Canadian Gambling Laws: Busting Casino Myths

Heard some casino myths? Want to figure out how you can gamble legally in Canada? Then read on, as we discuss the history surrounding this issue.

Prior to the 1970s, pretty much all forms of gambling were very much illegal in Canada. This meant that the only kind of gambling available was operated through the black market.

As time went on, the law slowly started to change. First, only certain kinds of gambling activities were legalized. For example, in 1985 the various provinces of Canada were given the opportunity to have activities such as slots, charitable gaming, and lotteries.

Despite many forms now being legalized, there are still issues surrounding illegal gambling that are present today. There are still a number of laws and regulations aimed at preventing illegal activity. Running an illegal gaming operation is still considered a serious offense in Canadian law.

What About Online Gambling?

As with many other countries, the laws surrounding online gambling in Canada are somewhat of a gray area, so you may have heard some casino myths. Given that most of them were written well before the advent of the internet, it's difficult to directly apply them to the online version.

Canadian law doesn't specifically prohibit the act of making online wagers, but it doesn't require that a gambling service is owned or licensed by a provincial government for it to be considered legal. Despite this, however, there are over 1,000 offshore online gambling sites that offer gaming to Canadian customers.

Despite the huge number of online sites operating within Canada, it's not entirely unheard of for gambling providers to be prosecuted. For example, British Columbia went after Starnet Communications International, which is based out of Delaware. The company was forced to surrender almost $4 million in profits.

Thankfully, the Canadian authorities are only really interested in prosecuting the operators. As a player, you don't really have much to worry about, even with casino myths floating about.

The Provinces

Just like in the USA, the laws surrounding gambling can differ depending on where in Canada you are. Some provinces are more lenient towards online gambling than others.

For example, in Quebec, various forms of gaming have been legalized since the '70s. Residents in this province have the ability to play on any operator's site that's prepared to accept them. There's a chance that this could change in the future, as the local government may have plans to block any site that has not been specifically approved and licensed by Loto-Quebec.

Some provinces in Canada have their own gaming sites that are operated by the government. For example, in British Columbia, the only totally legal site is PlayNow, which is operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

Safe for Players

The main thing to keep in mind is that Canada is not really interested in going after the players. So regardless of any casino myths, you only need to worry about the authorities in Canada if you're actively running a gambling service.

If you're visiting Canada, it's worth checking out the local laws surrounding gambling so you can play only on reputable sites. For example, if you visit British Columbia, it's worth playing on the government-sanctioned site, as you know it'll be reliable and safe.