  2. Data security – given the sensitive nature of personal and financial data shared with online casinos, players should ensure that the offshore site employs robust security measures, such as SSL encryption, to protect user data from potential breaches.

Promotion and Marketing of Gambling Sites

In Canada, the promotion of online gambling is regulated at both the federal and provincial levels. The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits the unauthorized promotion of gambling activities. However, each province and territory has the authority to regulate and license online gambling within its borders.

As a result, several provinces have established their own online gambling websites or have partnered with private operators. Advertisements for these provincially licensed sites are allowed, but promoting offshore gambling sites can be a legal grey area. It’s essential for advertisers to be aware of the specific regulations in each province or territory where they intend to promote their services.

Facebook and Instagram (Meta) gambling policy

  • Meta (Facebook’s parent company) defines online gambling and gaming as any product or service where anything of monetary value is included as part of a method of entry and prize.
  • Advertisements that promote online gambling and gaming are only allowed with Facebook’s prior written permission.
  • Authorized advertisers must obey all applicable laws and include targeting criteria consistent with Meta’s targeting requirements.
  • Adverts may not be targeted to people under 18 years of age.
  • Advertisers need to request written permission from Meta and provide evidence that the gambling activities are appropriately licensed in the territories they want to target.
  • Advertisers who receive permission cannot target ads to people under the age of 18.

X’s (Formerly Twitter) gambling policy

Twitter has specific guidelines for advertising gambling content. Advertisers need to be certified by Twitter and must also comply with local laws and regulations. The promotion of online gambling might be restricted in certain jurisdictions, and advertisers are expected to adhere to these restrictions.

Here are some of Twitter’s policies:

First policy

Advert visuals must not contain images or artwork that could be perceived as deceptive. For instance, an ad for an online casino shouldn’t display an image of an individual engaged in a poker game.

Second policy

Promotions that single out specific Twitter users are not allowed. For example, requesting users to retweet your post for a chance to win a prize is viewed as spam by the safety council, and such promotions will be declined.

Twitter’s advertising guidelines have specific criteria that must be met when crafting advertisements for online gaming and gambling platforms in Canada.

Content must follow these guidelines:

  • Advertisement content shouldn’t suggest any association with Twitter
  • Misleading advertisements, including those directing to sites with mature content, are prohibited
  • Advertisers cannot use a user’s profile pictures, names, or likeness in advertisements without obtaining explicit consent.

The term “creatives” refers to the visuals or artwork incorporated in your advertisements. Twitter enforces a strict policy regarding the types of visuals advertisers can use for promoting online gaming or gambling platforms in Canada. The fundamental principle is straightforward, avoid deceptive content.

Some inappropriate examples of creatives are:

  • Avoid showcasing large sums of money
  • Refrain from depicting poker games
  • Steer clear of showcasing traditional games. Moreover, promotional visuals for online casinos should exclude images of individuals partaking in casino activities like slot machines or card games. Such visuals might give the impression to viewers that significant cash rewards await them on your platform, when, in fact, the primary offering is online gaming

Interesting Facts on Canadian Gambling Laws

Here are some interesting facts related to the laws of gambling in Canada

1 Federal vs. provincial While the Criminal Code of Canada sets the country's overarching gambling laws, each province and territory has the authority to regulate and license gambling within its borders.
2 First legal lottery In 1970, amendments to the Criminal Code allowed the federal government and provinces to operate “lottery schemes.” This led to the first legal Canadian lottery in 1974, intended to fund the Montreal Olympics.
3 Horse racing exception Horse racing has been a legal form of gambling since the 19th century, long before casinos and lotteries were legalized.
4 First nations gaming Indigenous communities have their gaming regulations and can operate casinos under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
5 Online grey area Online gambling exists in a grey area. While it's illegal to operate an online casino from Canada unless licensed by a provincial government, many Canadians play on offshore sites.
6 VLT controversy Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) have been a subject of controversy in Canada, especially in Atlantic Canada, due to concerns about their addictive nature.

Canada's Strict Gambling Regulations

Canada takes their gambling regulation very seriously. This is designed to keep you safe, while still providing you with flexible gaming options to keep you entertained.

Here are the cornerstone regulations that influence your gameplay:

The Criminal Code of Canada (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)

This is the primary law that governs gambling activities in Canada. It outlines the legal framework for gaming, betting, and lotteries. The Code has undergone several amendments over the years to address the evolving nature of gambling in the country.

Provincial and Territorial Gaming Acts

Each province and territory in Canada has its own Gaming Act or equivalent legislation that regulates gambling within its jurisdiction. These acts cover licensing, operation, and regulation of casinos, including online platforms if they exist.

Examples: British Columbia’s Gaming Control Act, Quebec’s Act respecting lotteries, publicity contests, and amusement machines, and Ontario’s Gaming Control Act.

Kahnawake Gaming Law

The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, located just outside Montreal, has its own gaming commission and regulates online gambling under the Kahnawake Gaming Law. They license a significant number of online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks.

Bill C-218

A recent amendment to the Criminal Code, this bill legalizes single-event sports betting in Canada, which was previously restricted to parlay betting (betting on multiple events).

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)

While not a gambling-specific law, FINTRAC regulations require casinos, both land-based and online, to report suspicious transactions as part of Canada’s anti-money laundering efforts.

Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

This U.S.-based act has implications for Canadian Indigenous communities that operate casinos near the U.S.-Canada border, especially in terms of cross-border patrons.

Provincial Online Gaming Platforms

Several provinces, such as British Columbia ( and Quebec (, have launched their own online gaming platforms, which operate under provincial regulations and oversight.

It's important to note that while the Criminal Code sets the general framework, each province and territory has the authority to regulate and license gambling within its borders. As a result, the specifics of online casino operations can vary widely across the country. Always consult the specific provincial or territorial regulations for detailed information.

Canadian Gambling Laws: Useful Resources

Curious to learn who oversees and maintains these laws for players? These are the bodies that shape the way you play across all Canadian territories:

Canadian Gambling Laws FAQ


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