The Law of Fun: Your Complete Guide to Gambling in Canada

There’s something super romantic about the idea of a casino. Showing up in your best clothes for a night full of cocktails, craps, and slots. If you get really lucky, you’ll hit the jackpot and go home thousands of dollars richer.

When you think of gambling, you probably think of Las Vegas, but there are plenty of fabulous casinos in Canada and online. But if you want to make sure that your winnings are safe, you have to make sure that you’re in line with Canadian gambling laws. Read on to learn all about gambling in Canada!

What Types of Gambling Are Legal?

Before 1970, gambling in Canada resembled something out of The Godfather. But, thankfully, the Canadian government came around and made sure that citizens could safely gamble without having to worry about saying hello to a crime boss’ little friend.

Expect to find your typical host of games at your local casinos, unless you’re in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, or Newfoundland and Labrador, where land-based casinos are prohibited. Card games, slots, and other games of chances are all perfectly legal. Online gambling is also permitted, but some provinces prohibit online casinos from being based within the province.

When it comes to sports betting, Canada is all in. It is legal in all provinces and in all the territories. That said, each province or territory has its own set of laws that dictate what qualifies as legal sports betting, so be sure to check out your province’s law before putting a huge amount of money down on the Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup (and maybe your therapist, too).

Gambling in Canada Falls Under the Criminal Code

Gambling in Canada starts with federal criminal laws. Rather than dealing with what type of gambling is legal, the Criminal Code of Canada details which aspects of gambling are illegal. Illegal betting, book-making, and cheating are examples of gambling-related prohibitions in Canada.

From there, each province or territory has its own set of regulations that cover what is legal or illegal. For this reason, provinces and territories have a regulatory commission set up to handle gambling. For example, British Columbia has the Gaming Control Act and Ontario has the Gaming Control Act, 1992.

How Old Do I Have to Be?

Minimum age limits are set by the provinces and territories and are linked to the legal drinking age. The majority of the provinces mandate that players be 19 years old or older in order to even enter a casino, even if it’s otherwise legal for that person to gamble in the country in which they live.

Notable exceptions include Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, where persons 18 and older are allowed to enter a casino and play.

Ready to Hit the Slots?

Gambling in Canada is not something that is done in secret casinos hoping to escape the watchful eye of the police. It’s perfectly legal and covered by federal and provincial laws. So long as you follow these laws, you’re free to fulfill your fabulous casino fantasies (but maybe skip going for an Ocean’s 11-type fantasy).

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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