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Gambling Laws By Province in Canada - Each Province Explained

Gambling Laws By Province in Canada - Each Province Explained

2022/03/22

Canada is a startling contrast of raw natural wonder and modern living. It is both a rugged and sometimes unforgiving land of harsh weather and also home to sprawling cities. As the world’s second-largest country by total area, Canada is both wilderness and densely populated. Known for its forward-thinking, Canada’s eagerness to embrace progressiveness extends to its gambling laws and offer its citizens a wide range of the best online casinos.

When looking around the world, it is common to see countries take an extreme approach to gambling. Either online gambling is banned outright, or a nation will fully embrace it. Gambling in Canada is unique. Lawmakers in the Great White North walk a middle ground that has defined gambling laws but also gives residents the freedom to access online gambling.

This flexibility makes the Canadian online gambling market one to watch. It has plenty of traditional betting forms but is also moving forward into the online realm. As the gambling landscape in the country continues to change, it is vital to keep up-to-date with what’s happening. Provinces in Canada set their own laws, so what happens in one region may not be what’s going on in the others.

That’s where we come in. We have done extensive research into the gambling situation in every Canadian province, so you don’t have to. Below you can see what types of gambling are currently available. Moreover, we will continue to update this page so you can always stay on top of any changes to legislation in the country.

No more confusion, just all the information you need about gambling in Canada, one province at a time.

Gambling Laws in Each Province

Canada’s stance on gambling, both land-based and online, has been relatively progressive without being quite as welcoming as other markets. Since 1985, the federal government has given provinces the right to regulate their own gambling infrastructure. While often thought to be complex, the laws around gambling in Canada are simple.

Thanks to the hands-off approach the federal government takes, with each province acting independently, gambling at land-based venues is common across Canada. As for online gambling, aside from the government-run online casinos and sportsbooks available in certain regions, Canadians can still visit sites regulated in international jurisdictions.

With over 1,000 casino/sportsbook operators available to Canada from overseas, finding the best sites is a challenge. That’s where our reviews can help, giving you complete information on the leading Canadian online casino sites. You can find the safest sites with the best casino bonuses and broadest game selections right here on this page.

Below we will take an in-depth walk through the Canadian online gambling scene by paying a visit to each province:

Ontario - Latest Gambling Laws

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As Canada’s most populous province and home to its largest city (Toronto), Ontario has been one of the proactive gambling infrastructures in the country. Ontario gambling provides residents with tons of choice, whether at brick-and-mortar locations or online sites. In Southern Ontario, where most residents live, over 90% are a mere one-hour drive from a legal land-based betting establishment.

However, Ontario has also taken a trail-blazing approach to online gambling. After the province launched its regulated gambling market in April 2022, international online casinos and sports betting sites could apply for a license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and iGaming Ontario. This means Ontario casino sites can now operate there officially. When seeking gambling opportunities in Ontario, you can try the following legal forms:

  • Online: Since April 4th, 2022, Ontario has opened its doors to online gambling, including single-event sports betting and online casinos. In doing so, Ontario became the first province to operate a private market for online gambling. All sites fall under the regulatory watch of iGaming Ontario.
  • Casinos: Ontario casinos number over 25 land-based venues from private operators and charitable casinos under the government’s stewardship.
  • Slot Machines: Ontario online gambling establishments, including casinos and some lottery centers, provide access to slot machines. Customers in Ontario can visit both provincially licensed casino sites and those regulated internationally to access thousands of online slots.
  • Horse Racing: Ontario has a rich history of horse racing, including thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter horse racing. The province is home to several racetracks, although, since 2013, these locations no longer provide slot machines.
  • Sports Betting: Besides online sports betting, Ontario also supports sportsbooks through the Pro-Line service.
  • Lottery: Ontarians can participate in the national lottery and provincial drawings under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. In fact, the province is home to one of the largest lottery infrastructures in North America.
  • Charitable Gaming: As well as overseeing lotteries, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation licenses bingo and raffle games, which includes running its own eBingo sites online. In terms of land-based gambling, Bingo generates the most revenue from gaming in Ontario.

Quebec - Latest Gambling Laws

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As Canada’s largest province by area, there is a lot of contrast in Quebec. Whether it’s the sparsely populated north or the urban sprawl along St Lawrence River (including Quebec City and Montreal), there is one thing in common - Quebecers love gambling.

