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Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada?

Posted by Dame de Coeur on May 07, 2021

As with so many questions connected to online gambling, we wish the answer to this question was as simple as yes or no. In reality gambling legality in Canada is a complex area. Different types of law take precedence over others and local and national government initiatives have different priorities. We will do our best to give you a comprehensive overview of the status of online gambling in Canada at the moment. It is a sector in flux and some legal cases pertaining to online gambling are ongoing, but we will update this article as and when new information becomes available so that you know where you stand. As it stands, a number of individual Provinces and Territories offer single online casino properties that their residents can access legally and most are built on a charity only model, meaning all profits made are ploughed right back into the jurisdiction the casino is legal in so the community benefits. The Criminal Code – specifically sections 210-7 inclusive, is the overarching national statute that governs all things gambling related on Canadian soil.

Where is Canada and how is it Governed?

Canada is situated in North America – to the north of the United States of America. It comprises ten individual provinces which are: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec, and Saskatchewan. A further 3 territories make up the remainder of the country, those being Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. The provinces are self-governed; the territories exercise devolved powers as granted by the Parliament of Canada.

Politically the country is categorised as a full democracy and though it maintains a monarchy (the Canadian Monarch and British Monarch are one and the same) this position is somewhat ceremonial – the true power lies with the Cabinet which is led by the Prime Minister.

The Provinces and Territories and their Approaches to Gambling Regulation

Alberta (Province)

Alberta is set in Western Canada and is grouped as one of the trio of prairie provinces in the country - it is an English speaking province. Gambling activities in Alberta are overseen by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). Currently, there is one provincially licensed online casino in operation in Alberta – Play Alberta – which is run on the charity model meaning that all funds generated by the operation of the casino go straight into the Government of Alberta’s General Revenue Fund. Residents must be 19 or over to gamble in Alberta.

Having looked in-depth at Play Alberta casino’s website we have found that the Terms and Conditions players are expected to accept on sign-up are somewhat inadequate since they do not give specific details regarding withdrawal limits or other necessary information. Term 5.01 states:

Withdrawal limits may specify minimum and maximum withdrawal amounts applicable to Player Accounts.

All terms should give exact and specific information if expecting a player to agree to and abide by them. Here players are being asked to agree to withdrawal limits that are not actually given – this is not acceptable. No timeframe is given for the completion of withdrawals either.

4.08 Account Balance Limit

Registered Players will not be permitted to maintain more than the Account Balance Limit in their Account for longer than 72 hours. If the Account Balance Limit is exceeded for longer than 72 hours, AGLC will initiate an Account withdrawal on your behalf. AGLC may, from time to time, change the amount of the Account Balance Limit.

Insufficient information is given with regard to what the “Account Balance Limit” that cannot be exceeded is. How can a player abide by a rule of it is not clearly defined?

4.09 Closing of Account by AGLC

AGLC may close your Inactive Account and you must provide AGLC with such information and documentation as AGLC determines necessary to deliver the balance of the Inactive Account (except any balance from Bonuses) to you. AGLC will deliver balances under ten dollars ($10.00) only by Direct Deposit. In the event that you do not provide AGLC with such information within eight weeks of the request, you acknowledge that you will forfeit all right to the Inactive Account balance.

The AGLC are imposing predatory Terms here – there is no excuse for seizure of balances at any point – particularly when the casino appears to make no effort to alert players to the fact that their account is about to be declared inactive beforehand. If at any point after inactive status is assigned to a player account, the player in question can provide sufficient documentation, then the balance should be reinstated, 8 weeks is an arbitrary number that has no sound basis.

Additionally, there are no links to any resources that may be of support to vulnerable players accessing Play Alberta such as blocking softwares like BetBlocker which is entirely free to use for players and operators, or links to Gamblers Anonymous or other comparable organisations – this is an enormous gap in responsible gaming provision.

We could not locate any provision for a player to make a complaint to the regulator with regards to services offered by Play Alberta – again we consider this to be a serious oversight. If a province is providing online casino services to their populace and expecting them to utilise these services and not others, then they should at least offer a service that is of equal quality to those regulated by high-quality licensors such as the UKGC or MGA. Currently we do not feel that there is parity between the quality of player experience at Play Alberta and highly regulated operators licensed in other jurisdictions.

