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Gambling in Canada

Gambling in Canada has seen consistent growth through the years, with more and more bettors signing up and betting record-breaking margins in each province. But with the gambling laws subject to territorial and provincial laws, the rules regarding when and where gamblers can play can be quite confusing.Online gambling is legal in Canada, provided you play at an online casino site located overseas or play on a gambling app supplied by your local lottery corporation. This page will cover what you need to know about the gambling laws in Canada, how to choose the best online betting sites, and more.

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Canadian Gambling Statistics

Canada earns roughly C$14 billion in revenue every year, between casinos, sports betting, lotteries and approximately 87,000 electronic gaming machines are operating in the country. These include 60 land-based casinos, 250 race tracks, 33,000 lottery vendors, and 25,000 operators licensed to run temporary casinos, raffles, and bingos. It is estimated that a Canadian household spends an average of C$1,000 of their income on gambling annually.

According to the regional reports, the amount wagered on betting is fairly constant across Canada. The gambling rate is low in Manitoba, while Quebec recorded the highest rate of gamblers.

These two extremes have 50% and 69% respectively. Quebec has gamblers and gamers across every income level, while Manitoba has a smaller set of individuals (33%) spending about C$1 to C$20 on gambling monthly. That’s 10% below the country’s rate.

Lottery tickets are the most common gambling activity in Canada, with a 65% participation rate. 36% play instant win scratch tickets, while 22% love to visit casinos.

Gambling Laws in Canada

Before 1969, you could only bet on charity lotteries and horse races in Canada, which were found at fairs. Later that year, the Canadian government reformed the Criminal Code to allow the ten provinces and the federal government to hold lotteries.

The federal government later decided to leave other gambling practices like sports betting and casino regulation in the hands of the provinces in 1985. But the Criminal Code remained the same in terms of what individuals can gamble on, such as:

The Canadian Criminal Code

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Canadian Regulators and Gambling Authorities

1. New Brunswick

Paragraph 207(1)(a) of Canada’s Criminal Code gives the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation (NBLGC) the mandate to manage provincial gaming in the province. The Gaming, Liquor & Security Licensing Branch (Department of Justice & Public Safety) controls and regulates provincial gaming, controls,licenses and regulates charitable gaming in New Brunswick.

2. Manitoba

Liquor, Gaming & Cannabis Authority of Manitoba regulates and licenses all gambling activities in the province. The Manitoba Gambling Control Commission registers all gaming equipment suppliers to licensed operators within the province.

3. British Columbia

Gaming Policy & Enforcement Branch (Ministry of Finance) is a branch of the BCLC responsible for the regulatory oversight and licensing of Charitable gambling. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation conducts and manages all commercial gambling activities, including online gambling in the province.

4. Alberta

Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis Commission is an agency responsible for regulating recreational cannabis, alcoholic beverages, and gaming activities in the province. It's the only regulatory body in Alberta.

5. Ontario

The AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario) oversees and regulates the slots and casino venues in Ontario. The OLG (Ontario Lottery & Gaming) manages and conducts these casinos. The launch of online gambling in Ontario is also overseen by the OLG.

6. Nova Scotia

The Alcohol, Gaming & Tobacco Branch of Service Nova Scotia administers parts of the Gambling Control Act. The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation regulates and ensures the social responsibility of the gaming industry, while generating significant profits.

7. Prince Edward Island

The Consumer, Corporate & Insurance Div. (Department of Justice & Public Safety) is an agency that regulates casino nights, raffles, charitable gaming, and bingo. The Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission is responsible for licensing and managing gaming activities in the province.

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8. Quebec

The Quebec Lottery Corporation is the provincial government agency that operates the casinos in Quebec and regulates bingo, traditional lotteries, and gaming machines in the casinos. The Quebec Alcohol, Racing, and Gaming Commission regulates all casino operations, certain kinds of lotteries, contests, and VLTs.

9. Saskatchewan

The Indigenous Gaming Regulators regulate and license First Nations charitable gaming activities (on-reserve) via the Band Council Resolutions. Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority is responsible for managing all gambling activities in the province.

10. Northwest Territories

The Department of Municipal & Community Affairs and the Northwest Territories Liquor, Gaming & Cannabis Commission are bodies responsible for regulating alcohol and gambling activities in this territory.

11. Nunavut

The Department of Health is the major regulatory body within this territory. It’s responsible for regulating gambling activities within Nunavut.

