Gambling and Online Casinos in Canada

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Canada is known for its tolerant attitude to many issues, including gambling business. Casinos in Canada have been legalized since 1999. Around this time, the government issued legislation and established the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, as well as gambling commissions in the provinces. Compared to other countries with legalized casinos, Canada can not be called a gambling capital. Yet gambling there is developing quite successfully. As of 2019, Canada has the following gambling establishments:

  • 114 casinos;
  • 12 tracks for horse racing;
  • 1 bookmaker's office;
  • 8 bingo rooms.

Most of the casinos are in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario - each province has 30+ casinos, respectively. The smallest gambling provinces - Yukon and the islands of Newfoundland, Labrador and Prince Edward. Each of these provinces holds only one casino.

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Gambling Legislation in Canada

The gambling business in Canada is controlled by the laws of Criminal Code - 204, 206 and 207. These are the principal provisions on the basis of which other, more detailed draft laws are being set up at the local provincial level.

  • 204 defines the rules for the regulation of horse races and betting on them;
  • 206 defines a list of prohibited gambling and actions;
  • 207 defines the list of permitted gambling and actions. Due to this situation, each province can create its own lotteries and manage gambling.

The regulation of gambling depends on the provinces. There are 13 states in the country, and each has its own peculiarities of legislation and gambling business.

Features of gambling in the provinces of Canada

Since the legislative provisions of the provinces vary, the gambling business itself is characterized in different ways. In some provinces, you can play from the age of 18, in others from 19. Some states have allowed only lotteries, and others - full-fledged casinos, bets, and races.

Below is a brief description of gambling in different Canadian provinces:

  • Alberta - the minimum age limit for gambling is 18 years. Gambling in casinos, lotteries, and bets are allowed;
  • British Columbia - you must be at least 19 years old to enter the casino, make bets on horse racing or play bingo, lottery, slot machines. There is a legal portal for BCLC-the British Columbia Lotto Corporation;
  • Labrador - you can gamble if you are over 19 years old. Legalized standard and online lotteries, as well as horse racing. As for online lotteries, only the state lottery is allowed;
  • Manitoba - the age limit is 18 years. This province has casinos, lotteries and betting on races;
  • Newfoundland - you can play if you are 19 years old, you are also allowed to make bets on races. Online lottery - only provincial;
  • Northwest Territories - only from 19 years and only state lottery is available;
  • Nova Scotia - age requirement is 19 years. There are casinos, bookmakers, offline lotteries and the state online lottery;
  • Ontario - games are available from the age of 19, casinos, bookmakers, lotteries operate on the territory. Internet lottery from the province is allowed;
  • Prince Edward Island - you can play for 19 years. An interesting feature is a racino is available in this region, a hybrid of the casino and betting tote. Private lotteries and the state online lottery allowed;
  • Quebec - age requirement is 18 years. There are several online and offline lotteries, poker rooms, casinos, and betting;
  • Saskatchewan - Games are allowed from 19 years. Legalized online lottery from the province, as well as offline lotteries, casinos, bookmakers, and racinos;
  • Yukon - gambling is available from 19 years. State and private lotteries, as well as non-profit casinos,  are allowed.

History of gambling in Canada

When the pioneers of Canada developed local lands in the 15th century, they discovered that the local tribes played a number of gambling slot games. These studies had a great spiritual and mystical meaning. Therefore, for the lands of Canada, gambling is far from new.

The same pioneers from England brought with them a long-standing ban on gambling. English King Richard the Third as far back as 1380 banned gambling completely, realizing that his soldiers spend too much time by gambling.

In 1892, the Canadian Criminal Code renewed the complete ban on gambling games. Then gradually the laws began to soften. Bingo and the Raffles were allowed in 1900 for charitable purposes. In 1969, the government realized that lotteries could become a profitable business for the state.

The first lottery of this kind was held in 1974 to fund the Olympic Games in Montreal.

