Are Online Casinos and Betting Legal in Canada?

Are Online Casinos and Betting Legal in Canada
Are Online Casinos and Betting Legal in Canada

In Canada, it’s not considered illegal if you place real money online bets with an online casino licensed outside of Canada, for instance, the online casino regulated and licensed in Cyprus, Gibraltar or some other place. It may only be considered illegal if the servers of the concerned casino were situated in Canada and the casino was found disobeying the provincial laws.

Well gambling in Canada still falls under the grey area. The greyness in the activity comes because of the online casino sites which often don’t pay heed to the provincial boundaries. There are around 1400 offshore casinos that offer their online gambling and casino services to Canadian residents.

History of Online Gambling in Canada

History of Online Gambling in Canada
History of Online Gambling in Canada

Legally in Canada, the online gambling activity falls under the provincial jurisdiction. Once gambling became legal in Canada in 1985, before the internet was incepted, every province had set its own gambling laws. Apart from horse racing (which is regulated by Federal Agriculture Department), every province later defined online gambling in its own way. Furthermore, over a period of time, each province has allowed for online gambling in one form or the other.

Despite the fact that its laws are vague and online gambling is unregulated, Canada is home to a huge gambling industry. Canada’s gambling industry generates funds for a wide range of charities and public welfare programs. It employs more than 135,000 residents and comprises casinos, lotteries, racetracks, horse betting, and charity gaming. Some provinces also run licensed and well-regulated online gambling sites.

There are so many highly reputed online casino operators that accept Canadian players, and there isn’t a single law in Canada that prohibits residents from signing up and playing for real money. Therefore online casino gaming cannot be said to be illegal in Canada, but it is definitely unregulated. The offshore online casinos that accept Canadians do not operate under a license issued by the government of Canada.

No penalty for online gambling in Canada

No penalty to online gambling in Canada
No penalty to online gambling in Canada

Canada’s Criminal Code though is complicated but it does not criminalize the act of gambling online. So far, the government of Canada has not penalized any of its citizens for gambling online.

As said above Canadian provinces are free to legalize and regulate online gambling sites and a few provinces do offer online casino gaming services. However, offshore gambling sites accepting Canadian residents are not licensed by any of these provinces. They are not licensed by the government of Canada either.

Canadian gambling laws are much more relaxed than US gambling laws. According to US laws, betting on sports is illegal except in Nevada and Delaware. But in Canada, betting on sports is legal and players are allowed to place parlay bets. Currently, attempts are being made to legalize bets on single events too.

The most player-friendly point is that players need not pay taxes on winnings as long as they are recreational players. However, professional poker players are required to pay taxes on their winnings.

Provincial Gambling in Canada

Provincial Gambling in Canada
Provincial Gambling in Canada

In 2004, British Columbia launched online lottery and online sports betting sites. In 2009, it began offering poker, and a year later, it launched online bingo and online casino games. The provinces of Quebec and Manitoba also offer online gambling services, and soon Ontario began doing the same and Alberta followed soon like them.

Overview of Province-run Online Gaming Platforms Across Canada

ProvinceProvince-run Online CasinosProvince-run Online Sports BettingProvince-run Online Bingo
British ColumbiaPlayNowPlayNowPlayNow
New BrunswickNoneNoneNone
Newfoundland and LabradorNoneNoneNone
Northwest TerritoriesNoneNoneNone
Nova ScotiaNoneNoneNone
Prince Edward IslandNoneNoneNone
This table presents a comprehensive overview of the government-operated online gaming platforms in all Canadian provinces, including casinos, sports betting, and bingo.

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation regulates the online sale of lottery and bingo tickets for Maritime provinces but doesn’t offer any poker, casino, or bingo games. Most of the time, provincial betting services are limited to residents of the province. For this reason, offshore online gambling sites, licensed in the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Cyprus, and also the Kahnawake Gambling Commission, have thousands of Canadians as registered users.