Over the decades, Quebec has been generous to the gambling industry, allowing legal betting games since 1970. Since then, the number of options available in the province has grown dramatically. Quebec gambling is now a large industry that covers casinos, racing, lotteries, and more. That also includes Quebec online gambling:

  • Online: People in Quebec are free to visit and wager at any online casino or sportsbook licensed in other jurisdictions. The province also runs its own Espacejeux iGaming service. You should check out our list of recommended casino sites for Quebec players, with top sites available in French and English.
  • Casino: The Quebec Alcohol, Racing, and Gaming Commission oversee nine land-based casinos within the province. These venues are popular and big enough to also draw players from south of the border. Customers from Vermont, New Hampshire, Main, and New York can often be seen at Quebec casino locations. Quebec casino sites could extrapolate once further regulations come aboard.
  • Horse Racing: There is currently only a single racetrack in the province. While you are free to place bets at the Hippodrome 3R, you can also wager on races at several off-track establishments.
  • Lottery: As Quebec’s first legal form of gambling, lotteries are now extensive in the province, with several daily and weekly draws available.
  • Video Lottery: Quebec is a holdout of video lottery terminals and is one of Canada’s last provinces to offer this type of wagering. However, since the glory days of the early 1990s (when 40,000 machines we available), availability is now much less. There are now around 11,000 terminals at bars, gaming halls, and other locations.
  • Sports Betting: As well as betting at online sportsbooks regulated elsewhere, Quebecers can also wager on sports or individual athletes at land-based locations, such as convenience stores. Similarly, Mise-O-Jeu, Quebec’s government-run sportsbook, provides bettors with several sports betting options.

British Columbia - Latest Gambling Laws

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Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia (BC), is known for its rugged and varied landscape and bustling cities like Vancouver and Victoria. As arguably Canada’s most culturally diverse province, it is no surprise that BC has long been embracing gambling. For over three decades, gaming options have been available to residents.

  • Online: PlayNow is a fully regulated and licensed online gambling site run by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. It is one of Canada’s oldest iGaming sites, having first opened back in 2004 and providing casino, sports wagering, and lotteries. Of course, British Columbia online gambling customers are also welcome at the internationally-regulated casinos we recommend for Canadian players on our page.
  • Casino: Whether you’re coming from neighbouring US states like Washington or Oregon or within the province itself, there are plenty of British Columbia casino locations to check out. In fact, the region is home to 15 land-based casinos.
  • Horse Racing: You can only find one horse racing track in BC. Fraser Down provides exclusive betting opportunities within the province. Players can either head to the Surrey-based track to bet or wager on off-track simulcasts at more than 15 British Columbia gambling locations.
  • Lottery: Gamblers in BC have had lotteries since 1985. Under the regulation of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, all lottery games are only open to people aged 19 or over.
  • Sports Betting: Players may visit sportsbooks regulated by other jurisdictions, while physical sports betting is available but not for single games.

Alberta - Latest Gambling Laws

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While being the largest of the Prairie Provinces in terms of population, the vast size of Alberta means it has massive expanses and many small towns. Thanks to a traditionally robust commitment to betting, most Albertans have access to online gambling or sports betting. Of course, even if it is not possible to get to a land-based venue, you can visit the reputable Alberta casino sites we recommend for customers.

  • Online: There is only one licensed and regulated online gambling site, PlayAlberta, which provides casino games, sports betting, and more. However, residents in the province can gamble at internationally-licensed gambling operations.
  • Casino: Alberta has one of Canada’s largest land-based casino infrastructures, offering customers more than 25 gambling locations. Most of the casinos in the province are charitable, which means the operator splits profits with non-profit organizations. There are also government-operated casinos and some owned by First Nations.
  • Horse Racing: Alberta offers three racetracks where players can wager on horses: Century Downs, Alberta Park, and Northlands Park. Alternatively, residents can bet in-person at 15 Alberta gambling locations across the province.
  • Lottery: Western Canada Lottery Corporation managed daily lotteries in Alberta. There are also video lottery terminals (VLTs) that are under regulation by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. There are around 6,000 VLT machines currently in operation around Alberta.
  • Sports Betting: Sport Select is a service for players to bet on two or more sporting events, but there is a limit of $250 per day in wagers. Of course, Alberta customers can visit sports betting sites regulated elsewhere for single betting.