Alberta do institute a Self-exclusion program for players called GameSense and once a player signs up to it they are excluded from all provincially regulated gambling sites both on and offline.

Play Alberta offers an extremely limited selection of slots games to Albertans and this is why many prefer to play online with operators regulated in foreign climes. Such actions exist in a grey area of the Criminal Code which fails to make mention of the legality of online gambling with operators regulated outside the province. To date, to the best of our knowledge, no punitive measures have been taken against Albertan players seeking services from foreign licensed operators and no operators have gone after through the courts for offering services to Albertans either. As always, we advise playing with only the most reputable of online casinos regulated by a high-quality licensor in order to safeguard player funds.

British Columbia (Province)

Resting between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, British Colombia sits in the most western location in Canada – it is an English-speaking province. Gambling activities in British Colombia are overseen by the Gaming Policy and Entertainment Branch of the Ministry of Finance (GPEB). At the moment there is a single government approved and regulated casino that can be accessed by British Colombians – PlayNow Casino - which is operated on the charitable model, meaning all profits are channelled right back into the state. Casino patrons must be aged 19 or over to participate in gambling activities in this province.

We have taken the time to look over the Terms and Conditions documents provided on the PlayNow site and have found them to be inadequate in some areas, meaning that players are not receiving optimum customer experience in our opinion. We have found the following Terms to lack sufficient information for players to make an informed choice about the conditions they are accepting before creating an account with PlayNow:

4.06 Limits on Deposits

You will not be able to deposit more than the Weekly Deposit Limit.

4.07 Account Balance Limit

You will not be permitted to maintain more than the Account Balance Limit in your Account for longer than 72 hours. If you exceed the Account Balance Limit for longer than 72 hours, BCLC will initiate an Account withdrawal on your behalf. BCLC may, from time to time, change the amount of the Account Balance Limit.

4.08 Closing of Account by BCLC

BCLC may close your account if it is an Inactive Account. In the event that BCLC closes your Account, you must provide BCLC with such information and documentation as BCLC determines necessary to enable BCLC to deliver the balance of the Account (except any balance from Tokens) to you. BCLC will deliver balances under five dollars ($5.00) only by Direct Deposit. In the event that you do not provide BCLC with such information within eight weeks of your Account being closed, you forfeit all rights to the balance in your Account.

Term 4.06 is problematic in that it does not detail what the “Weekly Deposit Limit” is, and we could not locate this information on the PlayNow site. How can a player stick to a limit if they are unaware of what it is?

Term 4.07 is similarly obscure in that it mandates players to stick to an “Account Balance Limit” without actually stating what this limit is, and once more we could not find further details pertaining to this limit on the PlayNow site.

Term 4.08 is predatory in nature. Failing to supply the BCLC with documentation within 8 weeks is not a valid reason for the casino to seize all funds in an inactive account. Again, to establish parity for players channelled to PlayNow rather than foreign regulated operators, it would be seemly for PlayNow to make the effort to contact players the month before the account is due to be declared inactive so that players can prevent it from being so. Beyond this, instituting a small monthly maintenance fee to the inactive account – around €5 is the industry standard – would be acceptable alongside monthly reminder emails of the inactive status and account charge. At any point after an account has been declared inactive, if a player is able to provide the necessary documentation, balances should be reinstated – we never condone seizure of funds due to inactivity and neither do the most respected regulators in other jurisdictions.

We were unable to locate a complaints procedure for players making use of the PlayNow portal – another serious oversight. Just because a casino is operated on the charitable model does not preclude it from investigating players complaints or making it difficult for players to log such complaints but omitting details of how their complaints procedure functions.

PlayNow does provide a province wide self-exclusion program called GameSense but they do not provide any links to services offering support to those with compulsive gambling issues from their main casino site. This should be addressed in the interests of promoting robust responsible gaming procedures and protecting the most vulnerable players accessing PlayNow’s services.

