Let’s get straight to the point, yes! It is legal to gamble in Canada. However, that is just the short and simple answer to this popular question. The longer one is way more complicated and confusing. So let’s explain a bit more. 

Most forms of gambling were considered illegal in Canada until 1985, but since then, most of the territories and provinces have been granted the right to do those activities and to play legally. It took some time for the casino industry to develop, but the technology advancement allowed them to lunch their mobile apps and own websites, and nowadays, there are sites like Playcasinoscanada.com that offer lists from all of the casinos and even provide you with the best casino Canada that you can play. Although unfortunately, gambling still falls into the gray area when it comes to the gaming law in Canada because Canadians are not forbidden to gamble online but are forbidden from operating an online casino without a license, and the government doesn’t issue such licenses. This gives the Canadians only one option, to gamble only on offshore sites. This means you have to know all the local rules and laws before starting a business in this field in Canada.

Canadian Criminal Code

Until 1969 people in Canada were allowed to bet just on horse races and lotteries found on fairs, and nothing more, but that same year the government made changes in the Criminal Code and allowed lotteries into the ten provinces. And in 1985, all types of gambling were allowed in the provinces, but the criminal code didn’t change in terms of what people could gamble on and what they couldn’t.

  • Section 201 — states that it is illegal to own a betting house, but it doesn’t state anything about an online betting house, so it is not completely clear if poker sites, and online casinos fall under this code. 
  • Section 203 — exempts them from betting on someone else’s behalf.
  • Section 205 — suggesting someone to games of chances or lotteries is considered an indictable offense. 
  • Section 207 — allows the provinces to manage lottery schemes alone or with other provinces. 

Illegal Gambling and How to avoid it. 

 Since offshore gambling is legal in Canada and only a few casinos run through the government, you can’t go wrong. However, it would help if you still considered joining regulated and licensed platforms. 

Many operators offer their services to Canada. However, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming Authority are the most trustworthy. Also, always make sure that you read players’ and experts’ reviews and check their license numbers before joining a new site. 

Who regulates the Canadian gaming industry? 

In Canada, gambling is not regulated by federal law but by the provinces. Although also, there is the Canadian Gaming Association, which works to advance Canada’s gaming industry. Other agencies that regulate the gaming industry are: 

  • Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority
  • Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
  • Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission
  • British Columbia Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch
  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission


Online gambling in Canada 

As we already said, online gambling is not forbidden in Canada, and Canadians can enjoy their favorite casino games from the comfort of their own homes. However, each province can regulate the online gambling laws in its way, meaning that some territories have more restrictive laws. For example, players from Ontario can’t place bets in most online casinos, and some cities such as Markham even ban online gaming. So, players in Canada need to understand and know the legal restrictions in their area before deciding to have some fun with online gambling. 

Canadians need to completely understand the available payment options before even thinking about playing. Legit online casino sites aim to give the players the best payment options, meaning that they invest in many secure payment methods. They do that in order to require very few payment details to protect the client’s payment options. 

It is common to be a scam if they ask for too many private details, such as private banking details, so try to avoid such sites because it may lead to fraud and theft. 


Gambling is legal in Canada for everyone above 19. However, most of them choose to play offshore. This doesn’t stop the people from playing and enjoying the gambling experience, and they have many options to choose from. The only thing they have to do is choose a legit, licensed website and make sure that no kids have access to it.

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