Manitoba - Latest Gambling Laws

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From the icy tundra of the Hudson Bay coast to the southern border with the United States, Manitoba is a massive province that sits on the exact centerline of longitude in Canada. Players in the territory have several avenues open to them under the watch of the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba, including:

  • Online: There has been a government-operated Manitoba online gambling website since 2013. PlayNow Manitoba is the only licensed online casino within provincial borders, although residents can freely visit one of the internationally-licensed casino sites we recommend on this page.
  • Casino: Land-based casinos are available, but they mainly cover the urban areas of southern Manitoba, including two government-owned facilities in Winnipeg. Manitoba casino site options for gambling are limited, but there are plenty of options for bettors in the province at First Nations locations. Manitoba gambling is becoming increasingly popular, so more casinos may open in the future
  • Horse Racing: Assiniboia Downs is the only racetrack in Manitoba, providing betting options on Standardbred and thoroughbred races. Residents in Winnipeg can place bets on these events at off-track betting locations under the oversight of the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission.
  • Lottery: Lotteries and scratch cards from the Western Canada Lottery Corporation are live in Manitoba, available at retailers and online. The province also has video lottery terminals operated by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
  • Sports Betting: Open to players of 19 and over, sports betting is only available for two or more events and with a $250 per day wagering cap. Although, Manitobans can expand their sports betting horizons by choosing a sportsbook with an international license.

Saskatchewan - Latest Gambling Laws

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Despite its low population, residents in Saskatchewan love to gamble. Data from Statistics Canada shows people in this province spend more money per household on betting than any other province. So, if you are in or visiting Saskatchewan, there’s a good chance you will encounter one of the following gambling opportunities:

  • Online: Despite residents loving the gambling scene, Saskatchewan does not have a licensed gambling site operated by the government. However, people in the province can choose between over 1,000 casinos or sports betting sites that cater to Canadians. Remember to head to our list of top Canadian online casino operators to uncover the top-tier sites.
  • Casino: There are six land-based Saskatchewan casino locations under the regulation of the Indian Gaming Authority and two from the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation. The six First Nations locations are charitable, which means they share their profits with community charities.
  • Horse Racing: Several locations provide off-track horse race betting solutions, or residents can visit one of three tracks in the province.
  • Lottery: Lottery games have been part of Saskatchewan gambling for decades, since first becoming legal in 1974. Regulated by Saskatchewan Lotteries, proceeds go towards thousands of charities. There are also VLTs (video lottery terminals), but there is a cap on 4,000 machines. You can find these machines at various locations around the province.
  • Sports Betting: Parlay-style wagers are available on football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and hockey. Residents of Saskatchewan can also head to one of our selected internationally-licensed sports betting providers.

Nova Scotia - Latest Gambling Laws

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As one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia is the country’s second-smallest and second-most densely populated region. While approximately 45% of Nova Scotia’s population resides in the province’s capital and largest city, Halifax, around 85% of people in Nova Scotia will participate in a game of chance at least once a year. When they do so, they can access the following types of gambling:

  • Online: There are no government-run gambling sites or licensed third-party operators. Instead, Nova Scotia gambling residents can visit international sports betting and online casino sites.
  • Casino: Nova Scotia is home to just two land-based casinos operated by the provincial government. Those locations are in major cities (Sydney and Halifax).
  • Horse Racing: Despite its small size, Nova Scotia has three horse racing tracks: Northside Downs, Inverness Raceway, and Truro Raceway. Off-track betting is also available via teletheatres.
  • Lottery: Ticket and video lottery solutions are available, operated by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. There are around 3,000 video lottery terminals in retail locations around the province.
  • Sports Betting: Bettors can access the Pro-Line system to wager on a minimum of two sporting events or athletes. Online sports betting is available to Nova Scotians by visiting internationally-licensed sportsbooks.

