Canadian Online Gambling Situation: Review of the Main Online Gambling Laws in Canada


By Melvin Davies

August 13th, 2023



Canadian Online Gambling Situation: Review of the Main Online Gambling Laws in Canada

Canadians have engaged in gambling for decades. 70% of Canadians participate in gambling, with 26% turning to online options. It generated $5.06 billion in 2020, with men (30%) more likely to participate than women (23%).

Statistics and facts about features of Canadian gambling players


On average, each person loses $619. Slot machines and casinos are the most popular, comprising over 60% of the Canadian online gambling market. Poker and casino games follow at 15% and 12%, respectively. Sports betting is increasing, now making up 8% of spending. Best online casinos in Canada with free spins, welcome bonuses, and no deposit bonuses are in special demand among players.

Key History Points: Canadian Online Gambling Laws

  • Canada had an outright ban on gambling until 1969. Laws were first relaxed for horse racing and lotteries. In 1985, commercial casinos were legalized.
  • In 1992, native tribes gained the right to offer casinos on reservations. In the early 2000s, provinces started online lottery ticket sales and sports betting.
  • By 2010, some provinces allowed private companies to offer online casinos along with poker games. However, there were legal gray areas regarding offshore sites.
  • In 2015, Bill C-290 formally legalized single-event sports betting to combat the unregulated market. Still, Canada gambling laws remain complex, varying significantly between provinces regarding the types of betting and platforms allowed.

Criminal Code of Canada: Online Gambling Laws in Canada

Each province regulates the industry for adults who are legally permitted to engage in it. The minimum age is 19, except in Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta at 18, according to online Canada gambling laws. The Canadian Gaming Association regulates and ensures integrity.

  • Section 201 prohibits illegal gaming or betting. Anyone who “unlawfully” bets or wagers is guilty of an offence punishable by summary conviction.
  • Section 203 forbids illegal games along with gaming houses. Anyone who keeps a gaming house or allows illegal gaming on their premises is guilty of an indictable offense punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • Section 205 interdicts cheating at play or related. Card cheating is a serious offence that can lead to imprisonment for up to two years.
  • Section 207 proscribes illegal devices used for playing to obtain money. Anyone who imports, makes, sells, or possesses such a device knowing it’s illegal is guilty of an indictable offence punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years.

Interesting Facts About Canadian Online Gambling Laws

Canada is planning to revise its web gambling laws in 2023 due to concerning statistics. A 2019 study found that men gamble online more than women (57% vs 43%), but women are more susceptible to having an addiction (1.8% vs 1.2%). Revenue from female users increased by 160% from 2001 to 2016, which may lead to new regulations.

  • While single-game sports betting is illegal, in 2021, Canadians bet $31 billion through offshore websites, circumventing prohibitions. Some lawmakers argue legalization could generate tax revenue.
  • While Canada online gambling laws and rules aim to balance morality concerns with commercial interests, technology challenges regulators. Virtual reality and cryptocurrency gambling could reach over $520 billion in the US and Canada by 2023, posing a challenge for regulators to keep up with this new technology.
  • In 2022, the Mohawks of Kahnawake received Canada’s first license.
  • Updating new Canada gambling laws is critical as nearly 3 million Canadians bet online yearly. The impending 2023 review calls for a coherent national strategy built on facts, not fiction.

Online Gambling Laws in Canada: More Overview

Most provincial web gambling began in 2010, generating over $14 billion in 2017 revenue, 50% from a lottery, 25% from casinos, and 15% online. The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory hosts many servers but is unregulated. Efforts to expand gambling meet public health concerns.

According to online gambling laws in Canada, players must declare over $10,000 income; winnings are taxed at their top tax bracket. Promotional credits and free bets are taxable. Self-excluded players cannot deduct losses. Regulators ensure integrity, set limits, issue fines, and can bar players. While Canada has a solid regulated internet gambling market, concerns persist about problem playing and loopholes that enable underage or illicit play. Regulation and social responsibility initiatives aim to allow recreational play while preventing excess.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission: Regulatory Body

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a regulatory body in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Canada. It was established in 1996 to regulate and license online gambling operators and related service providers. Canada online gambling laws and rules ensure strict fairness, security, and player protection standards. Some benefits of obtaining a license include access to a global player base, a respected regulatory framework, and a range of support services.

Main Licenses: Key Offline & Online Gambling Laws in Canada

Licenses in Canada are issued by regulatory bodies to authorize such operations and activities. The key licenses are issued by provinces and territories which oversee betting within their jurisdictions. It set the rules and regulations for formats like casinos, lotteries, and bingo.

Obtaining a license is mandatory for any operator in Canada. The licenses ensure gambling activities are conducted responsibly, transparently, and honestly. Such Canadian online gambling laws and regulations provide strict advice, guidelines for users to follow.