Like many of the provinces in Canada, British Colombia fails to stipulate that gambling online with foreign regulated operators is categorically illegal. Online gambling exists in something of a grey area of Canadian law. To the best of our knowledge, and from our extensive research, we have been unable to locate any instances of British Colombian players, or the foreign operators allowing them to access their services, being punished for doing so and since PlayNow offers a fraction of the range of games available in other foreign licensed premises we can see why British Colombians may prefer to take their custom elsewhere.

There has been a single instance of British Colombia pursuing an operator legally to recover $4 million Canadian when in 1999 Starnet Communications were found to be in violation of the Criminal code since they had offices in Vancouver housing their email servers despite their gaming servers being kept offshore. Their offices were raided and the law exercised against them.

Manitoba (Province)

The second of the three provinces dubbed, the Prairie provinces, on our list, Manitoba is the furthest east of the trio – it is an English-speaking province. Gambling activities in Manitoba are overseen by the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba. Since the year 2013 Manitoba has partnered with British Colombia to allow Manitobans to access legal and regulated services provided by PlayNow Casino. Players must be 19 or over to make use of gambling services in Manitoba.

We have already looked at the Terms and Conditions listed on the PlayNow website under the section on gambling legality in British Colombia so please see above for details. The only amendment to make is that Manitoba do provide a complaints portal for their citizens to raise issues that they may have experienced in connection with liquor, gaming or cannabis and this can be accessed here.

As with most of the Canadian territories or provinces, online gambling with casinos regulated offshore is really a grey area of law in Manitoba. As ever the national Criminal Code is applicable in this province but since it predates the birth of online gambling it does not address the legality of this activity, meaning that there is no declaration as to the legality or illegality of taking part in online gambling with a foreign licensed operator as a Manitoban. If players wish to seek online gambling services with an operator other than PlayNow then it is vital to choose one that is highly regulated and well reputed.

New Brunswick (Province)

New Brunswick is one of the four so called Atlantic provinces and it is also one of a trio of maritime provinces to be found in Canada – uniquely for Canada it boasts two official languages in English and French. All matters relating to gambling in the province of New Brunswick are overseen by the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corp. which was established in 2008. New Brunswick has worked together with the other three Atlantic provinces to provide online gambling services through a dedicated portal known as the Atlantic Lottery Corp. – it is the only officially recognised outlet for online gambling in the province. It is based on the charitable model meaning 100% of profits are directed back to the local communities its players are part of. Players must be aged 19 or more to legally make use of gambling services in New Brunswick.

Having taken a close look at the gambling portal provided to the Atlantic provinces we have found several weaknesses. The Atlantic Lottery Corp. fail to provide links to external problem gambling support agencies and blocking softwares on their website which is a serious thing to overlook and denotes a lack of care when it comes to responsible gaming policies.

There are some concerning Terms included in the ALC Terms of Service document which are detailed below.

3.5 Deactivation of Account

b) By ALC ALC may deactivate Your Account if it is an Inactive Account. An Account is an Inactive Account if, during the immediately preceding twelve (12) months, You have not successfully signed into ALC.ca. In the event that Your Account is deactivated under a) or b), You must provide ALC with such information and documentation as ALC determines necessary to enable ALC to deliver any funds remaining in the Account (except any balance from Promo Rewards) to You. ALC will deliver balances five dollars ($5.00) and below only by direct deposit. In the event that You do not provide ALC with such information within eight (8) weeks of Your Account being deactivated, You agree that You shall forfeit all right to the remaining funds.

Inactivity should not be used an excuse to enact seizures of player funds. Expecting players to submit documentation within 8 weeks is also unacceptable in our eyes – no matter when a player is able to submit the relevant documentation their funds should be returned to them. This term is predatory and not player friendly in the least.

Though the Terms and Conditions contain a section called “Disputes” there is no clear complaints policy outlined for players wishing to raise concerns about their playing experience with ALC – this is not particularly helpful for customers – contact details for a Customer Service Team are not even given in this section.

There are no clear withdrawal limits or timeframes laid out for customers – we take this to mean that there are none but if this is not the case not having a Term which covers these details is problematic and likely to cause issues.