12. Yukon

Professional Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Division (Department of Community Services) and Charitable Gaming Licensing are regulatory bodies responsible for managing and licensing gambling activities in the province.

13.Newfoundland & Labrador

Consumer Affairs Div. (Digital Government & Service) is responsible for regulating all gambling activities, including non-profit and charitable organizations’ lottery fundraising, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Provincial Gambling Laws in Canada

Manitoba

All forms of gambling in this province are regulated by the Liquor & Gaming Authority of Manitoba. The province has only one official online casino, PlayNow Manitoba, but no laws restricting residents from gambling at other casinos overseas. Manitoba Sports betting enthusiasts can bet through the Sport Select website and can only bet with a maximum of C$250 each day.

Alberta

Betting is prevalent in this province as residents are not restricted from gambling at online casinos. There are 25 land-based casinos in Alberta, and anyone over 18 can play at any of them. Sports betting in Alberta is also popular, though players can only make parlay bets, and they can't spend more than C$250 on sports betting per day.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan prohibits online casinos from being physically based or run in the province, though residents are allowed to access casinos based in other countries or provinces. Having a land-based casino in Saskatchewan is legal. Sports betting in Saskatchewan is legal, provided it's done through the Sports Select betting service, and every wager placed (except horse racing) is a parlay bet.

Ontario

Playing at any land-based casino in Ontario is completely legal, and several venues offer slot machines. The laws regarding online casinos aren’t too strict, so residents can gamble at any offshore casino site. Ontario has only one regulated online casino, PlayOLG. Ontario sports betting buffs who prefer to bet on sports can use the Pro-Line betting service and will soon be able to choose from a huge variety of online sports betting operators in 2022. Residents can also participate in the provincial lottery drawings.

Nova Scotia

Gambling is completely legal in one of the two government-operated casinos in Nova Scotia. Online casino players can play at any online casino site based overseas, while online sports gamblers can bet at the Pro-Line website (only parlay bets are allowed). The province allows video and ticket lotteries and other charitable games like bingo.

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Quebec

The gaming laws in Quebec are among the most liberal in Canada, with gamblers allowed to play at several offshore casinos, including the government-operated Espacejeux. The only regulated betting site in this province is Mise-O-Jeu, and gamblers must play parlay bets. Quebec has nine physical casinos, and anyone over the age of 18 can play there.

Prince Edward Island

Land-based casinos are legal in Prince Edward Island, though the province doesn’t currently have any dedicated casinos in operation. The online casinos are not regulated, but sports bettors looking to place bets can use the Pro-Line betting service that serves the Atlantic provinces. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation organizes a provincial lottery for the residents.

Newfoundland and Labrador

This province doesn’t permit land-based casinos and doesn’t have any regulated online casinos. However, Newfoundland & Labrador has no law restricting its residents from gambling at online casinos based overseas. All sports gamblers can use the Atlantic Lottery’s Pro-Line service with a maximum wager of C$250 daily, although this limit isn’t present at most betting sites based abroad.

New Brunswick

There is only one land-based casino in New Brunswick, so you can guess that casino betting is legal in NB. The province doesn’t have an official government-operated online casino, but anyone looking to play online casino games is allowed to do so at offshore betting sites. The only regulated sports gambling site offered to the residents is ALC’s Pro-Line.

British Columbia

British Columbia has plenty of gambling activities on the West coast, including 15 physical casinos. The only way (official) to bet on sport and casino games is through PlayNow, though the law doesn’t prevent gamblers from registering on betting sites based abroad. Those betting on sports in British Columbia on this site must play parlay bets.

Gambling Ages Across Canada

Legally speaking, Canada’s average gambling age is 19, though each government determines all gambling laws in their province. For instance, the legal gambling age in Nova Scotia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories is 19.But the legal gambling age in Manitoba, Alberta, and Québec is 18. Hence, the location you play the game makes the difference.The respective gambling age laws are also applicable to online gambling. Hence, just as it’s done in land-based casinos, Canadian online casinos and sports betting sites will need to verify your age before you can start to bet.

Best Online Casinos in Canada

1. Royal Panda

Royal Panda online casino offers more than 3000 games and has one of the highest win rates (98.5%). It has a low bonus playthrough requirement, allows multiple payment methods, and pays out between one and three days. The site has a modern, stylish design that’s easy to use and newbie-friendly. It also has a downloadable mobile app.

Read our full Royal Panda Online Casino review.

