Canada's Casino Legislation Updates in 2022

By Samuel Heller

December 14th, 2022



iGaming, or online gambling, launched in Ontario, Canada, in April 2022. It opens the door for online gambling companies to apply for licenses from the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission. Compared to the heavily controlled gambling industry in the past, this is a huge shift for Canada.

Except as expressly permitted by individual provinces, gambling is banned across Canada. Therefore, commercial gaming and betting can only be allowed if regulated by state or local governments. Accordingly, it must adhere to the local rules, varying from province to province, to create a casino in Canada.

Provincial governments do not set up casinos; instead, they grant licenses to private enterprises to run online gaming sites and other associated services. For this reason, each province has its gaming authority in charge of licensing and regulating the industry inside its borders.

Competition from internet gaming providers based outside of Canada makes an already difficult situation for Canadian businesses even more so. Companies based outside of Canada that offer gambling services to residents of that country are not required to register with the Canadian government.

The combination of these challenges makes it difficult for gambling businesses to set up shop in Canada and make a profit there. While this is true, the country has relaxed some rules and streamlined several registration processes during the past few years. In 2021, for instance, the Canadian government will allow the sale of single-game wagers.
In this piece, we describe Ontario’s latest iGaming plan in depth and present a summary of the critical rules of each province in Canada. You’ll get the information you need to operate a gambling website in Canada legally.

Businesses looking to enter the Canadian market must pay close attention to the rules and regulations.

The Criminal Code
Gambling services are unlawful under Canadian law when not supervised or performed by a province. Businesses looking to enter the Canadian market must pay close attention to the rules and regulations that relevant Canadian authorities enforce.

What Are the Local Regulations?
Although there are many similarities between the Canadian provinces, their regulators and laws (such as who is authorized to operate, how to register, etc.) are not the same.

If you click on the links below, you can learn more about the laws in each province that govern which businesses are eligible to register to offer gaming services. Each link also details the registration process and any associated fines for noncompliance.

Find a full list of the provincial organizations that handle such matters here.

Organizations with a religious or philanthropic objective are the only ones eligible for registration as gambling service providers with the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission. Besides that, only one legal online casino is included in the ranking of Casino Reviewers in the province, and it’s called The Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Act lays out the primary guidelines for businesses in this industry to follow.

British Columbia
British Columbia’s Ministry of Finance’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch grants licenses to businesses that meet its requirements. The gambling sector in British Columbia is regulated by the Gaming Control Act of 2002. Like Alberta, British Columbia only has one legal online casino, and it’s called PlayNow.

The legitimacy of established businesses – making sure they are fair.

The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation govern services related to gambling in Manitoba. In addition to registering businesses, the authority is responsible for protecting the fairness of gaming and lottery operations inside the province. In addition, it researches the legitimacy of established businesses.

New Brunswick
New Brunswick’s Department of Public Safety’s Gaming Control Branch is in charge of licensing operators of gambling establishments. The lottery operator license entitles the holder to create, organize, undertake, conduct, and manage lottery programs on behalf of the provincial government. The Gambling Control Act of 2008 is the primary legislation in the province addressing this issue.

Newfoundland and Labrador
Regarding gambling in Newfoundland and Labrador, the ball is in the court of the Consumer Affairs Division under the Consumer and Commercial Affairs Branch of Service NL. The province has no land-based casinos. However, bingo, lotteries, and card games are all legal forms of non-profit gambling.

Province of Nova Scotia
Service Nova Scotia’s Division of Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel, and Tobacco is responsible for licensing casinos and other gaming businesses. The institution also governs disputes and complaints. The law governing the United States casinos from 1994–1995 is strictly enforced here.

Ontario’s gambling industry is regulated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Because of its abundance of land-based casinos, the province enjoys the fewest gambling restrictions in Canada. The province’s availability of iGaming service providers has increased since the market’s launch.

iGaming in Ontario
The government of Ontario declared its intention to establish an iGaming market, which would be governed by the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario, in November 2020. (AGCO).
Companies were first allowed to register with iGaming Ontario in the fall of 2021, and the market went live in April of the following year.

iGaming Ontario serves as a watchdog in the industry.

iGaming Ontario has allowed third parties to offer their services to the general public, provided they first register with AGCO and sign a contract with the group. Introducing this new method into the gambling business will have far-reaching effects. Even so, Ontario cannot endorse the autonomy of every third party. As a result, iGaming Ontario serves as a watchdog in the industry.

Prince Edward Island
The Lotteries Commission governs casinos and internet gambling services in Prince Edward Island. This province’s primary piece of legislation is the Lotteries Commission Act. The Commission can create, organize, undertake, conduct, and oversee provincial lottery schemes with the backing of the Lieutenant Governor in the Council.

The Quebec Lottery Corporation and the Regie des alcools, des courses et des Jeux are the two government agencies responsible for overseeing the province’s gambling industry. The first deals with drinking, gambling, public lotteries, and horse racing. The second is devoted to casinos, lotteries, and bingo parlors. The province is home to both traditional casinos and online gaming businesses.

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority oversees the province’s gambling industry. Regarding the province’s regulatory framework, the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation Act of 1997 is the most important law.

Northwest, Nunavut, and Yukon
Only one casino and no online gambling sites are legally allowed to operate in the three Canadian territories of Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest. People can freely gamble on offshore sites from anywhere in the world.

Casino’s in Canada respond rapidly to changes in provincial regulation.

Current Developments
The gambling sector in Canada is gaining acceptance. An excellent example is the current iGaming initiative in Ontario, which aims to reduce barriers to entry for new players in the sector.

Furthermore, in 2021, Canada passed Bill C-218, that legalized sports betting on a single event. As a result, the governments of British Columbia and Ontario respectively declared that they would launch online betting services.

The gambling laws in Canada are constantly changing, making it essential for businesses to be abreast of the latest developments in each province. Consequently, a reliable Know Your Customer solution should be implemented. This will provide operators an edge over rivals by allowing them to respond rapidly to changes in provincial regulation.

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