It is stated that there is provision for players to self-exclude on alc.ca – we obviously cannot create an account to check that is the case, but it seems that players can elect to self-exclude from online gambling in the province for 6, 12, 24 or 36 months.

Online gambling with providers based in foreign jurisdictions exists in a grey area in this province and we can find no evidence that players or operators are criminalised for deciding to take their play outside of New Brunswick. Indeed, with the poor quality of the services offered by the provincially regulated option who could blame them for doing so?

Newfoundland and Labrador (Province)

Located in the Atlantic region of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is set the furthest east of all Canadian provinces and its official language is English. All things relating to gambling are watched over by the Consumer Affairs Division of Digital and Government and Service NL, however, it should be noted that Newfoundland and Labrador are the least forward thinking off all the provinces when it comes to gambling and as such there are no provincially regulated online casinos in the province. Land based casinos are not allowed to operate in this province so it is unsurprising that they have not embraced online casinos either. Lawmakers in Newfoundland and Labrador have even gone as far as highlighting their intent to prevent the appearance of online gambling facilities in their province. Players must be 19 or older to gamble in this area.

The only type of gambling regulated by the province is their online lottery. The Criminal Code takes precedence over provincial laws in Canada and as such online casinos are not expressly mentioned as being illegal in the country – players resident in Newfoundland and Labrador can therefore access online gambling sites regulated in foreign jurisdictions and as far as we can tell no criminal proceedings have ever been bought to bear against players or operators who provide services to them.

Northwest Territories (Territory)

One of only three federal territories in Canada, Northwest Territories is an English-speaking territory but interestingly it lists eleven official languages – more than any other province or territory in Canada. Gambling and all issues connected with it come under the jurisdiction of the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. Legal age for gambling in Northwest Territories is 19 plus.

Northwest Territories has a low population which means that for their government, gambling regulation has not been a top priority. There are no land-based casinos in the territory, so it is no surprise that there are no officially regulated online venues for those resident in this part of Canada. Like many other areas in Canada, Northwest Territories has not explicitly declared online gambling illegal and many residents of this area seek out online casinos in possession of a Kahnawake Gaming Commission license to take their business to.

We have been unable to find any evidence of Northwest Territories taking legal action against residents that take part in gambling activities with foreign licensed operators – neither have we found any documented cases of legal action being taken against operators accepting residents from this location as customers. This is always subject to change in jurisdictions where online gambling laws have not been clearly established so do be sure to make your own checks before playing.

Nova Scotia (Province)

Nova Scotia is both a Maritime province and one of the four Atlantic provinces in Canada it is an English-speaking province and perhaps unsurprisingly, since its name literally translates as “New Scotland”, it has the highest number of Scottish Gaelic-speaking inhabitants outside of Scotland. The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation is the official body designated to oversee all things relating to gambling in the province. Nova Scotia is part of the Atlantic Lottery Corp. group allowing its residents to access regulated online gaming services through its portal. The legal permitted age for gambling activities in this province is 19+.

Since Nova Scotia shares online gaming services with the other Atlantic provinces please see or overview of the issues arising in our exploration of the Atlantic Gaming Corp. portal under New Brunswick’s section.

As with the majority of the Canadian provinces and territories, Nova Scotia has made no clear declaration as to the legality or illegality of online gambling with foreign licensed operators if you are resident in this area. It appears that no legal action has been taken against Nova Scotians who elect to access offshore online gambling services, but this is always subject to change and we would always recommend checking for the current legal statues before proceeding to sign up and play with an operator regulated in another jurisdiction if you are resident in Nova Scotia.

Nunavut (Territory)

Set in the northern most point of Canada, Nunavut has the accolade of being both the most sizeable and newest of the territories. The official languages listed for Nunavut are Inuit, English and French. Nunavut has a very small population of under 40,000 people and so regulating gambling has not really been a focus for their government. All matters pertaining to gambling fall under the remit of the Consumer Affairs Department of Health but since there are no land-based or online casinos open to residents of this area, there is not much of a workload created by this sector. Citizens have to be aged 19 or above to gamble in Nunavut.