2. BetVictor

This casino site has a sleek design and offers hundreds of table games and slots by numerous software providers. It offers an enticing welcome bonus for new players and other promotions and bonuses for returning players. Customer support is available 24/7. It also supports different payment methods, including PayPal, Visa Card, etc.

Read our full BetVictor Casino Review.

3. PartyCasino

Established in 1997, PartyCasino is a trustworthy casino site that offers more than 600 games, including live dealer games. New and existing players can receive free spins and bonus rewards for depositing. Players have about 30 different payment options, and withdrawals run smoothly.

Read our full PartyCasino Review.

4.Energy Casino

Energy Casino has a huge selection of games, exciting promotions, and bonuses in store for every player. It features dozens of live dealer games and thousands of slots. The site is pretty easy to navigate, and you can download their mobile app, though it's only available for sports. Energy Casino supports several payment methods and has an RTP ranging between 95% and 99%.

 

Read our full Energy Casino Review.

5. TonyBet Casino

This site offers more than 400 games, including popular table games, live dealer games, and slot games. New Canadian players can enjoy welcome bonuses with free spins. The site runs smoothly on both mobile and desktop platforms. It also supports different payment methods, and withdrawals are instant via e-wallets. It also has a VIP program, and the average RTP is 95%.

Read our full TonyBet Casino Review.

 

6. Dream Vegas

Dream Vegas offers over 1000 table games and slots from over 80 software providers. The site gives special rewards to VIPs from other online casinos. It supports different payment platforms, and deposits are free from charges. The RTP is between 96% to 99.8%.

Read our full Dream Vegas Casino Review.

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Best Online Sportsbooks in Canada

1. LeoVegas

This site offers betting markets across more than 30 sports and a live betting platform. It also features pre-match boosts for football markets and offers profit boosts and free bets. Registered players can make free and instant payments via debit/credit cards and prepaid cards. There’s a downloadable mobile app, and the odds are competitive.

Read our full LeoVegas Sportsbook Review.

2. William Hill

William Hill has been among the biggest betting sites in the last two decades. It welcomes new users with a welcome package and has a wide range of markets and sports available for Canadian bettors. It has a unique William Plus Card that enables you to link bets on your online account with any other one placed at a William betting shop.

Read our full William Hill Sportsbook Review.

3. TonyBet

Tony Bet is a popular sportsbook among Canadian bettors due to its wide variety of betting markets with competitive odds. New players are usually awarded with a welcome package, and there’s a downloadable mobile app. The site supports a wide range of banking options and offers top-notch customer service.

Read our full TonyBet Sportsbook Review.

4. BetVictor

BetVictor is among the leading bookmakers with an excellent mobile and web sports gambling product offering numerous free bets and competitive betting odds. The site features a solid live stream and in-play service. BetVictor supports several payment options, and withdrawals through Skrill and Neteller are instant.

Read our full BetVictor Sportsbook Review.

5. 888Sport

888Sport primarily offers sports betting but also features poker and casino. New players can enjoy free bets and other promotions. The website features a wide range of sports, markets, and leagues. Players can bet through a downloadable mobile app that functions effectively, and Canadian bettors can access a decent sports gambling service.

Read our Full 888 Sportsbook Review.

Best Horse Betting Sites in Canada

Horse racing is among the biggest gambling sports globally, with over C$10 billion bets on this unpredictable and fast-paced sport each year. Popular racetracks in Canada include the Hanover Raceway, Hippodrome Quebec, Hastings Park, Grand River Raceway, and Charlottetown.

What Is Pari-Mutuel?

Pari-mutuel is a form of gambling in which bettors on a particular event place a pool bet, and the pool is shared between the winners, while the house deducts a small percentage of the total wagers. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency supervises and regulates pari-mutuel gambling on horse racing at all racetracks in Canada to ensure fairness to the public.

Some of the most popular horse betting events include the Triple Crown races like the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes and an honorable mention with the Breeders Cup. Some of the best sites for Canadian bettors looking to bet on horse racing include:

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Betting Events

Payment Providers

Moving money with speed, convenience and especially security is a key factor in your enjoyment of online gambling. You want to upload funds fast to your favourite sites, transfer your winnings when you want or access your account balance 24/7 wherever you are.

The quality of payment providers varies depending on your priorities, but many online casinos now offer a wide range of payment methods (and withdrawal options) that are quick, secure and easy-to-use. Let’s take you through some popular payment methods in the online gambling world.


