On the question of whether casinos are legal in Canada, the answer is quite complicated, which is why a parallel between online casinos and land-based casinos needs to be made. When it comes to land-based casinos, they are legal to operate in almost every province. The federal government has given the power to the provinces to decide how to regulate this industry.
It is worth noting that even though gambling is legal in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, there are no land-based casinos in these regions. The First Nations tribes also have a very massive impact on the industry as many casinos are operated by them. Currently, there are a total of 643 First Nations communities in Canada and they hold around 30% of the land-based casinos in the country.
Only a Few Provinces Allow Online Gambling
But, when it comes to online gambling, the situation is a bit more complicated. Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta are the only provinces that allow online gambling. Not only that, but there is a monopoly held by First Nations tribes on online casinos as players can only access online casinos that are licensed by them.
Additionally, online casinos are only allowed to offer their services to the provinces in which they are based. To make things even more complicated, the law does not block unlicensed sites, which is why Canadian players can access them, but all of that comes at their own risk.
Regulation Laws and Authorities
Every province in Canada has its own authority through which they regulate the gambling industry. These are the following authorities in Canada:
- AGLC in Alberta
- GPEB in British Columbia
- LGCAM in Manitoba
- Gaming, Liquor and Security Licensing Branch of the Department of Justice and Public Safety in New Brunswick
- Consumer Affairs Division of Digital Government and Service NL in Newfoundland and Labrador
- Department of Municipal and Community Affairs in Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation in Nova Scotia
- Department of Health in Nunavut
- Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in Ontario
- Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission and Consumer, Corporate and Insurance Division of the Department of Justice and Public Safety in Prince Edward Island
- Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux and Société des loteries du Québec in Quebec
- SLGA in Saskatchewan
- Professional Licensing & Regulatory Affairs Branch of the Department of Community Services in Yukon
As mentioned earlier, the Kahnawake Gambling Commission regulates online gambling. This is a First Nations tribe commission and holds a monopoly on the market in Canada. The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency regulates sports betting.
Finally, the law that regulates all gambling-related activities in Canada is the Criminal Code, or also known as The Code.