Currently only regulated lottery and sports betting options are available to those resident in Nunavut wishing to gamble. As with other provinces and territories, residents of Nunavut are able to take part in online gambling with offshore operators since there is no law expressly forbidding this and no legal action has been initiated against players resident there who do so. Nunavut do direct inhabitants with problem gambling issues to seek out help via the official Kamatsiaqtut Help Line on: (867) 979-3333 or toll free at (800) 265-3333. If you live in Nunavut and wish to locate a reputable and trustworthy online operator to play with, please take the time to that they are regulated by a high-quality licensor such as the UKGC or MGA.

Ontario (Province)

Ontario is to be found in Central Canada and is the most populous of all the provinces – it is also where Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, is to be found. The official language of Ontario is English. Gambling related matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) which controls the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp, and the Gaming Control Act of 1992 applies - gamblers must be aged 18 plus to take part in lottery and charitable gaming play and 19 plus to take part in any other type of gambling activity.

Ontarians do have access to a single government regulated online casino in the form of OLG casino which was designed in collaboration with IGT and High 5 Games – 2 well known industry presences. Having looked closely at the Terms and Conditions listed on the OLG website we are happy to report that they are of a better standard than many of the other provincially regulated casinos since they tend to give specific information on withdrawal and deposit limits, however there are a couple of Terms players should be aware of:

10.1 INACTIVE ACCOUNTS

A Player Account will become an Inactive Account if there has not been a successful Player-Initiated Transaction for a period of 12-consecutive months, unless the Player Account is for a Self-Excluded Individual. For this purpose, a “Player-Initiated Transaction” means (i) a deposit of funds by the Player for the purpose of funding the Player Account, (ii) a withdrawal of Unutilized Funds from the Player Account, or (iii) a bet, wager or purchase of a Draw-Based Lottery Game Played Online or a Pay-to-Play Game, including a Future Game Transaction that has not expired or been suspended due to insufficiency of Unutilized Funds or for any other reason. For the avoidance of doubt, a Play-for-Free Game is not considered a Player-Initiated Transaction If the Future Game Transaction associated with such a Player Account expires or is suspended or cancelled for any reason, the foregoing 12-month period will be calculated beginning on the day that the last Future Game Transaction is processed from the Player Account, being the last Player-Initiated Transaction.

A Player Account that has become an Inactive Account will cease to be an Inactive Account following the successful completion of a Player-Initiated Transaction.

An Inactive Account will be subject to the following monthly service fees (“Inactive Account Fees”), the amount of which OLG will be entitled to withdraw from the Unutilized Funds associated with the Player Account at the end of each month (or at any time thereafter) without the requirement for any advance or further notice to the Player:

during each of the first 12 months that the Player Account is an Inactive Account, a monthly service fee of $2 per month (or if the balance of the Player Account is less than $2, then that balance);

during each of the next six months that the Player Account is an Inactive Account, a monthly service fee of $10 per month (or if the balance of the Player Account is less than $10, then that balance); and

during each of the next six months that the Player Account is an Inactive Account, a monthly service fee of $25 per month (or if the balance of the Player Account is less than $25, then that balance).

The maximum amount of Inactive Account Fees that OLG will be entitled to receive from a Player under this Agreement is equal to the lesser of (i) $234 and (ii) the amount of the Unutilized Funds associated with the Inactive Account.

10.2 DORMANT ACCOUNTS

An Inactive Account will become a Dormant Account if the Player does not successfully complete a Player-Initiated Transaction within the 24-month period immediately following the date on which the Player Account becomes an Inactive Account (i.e., the Player has not successfully completed a Player-Initiated Transaction for 36 consecutive months). When a Player Account becomes a Dormant Account, the Player Account will be initially Suspended by OLG and subsequently Deactivated. Once the Player Account is a Dormant Account the Player will not be able to log into or use the Player Account. Subject to the minimum withdrawal requirements in Section 7.2 and documentation requirements in Section 4.3, OLG will deposit an amount equal to the Unutilized Funds as at such date into the bank account that is associated with the Player Account, the details of which are stored by OLG on the iGaming System. In the event that no bank account is associated with the Player Account, or if OLG is not able to successfully deposit the Unutilized Funds in such bank account (for example, because the bank account has been closed or because OLG requires additional information in order to confirm that the bank account belongs to the Player), OLG will use its reasonable efforts to contact the Player using the Player Contact Information to advise as to the status of the Player Account and the balance of Unutilized Funds. If OLG is unable to contact the Player, the Player Account will be Deactivated. If OLG is unable to contact the player within 24-months of the Player Account becoming a Dormant Account, Unutilized Funds may be forfeited to OLG.