  • Manitoba Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba regulates casinos, lotteries, bingo, and raffles. Established in 2000, it issues licenses and ensures compliance with regulations. It aims to conduct betting responsibly through public education, enforcing age restrictions, along with other standards.
  • British Columbia – The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB). It has regulated it since 1997, licenses and monitors services, and investigates violations. It sets policies and standards to uphold integrity, fairness, and social responsibility. The GPEB aims to mitigate risks and prevent money laundering through compliance enforcement and audits.
  • Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission licenses gambling in Alberta, including casinos, lotteries, and bars. It was established in 1993. It first offered sports betting in 2021 and web gambling in 2022.
  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates gambling in Ontario. Established in 1998, it oversees casinos, lotteries, horse racing, plus online gambling. It first permitted online casino games, and poker in 2019. Tribal casinos must follow its standards. It aims to limit underage drinking.
  • Québec Gambling Commission Link and Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Established in 1993, it oversees casinos, lotteries.
  • The Kahnawake Gaming Commission, based in the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, licenses open to Canadians and internationally. Established in 1996, it was an early adopter of online gaming. It focuses on fair standards and player protection.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC), offering casinos, and online betting since 1976. It aims for responsible play and donates 100% of its profits to the province. Online sports betting and casino games launched in 2021.
  • Prince Edward Island Gambling. Established in 1976, it offers lotteries, bingo, horse racing, and web gambling. It aims for integrity and social responsibility.
  • New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation. A crown corporation since 1970, it regulates lotteries, bingo, horse racing, and internet gambling. It focuses on social responsibility, donating 100% of its profits.
  • Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA)oversees liquor, cannabis, and gaming across Saskatchewan. Established in 1996, it licenses over 5,000 businesses.
  • Alcohol and Gaming Authority Nova Scotia regulates liquor and gaming. Established in 2015, it merged several regulatory bodies. It offers licenses for casinos, bars, and internet gambling. Sports wagering and online casino games were permitted in 2021.

Market Size: Ontario Online Gambling Regulation

Ontario has Canada’s largest gambling market. The Ontario Lottery with Gaming Corporation (OLG) regulates casinos, lotteries, slots, and online gaming in the province. Some key facts about the most important Canada online gambling laws:

  • Ontario has 29 commercial casinos plus over 30,000 slots at venues across the province. Revenue is around $8 billion annually.
  • OLG operates over 25,000 lottery ticket outlets, selling over 190 million lottery tickets yearly, generating over $3 billion in revenue.
  • OLG launched PlayOLG, an online casino as well as a sportsbook, in 2015. It has over 400 games, taking in over $400 million in bets yearly.
  • Ontario legalize online gambling age for betting is 19. Gamblers must provide ID to enter casinos, or register on PlayOLG.
  • The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The OLG must adhere to the Gaming Control Act, 1992, its regulations, and other provincial & federal laws. The main requirements include ensuring the integrity and fairness of games, protecting players, and preventing money laundering and other criminal activities.
  • OLG contributes nearly $2 billion annually to Ontario’s government to fund public healthcare, education, and other programs. However, critics argue it has high social costs as well.
  • Table games like blackjack and roulette are only permitted at commercial casinos. Private venues are restricted to slots. Poker is prohibited outside of casinos.
  • Ontario has a self-exclusion program for problem betters. It spends tens of millions annually on treatment and education to promote responsible play.
  • First Nations reserves in Ontario operate casinos under federal Ontario online gambling laws but must follow similar OLG regulations to be legally accessed by off-reserve patrons. Revenue benefits First Nations communities.

OLG operates over 25,000 lottery ticket outlets, selling over 190 million lottery tickets yearly, generating over $3 billion in revenue.

The OLG strictly regulates a large market in Ontario that generates substantial revenue, although not without social impacts along with policy debates. The regulation aims to limit risks while permitting private sector operators and various levels of government.

Regulators and Canadian Online Gambling Laws by Provinces

Gambling has been regulated in Canada since 1892, and it is now under provincial jurisdiction as a legal activity. In 1985, many provinces began introducing the lottery, casinos, and slot machines. 2010 Canada’s Criminal Code was amended to allow local governments to offer online gambling. As a result, it is legal in Canada. However, regulations and laws differ slightly in each province.