Legalization of gambling in Canada

The changes in society that happened in the 1970s led to a multibillion-dollar growth of gambling in Canada. In 1989, the first commercial casino in Winnipeg was opened. The second was opened in 1993 in Montreal.

Then on March 15, 1999, the Canadian government in Ottawa legalized gambling and allowed the provinces to independently earn money on it by opening online or offline lotteries and casinos.

Previously, other provinces adopted legislative acts on gambling in the states of Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

  • Quebec - the relevant laws were adopted in 1978. These are two acts: Act respecting the Société des loteries du Québec and Act respecting lotteries, publicity contests, and amusement machines;
  • Manitoba - accepted the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation Act in 1993 and the Gaming Control Act in 1996;
  • Nova Scotia - adopted in 1995 the act of the Gaming Control.

Gambling in modern Canada

As of 2016, the gambling business in Canada is developing quite successfully. As already mentioned, there are 114 casinos, 12 horse tracks, 1 sports bookmaking company and 8 bingo halls in the country.

Canadian casinos contain 1776 tables for card games, 220 poker tables, 57 150 slot machines. Many casinos in Canada are in no way inferior to American institutions in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.

Most of the casinos work in the province of Ontario. There are 32 gambling establishments with total of 666 card tables, 26022 slot machines and video poker machines.

The most famous casinos in Canada

The most famous and large institutions in Canada are Casino Niagara and the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. They are located next to Niagara Falls in the province of Ontario. The casino offers its guests thousands of slot machines and hundreds of tables with card games.

The most famous Canadian track with horse racing and racino is Woodstock Racetrack and Slots. The track is also situated in Ontario. More than a hundred slot machines are located in its halls.

In addition to Ontario, there are Alberta and Nova Scotia provinces which intensively evolving in terms of the gambling business.

Taxation of winnings in Canada

Canada also does not collect taxes from winnings, unless they are designated as a form of earnings. The earnings from the winnings under Canadian law differ in three ways:

  • the availability of special skills;
  • the regularity of payment;
  • the expectation of future payments.

So, taxes can be collected from professional poker players, and should not be collected from those who play for their pleasure (for example once a month).

Statistics of gambling in Canada

The statistics of gambling establishments in Canada as of 2014-2017 presented below.

Areas for bingo - 136. Most of the establishments located in the province of Ontario - 75.

The total number of casinos in Canada is more than 100. Interesting fact: unlike the US, there are many fewer Indian tribes engaged in casinos. In the United States, legal gambling can only be dealt with in Indian reservations or floating casinos.

For example, in British Columbia, there are only 17 casinos, of which only one is located on the territory of the Indian reservation. Most gambling institutions are located in the province of Alberta - 24 gambling establishments.

Canada allocates a separate category of gambling establishments - the so-called institutions with Electronic Gaming Machines (EGM). This includes, for example, bars, lounge rooms with interactive terminals, halls with bingo and slots. Most of these institutions are in Quebec - 1,854. It is worth noting that the vast majority of establishments with EGM are bars and clubs.

There are institutions that provide electronic keno. The province of British Columbia boasts the largest number of such areas - 3633 in total.

The largest number of horse tracks is located in Ontario - 87. Among them:

  • 66 theaters;
  • 17 large tracks;
  • 4 smaller ones.

Zones with lotteries are most often found in Ontario - 9820 places where you can buy lottery tickets. Quebec is not much far behind - 8524 places to buy a lottery from. The outlets with lottery tickets are the most common in Canada. They are in every province, even in those with the most stringent laws.

Most of the places where you can play poker are in British Columbia. There are 17 poker rooms in total.

Institutions dedicated strictly to sports bets are found only in Ontario.

Canada's most gambling provinces

According to the final numbers, Quebec comes to the first place - there are 10448 gambling establishments, from bingo to poker rooms. If we take into account that more than 6 million people live in Quebec, then there are 1 institution for every 634 people.

Second place - Ontario. The province has 9,992 gambling establishments. This means - 1 institution per 1086 people.

The third place is occupied by British Columbia - 3818 establishments or 1 institution per 980 people.