Term 10.1 is noteworthy as it will cost player’s money – anything that costs players we feel should be pointed out. Term 10.2 is more problematic since it eventually results in the seizure of a player’s balance and we never support such actions that come about as a result of inactivity.

OLG Casino do provide a Self-Exclusion program for those that feel themselves to be at risk of problem gambling behaviours. Individuals can elect to self-exclude online or in a land-based casino, from charitable bingo and gaming or from all of the above. Self-exclusions can only be used for periods of 6 months or longer.

There is also a complaints policy in place – more details on this can be located in section 18 of the OLG Casino Terms and Conditions.

As with many provinces, online gaming with offshore providers is not covered by the existing Criminal Code and so players cannot determine whether this is legal or illegal – suffice to say that it appears the Ontarian government have not criminalised players who do play with foreign licensed operators and no operators have experienced issues if they offer services to players from this jurisdiction to the best of our knowledge. We always recommend making checks as to changes in the law before playing.

A single instance of prosecutions being brought against 18 people in Ontario who were found to be connected with Platinum Sports Book – an organisation which the government had found to be run by an organised crime syndicate. The seizure related to the funds being linked to crime and $2 million was seized in the raids.

Prince Edward Island (Province)

One of the three provinces categorised as Maritime provinces and also one of the four Atlantic provinces, Prince Edward Island is the smallest of all the provinces in Canada. It is an English-speaking province, though many other languages also feature amongst its population too. There are two agencies responsible for different types of gambling in Prince Edward Island – they are the Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission and the Consumer, Corporate and Insurance Division of the Department of Justice and Public Safety (regulates bingo, raffles, casino nights, and charitable gaming). Gamblers must be 19 or older in Prince Edward Island.

All types of gambling activity are legal in Prince Edward Island. They have entered into a partnership with the Atlantic Lottery Corp. portal so that residents can also take part in online gambling through a provincially regulated operator. By gambling at this portal, players can be sure that profits will go back into their province since their gaming model is the charitable version.

Since Prince Edward Island shares online gaming services with the other Atlantic provinces please see or overview of the issues arising in our exploration of the Atlantic Gaming Corp. portal under New Brunswick’s section – they apply here too.

Residents of this province appear to be able to gamble freely with online operators regulated outside of their place of residence without fear of prosecution – to date we can find no evidence of Prince Edward Island taking players to court if they are found to have taken part in offshore gambling activities – please do take the time to double check that this is still the case before you sign up and play with such an operator.

Québec

Québec is one of the centrally situated provinces in Canada and it is the largest of all the provinces. The official language of Québec is French. Loto-Québec is responsible for the regulation of all lotteries and casinos based in Québec. Loto-Québec does have an online casino portal for use by its residents called Espacejeux. Like the majority of Canadian provinces, they use the charitable model for their gaming enterprises and so all profits raised by gambling endeavours are reinvested in public services by the government. The legal age for accessing gambling services in Québec is 18 years of age.

The Terms and Conditions with the provincially regulated Espacejeux do give withdrawal limits and deposit limits but there is no mention of what happens if a player’s account becomes dormant or inactive which could give rise to issues should player balances be confiscated after a certain period that players have not been made aware of on creation of their account. There is also no complaints policy laid out for players which means it is not particularly easy for players to alert the company to issues they may be experiencing – this is not particularly customer friendly. The omission of any links to problem gambling support sites is also questionable. Most of the most highly reputed regulators require easy to locate links to such services to be made available to players from the main pages of the gaming provider’s website.