Overview of Province-run Lotteries Across Canada

ProvinceTypes of Gambling ManagedYear Established
OntarioCasinos, Lotteries, Online Gambling1975 (OLG est.)
QuebecCasinos, Lotteries, Online Gambling1969 (Loto-Québec est.)
British ColumbiaCasinos, Lotteries, Online Gambling, Sports Betting1985 (BCLC est.)
AlbertaCasinos, Horse Racing, Charitable Gaming, Lottery1969 (AGLC est. 1996)
ManitobaCasinos, Lotteries, Online Gambling1983 (Manitoba Lotteries est. 1993)
SaskatchewanCasinos, Lotteries, Charitable Gaming1996 (SLGA est. 1996)
Nova ScotiaCasinos, VLTs, Lottery1995 (NSGC est. 2005)
New BrunswickCasinos, Lotteries, Charitable Gaming1976 (NBLGC est. 1976)
Prince Edward IslandCasinos, Lotteries, Charitable Gaming1976 (PEI Lotteries est.)
Newfoundland and LabradorCasinos, Lotteries, Charitable Gaming1976 (Service NL est. 2007)

Modern-Day Gambling

Modern-day Gambling
Modern-day Gambling

In 1970, significant changes were made to Canada’s Criminal Code, transferring the responsibility of gambling oversight to the provinces.

This shift marked a turning point in the country’s approach to gambling regulation. Subsequently, in 1989, Winnipeg became home to Canada’s first casino, paving the way for the establishment of numerous other casinos in Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia. Furthermore, even prior to the advent of casinos, racetracks were constructed, steadily gaining popularity over the years and evolving into one of the most favoured forms of betting in Canada.

Expanding beyond live casinos and horse racing, many provinces authorized the introduction of video lottery terminals, which generate revenue for the government. Lotteries, a prevalent gambling offering, have been implemented throughout the country. Gaming, recognized as a viable revenue generator, not only benefits government coffers but also contributes to charitable causes and religious organizations.

The Canadian government perceives illegal gambling as a relatively minor concern, considering it a victimless crime. As such, gambling is widely accepted in most aspects and is entrusted to citizens to engage in responsibly and for entertainment purposes. Present-day provincial laws primarily aim to regulate the industry, ensure revenue control, and facilitate government-backed online gambling to support the overall gambling landscape.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Kahnawake Gaming Commission

A large number of offshore online poker sites and online casinos are licensed by the Kahnawake Gambling Commission (KGC), which is based in Indian reservations in Canada. Among the world’s first gambling jurisdictions, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has been granting licenses to and regulating a large number of online gambling sites. Since the commission brought its regulatory framework into effect in 1999, it becomes one of the oldest gambling jurisdictions in the world. Operators holding a KGC license need to be hosted at Mohawk Internet Technologies, which is based in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.

Gambling with your cell phone

Gambling with your cell phone
Gambling with your cell phone

You can gamble or place real bets with your cell phone too like another gaming platform. The gambling applications of casinos are specifically made for iPhone to exclusively match the popular phone products of Apple. No matter if you own an older version of the iPhone and iPad or the newest ones, you can access a great variety of real-money gambling applications through the iTunes App Store. In addition, online casino players need to be aware of the fact that a lot of web-based casinos and gambling portals still do not have a phone application, so they can easily reach a phone-optimized version of their website. In such cases, players are usually provided with a link or QR code, which is required to be clicked on for the user to be redirected to the cell phone version of the online casino.

But when it comes to slot apps at iTunes you must have seen that most of these social gaming apps do not offer real money play. This is because Apple still maintains a very strict policy when it comes to real money gambling applications that are available in its iTunes App Store.

This policy is also one of the main reasons why the major online casinos and sportsbook operators are focused on developing a site-based web application of their own. In addition, web-based servers that are run by the players’ favourite poker room, sportsbook, or casino are used. There are some restrictions imposed by Apple because different countries have different legislation issues and these restrictions imposed by Apple will most likely prevent local players from using a native real-money casino and gambling application provided by Apple.

But the casino apps offered by Apple are high-quality ones. They are a great choice for players who live in countries with a more relaxed online gambling regime.

Probably the greatest advantage of iPhone casino apps is the fact that players are provided with the opportunity to play their favourite casino games whenever they want, wherever they are. A large variety of casino games are available to be accessed regardless of the player’s location. This is probably the first reason why iPhone casino apps have become so attractive to players all over the world. Also which is not technically orientated is the fact that most mobile iPhone casinos and apps are focused on offering fantastic bonuses and promotions to their players.