The least number of gambling establishments is in the province of Prince Edward Island - only 214 gambling establishments.

The highest density of gambling establishments is owned by the islands of Newfoundland and Labrador: one institution per 318 people.

The most common gambling games in Canada

The most common are interactive terminals and electronic game machines (EGM). Most of these machines are in Ontario - 22,198pcs.

Other games include:

  • machines with lottery tickets - are found only in Ontario;
  • electronic bingo;
  • online and real card tables/games;
  • Internet games.

British Columbia boasts the largest number of electronic bingo machines - 4069.

The largest number of electronic and real card tables is in Ontario - 1101.

It worth noting online games as a separate topic of gambling games in Canada. Not all provinces allow online gambling. For example, online gambling is not available in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario. Other provinces consider it legal.

The concept of Internet gambling in Canada includes:

Each province has its own set of Internet games. For example, in British Columbia, only Ingenio is prohibited. On Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, only scratch cards, lotteries, and bingos are allowed.

Alberta Province holds the largest number of charitable gambling licenses - 15 055. It should be noted that such licenses usually include only those organizations whose sales revenue is more than $10 000. The exceptions are Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Manitoba.

Income to the Canadian budget from gambling

The annual income to the budget of the whole country is $13,674,359,000.

The province of Ontario receives the most revenue - $4,682,322,000. The smallest of all is Prince Edward Island ($44,824,000). The lion's share of revenue comes from EGM - this category includes slots, interactive terminals, video poker.

Online gambling in Canada

Online Casinos in Canada are subject to the same laws of the Criminal Code. Now it does not state that Online Casinos in Canada are prohibited. If the player is underage or his actions fall under the stipulated clauses of the Act of the Code - responsibility is borne by the organizers of Online Casinos in Canada.

Thus, online casinos in Canada are actually allowed (as well as free online casinos in Canada), although in most provinces you can only play online in the state lottery.

The history of online casinos in Canada

Websites with any accent on gambling were banned in Canada up to 2009 (the ban also extended to websites dedicated to online casino guides and all types of online casinos in Canada). Canadians, however, played in various offshore casinos, and the legislation did not provide punishment for this.

The strictest ban in the history of the online casinos in Canada business was only in 2007 - when the Kahnawake Mohawk reservation was imposed a fine of $2 million, and its servers with Canadian online casinos and poker rooms were recognized as illegal. After paying the fine, the reservation quietly continued to engage in the gambling business.

The history of online gambling in the Canadian provinces

In July of 2010, British Columbia Province opened an online casino for its residents. Thus, it became the first Canadian province to legalize online gambling. In 2011, the provincial authorities launched the poker room as well.

In December 2010, Quebec introduced an online poker room and a website with casino-style games.

Manitoba legalized the Canadian online casino in January 2013.

At the moment online gambling in most of the Canadian provinces is legalized.

Slots in Canada

The dual situation with online gambling still does not prevent Canadians from playing online. We present a list of online casinos with slot machines that are very popular among Canadian players and allowed to play in. You can play in these free online casino no deposit in Demo-Mode before trying to play for real money.

Most Popular Slot Machines in Canada

  • Mega Moolah - a progressive slot with the ability to win a multi-million prize;
  • Tomb Raider - five-reel video slot dedicated to the famous Lara Croft, contains multipliers and bonus games with large payouts;
  • Gladiator - a five-reel slot with 30 pay lines, on the subject of ancient Rome and the gladiators. Three bonus games, free spins, and wild symbols;
  • The Dark Knight is a five-reel slot dedicated to Batman. There are 243 ways to win, bonus games, progressive jackpot;
  • Avalon is a five-reel video slot with two wild symbols, various multipliers and the ability to win up to 30,000 coins.


The gambling business in Canada is an example of successful cooperation between authorities and casino organizers. Thanks to gambling establishments, provinces receive a good income in the budget. Gamblers can play calmly, without fear of ban and possible imprisonment. As a consequence, Canada is characterized by a very low percentage of people with a gambling problem.

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