New Brunswick - Latest Gambling Laws

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As another one of Canada’s Maritime provinces, New Brunswick is 83% forest. That means the near one million population in the province is densely located, so there is good access to New Brunswick gambling facilities. Those opportunities include:

  • Online: While the government in NB has discussed the idea of provincially licensed online casino operations, this has not yet happened. That means gamblers in the province can instead continue to access top-notch New Brunswick online gambling at sites we highlight on this page.
  • Casino: There is only one New Brunswick casino. Located in Moncton, the brick-and-mortar gambling venue is accessible for most residents in the province.
  • Horse Racing: Fredericton and Saint John are home to racetracks in New Brunswick, while you can also find off-track betting in Quispamsis and Dieppe. It is also worth noting the Great Western Fair brings racing to different areas of the province on a rotating basis.
  • Lottery: There are around 900 retail locations that sell lottery tickets in NB, all handled by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. The same organization also manages video lottery terminals (VLTs). In fact, the province was the first in Canada to host VLTs in 1990.
  • Sports Betting: Like other provinces, New Brunswick offers Pro-Line parlay betting on two or more sporting events or athletes. We recommend heading to an internationally-regulated sportsbook for a complete sports betting experience if you want more options.

Newfoundland and Labrador - Latest Gambling Laws

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As Canada’s most eastern province, Newfoundland and Labrador is composed of the island of Newfoundland and the continental area of Labrador to the northwest. With a population of just over 520,000, more than 90% of the province’s population reside on the island of Newfoundland. NL is known for allowing most types of gambling, but there are some exceptions worth knowing about:

  • Online: There is no government-run Newfoundland and Labrador online gambling site. Still, bettors in the province can access online casinos regulated elsewhere. To find the best online casinos for NL residents, check out the sites our team has carefully selected.
  • Casino: Newfoundland and Labrador is the only Canadian province without a land-based casino, so you are better off visiting another territory in Canada to gamble in person.
  • Horse Racing: There is a single horse racing track at St. John’s Racing and Entertainment Center, available in Newfoundland. Simulcasting betting is available at facilities in other racetracks across Canada.
  • Lottery: Operated by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, lottery in NL is available online or at over 1,000 retailers. Video lottery terminals are available at over 500 retailers, also under the watch of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation.
  • Sports Betting: Pro-Line is the sports betting service available in Newfoundland and Labrador, providing wagers on more than one event/athlete for players 19 or over. Sports betting is also available at sites regulated by international jurisdictions, providing odds on single-event lines.

Prince Edward Island - Latest Gambling Laws

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The Garden of the Gulf, Prince Edward Island, comprises one principal island and 231 smaller ones. As Canada’s smallest province, PEI is only home to around 160,000 residents. As you might expect, gambling operations a small, but there is still a good selection of betting choices for customers:

  • Online: Since no in-province Prince Edward Island gambling sites are available, PEI residents can play at internationally licensed sportsbooks and online casinos to make bets.
  • Casino: There is only one casino in PEI, and it is really a “racino,” which means it combines a horse racetrack with a casino (Red Shores Racetrack & Casino). Still, the land-based gambling venue is home to over 150 slot machines.
  • Horse Racing: Prince Edward Island has two horse racing tracks, one at Summerside Raceway and Charlottetown Driving Park.
  • Lottery: Lottery games are available in PEI, operated by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. The same organization controls all video lottery terminals on the islands.
  • Sports Betting: Gamblers aged 19 or over can access the Pro-Line service for sports betting on parlay bets (two or more markets). Tickets are available at retail locations or online.

Northwest Territories - Latest Gambling Laws

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Northwest Territories (NWT) is primarily a First Nations province with a population of mainly Aboriginal residents. Its cold, harsh climate covers subarctic conditions, but people still love to participate in games of chance. NWT’s gambling laws allow for the following betting forms:

  • Online: Northwest Territories does not have a provincial online gambling solution. That does not stop residents from visiting international betting sites, such as the top online casinos we recommend. Our team finds sites that offer the best all-round experience for players from NWT.
  • Casino: NWT does not have laws in place to stop the development of a brick-and-mortar casino. However, the remote location, harsh weather, and small population mean operators have not ventured into the province so far.
  • Lottery: Bingo, raffles, and lotteries are available, but they must be operated by a non-profit organization. Such games are regulated by the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.
  • Sports Betting: NWT Lotteries handles sports betting through the Sport Select service, providing wager opportunities on parlay-style bets. Players in the province can also freely visit internationally-regulated betting sites. Ultimately, this makes Northwest Territories gambling at sportsbooks easy.