  • Alberta. Legal gambling age – 18, regulatory body – Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Gambling is legal in Alberta and has been regulated since 1970. Options include slots, bingo, horse racing, and online casino/poker services.
  • British Columbia. Legal gambling age – 19, regulatory body – British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Regulates casino, bingo, and horse racing. Legalized gambling in 1970. offers internet gambling with slots, poker, and sports betting.
  • Manitoba. Legal gambling age –  18, regulatory body – Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation. Established in 1970, it offers online casinos, poker, and limited sports betting.
  • New Brunswick. Legal gambling age – 19, regulatory body – Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Atlantic Lottery Corporation has overseen gambling in New Brunswick since 1970, regulating scratch tickets, keno, poker, limited sports betting, and online casino games.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador. Legal gambling age – 19, regulatory body – Atlantic Lottery Corporation.Newfoundland legalized limited gambling in 1975. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation regulates all primary gaming operations, including Canadian online gambling. The main types are a traditional lottery, scratch & win, keno, and some online casino games.
  • Ontario. Legal gambling age – 19,  regulatory body – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). Regulates bingo, casinos, horse racing, and for online gambling. Established in 1975, it offers slots, table games, poker, and limited sports betting on PlayOLG.
  • Prince Edward Island. Legal gambling age – 19,  regulatory body – Atlantic Lottery Corporation. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation oversees a lottery, bingo, and video lottery. Authorized gambling started in 1976, with limited virtual options like casino games and keno.
  • Quebec. Legal gambling age – 18,  regulatory body – Loto-Quebec. Loto-Quebec regulates gambling, including bingo, horse racing, and four casinos. Established in 1969, they offer virtual services such as casino games, poker, sports betting, and lottery through
  • Saskatchewan. Legal gambling age – 19,  regulatory body – Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. It was legalized in 1974 and overseen by the regulatory body for physical and online casinos. Limited options include table games, slots, poker, plus sports betting.
  • Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories. Legal gambling age – 18. Limited regulated internet gambling options. Residents can use offshore sites. Strong restrictions on physical casinos. Only one casino each in Yukon and Northwest Territories.

By Popular Activity Types: Online Gambling Laws in Canada

Online gambling laws in Canada are complex, varying by province. Generally, it is legal in Canada, but each province has its regulatory framework. The Criminal Code of Canada sets out federal laws related to betting, including prohibiting certain gambling activities.

  • Canadian online gambling sites: Internet gambling was illegal in Canada until provinces regulated sites. British Columbia launched Canada’s first legal online casino in 2004. Others followed.
  • Casinos are legal in Canada, regulated provincially since 1985. Revenues fund healthcare along with education. The industry employs 128,000, generating $16 billion annually.
  • Online Slots comprise 60% of revenues in Canada’s casinos. Provinces operate slots, contributing over $2 billion yearly for social programs.
  • Poker has gained popularity in Canada since 2003. Regulated online poker generated $100 million in 2019. Home games are permitted but unregulated.
  • Sports Lotteries are legal in Canada. Launched in 1969, they fund amateur sports, healthcare, and education. Annual revenues exceed $10 billion, with $1 billion going to charities.

Revenues from these operations provide substantial funding for social programs, healthcare, education, and charities nationwide. The regulation aims to encourage responsible play and mitigate risks.

Secure Online Canadian Gambling: Best Online Casinos in Canada

Canadians enjoy plating, whether at land-based casinos or online. Legitimate and strictly regulated internet gambling options in Canada provide secure opportunities to play casino games or bet on sports. Licensed sites uphold high standards for fair play, financial security, and responsible betting.

  • Yoju Casino is a popular one available at the best Canadian online gambling sites, offering slots, poker, and blackjack. It is licensed in Kahnawake, Quebec, to secure personal data. Welcome bonus up to C$500 for Canadians.
  • SkyCrown has live dealer games and slots from trusted software providers. They follow strict responsible playing Canada gambling laws in Malta and offer a C$1,500 bonus plus free spins for those who sign up.
  • Zoome Casino, licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, offers secure communication and financial transactions. Canadians can enjoy a C$1,200 welcome bonus along with 120 free spins for popular slots and live casino games.
  • Tonybet is licensed in Estonia, the UK, and Canada. Live betting, poker, plus slots are available. Uses the latest technology to ensure safe transactions and responsible play. New Canadian customers receive a C$120 risk-free bet.


  • How is gambling regulated in Canada? Canada regulates it federally through section 207 of the Criminal Code, but each province has its regulations within its borders.
  • Who regulates gambling in Canada? Provincial and territorial governments regulate it, setting Canada gambling laws and minimum age requirements, issuing licenses, and enforcing standards for safe and fair play.
  • Where is gambling legal in Canada? Legal gambling in Canada is overseen by the provincial governments, not the federal government. Most provinces allow various forms, including casinos, slots, lotteries, and horse racing.
  • What is the Canada online gambling license? The Kahnawake Gaming Commission licenses such sites in Canada, ensuring they operate legally and comply with regulations to protect players, prevent underage playing, and handle funds securely.


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