Recommended Payment Providers

Software Providers

The software providers that online casinos or sportsbooks choose to partner with are crucial to that online gambling site's identity. Beyond determining site functionality, the games available at a given casino or betting site are also affected by the quality of the developers present. Sites powered by software giants like NetEnt, Evolution and Microgaming are going to offer more popular games for Casino players and we have taken the time to break down the options out there by just this metric. Who uses which provider and who does it best are important factors in our resultant reviews and recommendations.

What to Look for in a Canadian Gambling Site

Canadian players looking for a gambling site will find several options available but want to ensure they’re putting their money in a safe site that will satisfy them. Here are essential factors to consider when choosing the best Canadian gambling site.

  1. Game Variety

    Most online casino sites partner with numerous software developers to Canadian players with a wide selection of games. However, you must ensure that the site has your favorite games. Some sites focus more on slot games, while others have more table games. Most casino sites will allow you to check the available games before registering and depositing funds.When looking at sports betting, you will want to look at what sports they have and how competitive the odds are compared to other competitors. You always want to bet on sportsbooks with a huge variety of sports to bet on as well as the most competitive odds so you will get the most bang for your buck.

  2. Safety and Security

    Online betting sites involve withdrawing and depositing money, so the platform’s security is essential. Ensure only to choose a gambling site with an SSL certificate to protect your financial details and personal data. The betting site should also have its license from a reputable gaming regulator to ensure the safety and fairness of games if betting on casino.

  3. Deposit/Withdrawal Methods

    Consider an online betting site that offers withdrawal and deposit methods that you can easily access. An online betting site that provides a wide variety of payment methods would be ideal. If you have a preferred banking option, ensure it’s available on the betting site before signing up. Also, check how long it takes to cash out your winnings and the withdrawal limits.

  4. Loyalty Programs

    An excellent sportsbook or casino should offer plenty of promotions and rewards to players. A welcome bonus offer should be available to new users as well. Existing players should also enjoy different kinds of promotions and rewards based on their loyalty and time with the brand. These bonuses enable you to enjoy your favorite games without using your real money.

  5. Canadian Registration/License

    Online betting sites usually have huge tax revenues available, depending on the country, with strict rules guiding such organizations. Ensure that the online gambling site that you choose is registered with the Canadian gaming authorities. Playing at a locally registered online casino would protect you from several issues, such as accessing your money and the game’s fairness. However, we do understand that not all provinces have regulated online casinos for you to play at – so in terms of offshore sportsbooks and casinos, ensure you visit one that we recommend, as we can guarantee that you will have a great betting experience as a Canadian by using one of our recommended sites.

  6. Customer Support

    Check several reviews and make sure the casino you pick offers 24/7 customer support. Some casino sites do not provide customer support on weekends, causing you to wait days to solve your queries. Ensure that customer support is always available via email, live chat, or phone before registering with the online betting site.

We help thousands of players place safe, secure and legal bets every day across 12 countries. We do the research so you don’t have to. Our expert staff compiles and ranks lists of the gambling industry's very best sites. Explore our most popular Sportsbook, Casino and Poker sites, plus read our reviews, tips and strategies.

FAQ


Online gambling is safe and legal In Canada regardless if you’re betting on sports, casino or horses. You can find legal and regulated betting in your province, or you can cautiously head to an offshore site to bet if that is unavailable to you.

Most Canadian provinces require you to be at least 19 years old before you can gamble, except for Manitoba, Québec, and Alberta with a legal gaming age of 18.

Sports Gambling has been legal in Canada since 1985. But single-game sports betting just became legal only recently. This also opened up avenues for provinces to regulate their own sports betting ventures, including offering popular brand names that are sweeping across the United States. Each province can now decide to forge ahead with sports betting regulation both retail or online at their own discretion. The government at each provincial level offers land-based sports gambling at kiosks, while online gambling is available mainly via offshore casinos and gambling sites.

Although betting was made legal in Canada in 1985, it took many years before the casino industry developed and took the giant it is today. Canadian gamblers can play at land-based casinos in the country and access offshore-based online casino sites, though local laws apply.

Yes, betting on horse racing and horse racing is legal in all Canadian provinces. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency supervises and regulates horse race gambling at the federal level.

Land-based casinos are scattered around the country, while residents looking to bet online can access any offshore-based online casinos site provided they meet the minimum age requirement of their province or region.

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