Yukon - Latest Gambling Laws

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There are only around 35,000 people in Yukon, Canada’s westernmost territory. Therefore, this is hardly the gambling hub of Canada. Even so, the region does provide avenues for its residents to enjoy betting in its various forms:

  • Online: Due to Canada’s online gambling laws, residents in Yukon can access casinos with international licences, including the reputable online casinos we recommend on this page.
  • Casino: Yukon does not permit fixed permanent casino locations. However, temporary gambling establishments are allowed, albeit for up to three days. These events must be held by charitable or religious non-profits. One exception is the Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall in Dawson City. Canada’s oldest casino is open from late spring to early fall.
  • Lottery: The Western Canada Lottery Association runs the lottery market in Yukon, providing daily and weekly tickets.
  • Sports Betting: Gamblers in Yukon can use the Sport Select system to wager on multiple markets for events or athletes. Internationally-regulated sportsbooks are also available to residents.

Nunavut - Latest Gambling Laws

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Nunavut is Canada’s least populated territory, with just 38,000 residents. It also happens to be the newest region in the country. Even though Nunavut is Canada’s northernmost and largest territory, the region’s harsh conditions mean gambling opportunities are limited, making online options a saviour for residents. Even so, there are other gambling types available in the province, including:

  • Online: Our recommended top Canadian online casinos are perfect for Nunavut players who don’t otherwise have access to casino games like roulette, poker, and blackjack. There is no land-based casino in the province, so the casinos we highlight will give you the best betting experience.
  • Lottery: The Western Canada Lottery Corporation sells lottery tickets at licensed retailers or on its official website.
  • Sports Betting: Sport Select is available in Nunavut, providing access to sports betting for parlay-style wagers. If you want more options, such as single-event betting, sports betting websites licensed internationally are also available.

Conclusion – The Future of Gambling in Canada

As you can see above, Canada is a country that has embraced gambling in its various forms over the years. At the same time, it is clear the country is still ready to discover new horizons. Not least in online gambling, where Canada is only now starting its journey. Canadian online gambling may be in its infancy, but the future is bright.

Canadians have shown a passion for online casinos and sportsbooks. Relaxed laws help residents in the country to visit internationally licensed gambling sites. Many of those operators know Canadians are loyal customers and have catered their sites to offer Canada-specific benefits. Now it is time to take the next step.

Ontario has assumed the role of trendsetter by allowing casino sites and sportsbooks to receive a license to operate in the province. Private gambling sites regulated in other jurisdictions can become officially licensed in Canada for the first time. Yet, this feels like just the beginning and other provinces are likely to follow Ontario’s lead.

That’s why it is crucial you bookmark this page and check back frequently to see any changes made to gambling laws across Canada’s provinces. In the meantime, head to our list of recommended Canada online casinos and enjoy a generous welcome bonus today.

FAQ

Can I play at an online casino in Canada?

Yes, Canadians are free to visit internationally licensed casino sites. While these operators do not have a license in Canada, players in the country can still gamble on these sites and enjoy the casino games and generous bonuses thanks to regulation from other jurisdictions.

Is online gambling legal in Ontario?

Yes, bettors in Ontario can access internationally-regulated online gambling sites, including the casinos recommended on this page. Ontario also permits online casino operators to obtain a license to operate in the province. From April 2022, gambling brands can apply for a license under the regulation of iGaming Ontario and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Which Canadian provinces have land-based casinos?

Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island all operate land-based casino locations. Newfoundland and Labrador does not permit physical casinos, while Northwestern Territories and Nunavut allow casino locations but do not have any. Yukon supports 3-day casinos.

Is sports betting legal in Canada?

Yes, all Canadian provinces allow sports betting. However, current laws state bettors may only engage in parlay-style wagering, meaning only bets on more than one sporting event or athlete. Canadians can freely visit international licensed online sports betting sites for single event betting.
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Ziv Chen

Ziv Chen

Content Writer

Ziv's Story

Ziv Chen has been working in the online gambling industry for over two decades in senior marketing and business development roles. Ziv writes about a wide range of topics including slot and table games, casino and sportsbook reviews, American sports news, betting odds and game predictions. Leading a life full of conflict, Ziv constantly struggles between his two greatest loves: American football and US soccer.