Yes, gambling is legal in Canada, but the specific laws and regulations vary by province and territory. Each province has the authority to regulate and license gambling activities within its jurisdiction.

The legal forms of gambling in Canada typically include land-based casinos, lotteries, horse racing, sports betting, and charitable gaming. Additionally, online gambling has been legalized in some provinces.

The legal gambling age varies by province and territory. In most provinces, the minimum age to gamble is either 18 or 19 years old. It’s important to check the specific regulations of the province or territory you’re in.

4. Can I gamble online in Canada?

Yes, online gambling is legal in Canada. However, the regulations and availability of online gambling can differ between provinces. Some provinces have their own online gambling platforms, while others allow access to offshore online casinos and betting sites.

5. Can I play at offshore online casinos from Canada?

It is generally not illegal for Canadians to play at offshore online casinos. However, it’s important to choose reputable and licensed online casinos to ensure fair play and the protection of personal information.

6. Are my gambling winnings taxable in Canada?

In most cases, gambling winnings are not considered taxable income in Canada. However, if you are a professional gambler or if gambling is your main source of income, you may be subject to taxation. It’s recommended to consult with a tax professional for specific advice.

7. Are there responsible gambling measures in place?

Yes, responsible gambling is a priority in Canada. Provincial governments and gambling regulatory bodies have implemented measures to promote responsible gambling, including self-exclusion programs, player education, and support services for individuals facing gambling-related issues.

8. Can I gamble if I’m visiting Canada as a tourist?

Yes, tourists visiting Canada can participate in legal gambling activities during their stay, provided they meet the minimum age requirements set by the province or territory.

9. Where can I find more information about gambling laws in my province?

For detailed and up-to-date information on gambling laws and regulations in your specific province or territory, it is advisable to visit the official website of the provincial or territorial gaming authority or consult with a legal professional.

10. What are the implications for Canadian users who use offshore casinos versus those that are provincially regulated?

Provincially regulated casinos in Canada are monitored by the local government, ensuring fair gaming and dispute resolution. Offshore casinos can offer more games and bonuses, but may lack this oversight and it can be harder to resolve disputes.

11. What measures are in place to protect players from online fraud or unscrupulous practices on these platforms?

Casinos use security measures like SSL encryption, secure servers, and audits for fairness. Provincial regulators add extra protection and dispute resolution avenues.

12. How does the legislation around cryptocurrency and online gambling interact in Canada?

Canadian laws don’t directly address using cryptocurrency for online gambling. Cryptocurrencies are legal in Canada, and can be used where accepted. Players should consider the risks and tax implications. For up-to-date information, consult a legal professional.


Finally, it is said that the offshore casino sites that are based and operated overseas, but allow Canadians to gamble appear to be illegal under Canadian law but as these casinos are based outside Canada where online gambling is legal, then the Canadian laws don’t apply and become legal to play. In simple terms, you can gamble online at a licensed and regulated offshore online casino.

So if you live in Canada and want to gamble online, then you are probably not too concerned about whether a site is approved by the government or not. You are more likely to worry about whether using an overseas gambling site yourself is considered illegal. Because of the legislation currently in place, it’s difficult to state with any confidence whether it is or not.

There’s no Canadian law that specifically makes gambling online legal. Equally, there is not one that specifically makes it illegal.

These offshore casinos not only accept Canadian residents but also allow them to play in Canadian dollars. Players can deposit funds using a wide range of Canada-friendly payment options and withdraw winnings safely, securely, and fast. These casinos are licensed in reputed gambling jurisdictions. Many of them are licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which is a regulatory body in its own right, independent of the government of Canada.  

One thing you need to check with these online casinos is that you should be 18 or 19 and over years of age to play real money gambling games. In Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, the gambling age is 18 and in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfound Land and Labrador, Northwest Territory, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon Territory it is 19 and over years to gamble legally. Also, you get to grab awesome bonus packages and VIP programs with Canadian-friendly customer support to play the slots smoothly and hassle-free.