Understanding Gambling Laws and Regulations in Canada

The federal Criminal Code (the “Code”) is the overarching statute controlling gambling activity in Canada. Overall, all types of gambling, betting, and lotteries are defined as illegal by the Code, unless they fall into one of the exceptions defined by the Code. It is important to understand what the constitution of Canada establishes as legal and illegal to start or continue gambling within the country. This article is based on the 2019 issue of the Code, but keep in mind that the legal landscape may change rapidly and make the most well-informed articles outdated within a short span of time.

According to Play.Casino website, Canada is divided into 10 provinces including Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and 3 territories of Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, some of the laws and regulations between these provinces might differentiate. We will provide you with the most important definitions from the Code that you need to know for your legal safety.

Illegal In-House Gambling in Canada

Most forms of gambling were outlawed all throughout Canada before the 1970’s, due to which the act of gambling turned into organized crime. Everything changed when provinces and territories were given the right to oversee some gambling activities in 1985, mak1970sing gambling accessible to the average citizen. Still, Canada keeps very flexible but regulated laws to control gambling in the country.

The Code discusses many illegal gambling offenses thoroughly, but the most common ones are Sections 201-209, with four being the most important. See below.

  • Section 201 — mainly discusses the limitations and illegalities of common gaming and betting houses

  • Section 202 — defines illegal betting, book-making, and pool-selling

  • Section 206 — deals with offenses associated with lotteries and other games of chance

  • Section 209 - offenses for cheating at games of chance with the intention to defraud either the customer or the gambling house

These four sections were deemed as serious offenses by the Code in 2010. Gambling-related offenses are punished by imprisonment of up to 2 years and fines of up to $5,000. Online

Gambling in Canada

Local companies are not allowed to operate Internet Casinos in Canada, as web-waves casinos are considered a grey area in Canadian law. Today, according to the Code, hosting online gambling websites on the territory of Canada are considered illegal. Though the provinces and territories have their own rights to grant exemptions.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the main gaming regulatory body, who has the right to issue licenses and regulate online casinos. There are certain criteria that the casinos have to meet to receive licenses from the KGC, including fair gameplay, payouts guarantee, and geographical reference, so make sure to look at the regulations of the online casinos before you sign up.

Summary

Canada has strict laws regarding gambling, though they have become a little bit more flexible in the last years. The government wants to keep the citizens happy, but at the same time to provide them with enough regulations to keep them safe - which is the best thing they could do.


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