Espacejeux have a self-exclusion program which can be accessed here.

The government of Québec have made indications that they are keen to begin the process of blocking offshore gaming sites that are not regulated by Loto-Québec but there is some dispute over whether this is considered unconstitutional, and the case is currently under review by the Supreme Court of Canada – a final decision has not been made as to whether the blocks are legally enforceable.

It appears that no legal action has been enacted against residents of Québec who utilise the services of offshore gambling providers, but this may change once the Supreme Court of Canada has pronounced its judgement on Québec’s right to block foreign online providers.

Saskatchewan (Province)

Classed as both a boreal and prairie province, Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province lacking a natural border. The official language of Saskatchewan is English. Issues related to gambling in Saskatchewan fall under the jurisdiction of the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) and the Indigenous Gaming Regulators (IGR) which licenses and regulates on-reserve charitable gaming activities of the First Nations that have designated IGR as their regulator through Band Council Resolutions. Gambling activities can only be undertaken by those aged 19 and over.

There is no provincially regulated online casino available to residents of this province. Saskatchewan does provide an officially regulated lottery system but that is the extent of the gaming provisions made available to its residents.

As is the case with many of the provinces, online gambling exists in a legal dead zone in Saskatchewan, meaning that no laws have been constructed to declare it precisely legal or illegal. Residents of the province have not been subject to criminal prosecutions by their government for taking part in offshore gambling activities to date but that does not mean this will not happen in the future should the province decide to make an explicit declaration as to the legality of the activity.

Yukon (Territory)

Set on the most westerly point of Canadian soil, Yukon Territory is the smallest of the territories and it has the lowest population too. The official languages of Yukon are English and French. All matters relating to gambling are overseen by the Professional Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Branch of the Department of Community Services. To gamble in this territory, one must be aged 19 or over.

There is no official territorially regulated online casino made available to residents of this jurisdiction and luckily it has not been officially declared a crime to play with an online operator that is regulated in a foreign jurisdiction. No criminal cases have yet been brought against those living in Yukon who make use of the services of offshore gambling providers. As with all things this is subject to change at the discretion of the government, and so players from Yukon should always check for the most current advice relating to the legality of online gambling, as it applies to them.

Frequently Asked Questions Gambling Legality Canada

Is it legal to take part in online gambling in Canada?

There are 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada, and they all have their own rules relating to online gambling. Some provinces, like British Colombia, provide provincially regulated online gaming facilities for residents and these can be accessed entirely legally. The Criminal Code was created before online gambling existed and so it neglects to make any mention of the official legal status of this activity. Most provinces and territories do not take action against players accessing foreign based online providers, but this can always change so we recommend checking the current status of online gambling in the province or territory in which you reside before you decide to do so.

What age do I have to be to gamble legally in Canada?

For most provinces and territories those wishing to take part in gambling must be aged 19 or over but in Ontario, from the age of 18, charitable gambling activities can be undertaken legally – you have to be 19 for other types of gambling activity. In Québec all gambling activities can be legally undertaken when a person is aged 18 or over.

Online Gambling Legality in Other Areas

If you are interested in learning more about the legality of online gambling in other areas of the world, check out our article on the legality of online gambling in New Zealand – a situation that is considerably more simplistic than that in Canada as a result of the centralised gambling laws - or our article about the legality of online gambling in the Republic of Ireland.

You should also review our article, Are Online Casinos Regulated. As the government in Canada takes no role in the regulation of overseas gambling operators, the experience that Canadian citizens are likely to have online will largely be defined by the licenses that the gambling operator they choose to play with holds.

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United Kingdom country flag

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland sits to the north-west of mainland Europe. The United Kingdom shares a border with The Republic of Ireland and has coasts on the Atlantic Ocean, Celtic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea and English Channel. The population of the UK is approaching the 67.6 million mark leading to a fairly densely populated land mass. The gambling sector in the United Kingdom is entirely regulated and licensed by the UKGC – the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Should players resident In the UK wish to gamble with foreign based operators there is no history of this being treated as a criminal offence, but high levels of protection exist for UK residents playing with UK licensed operators.