Update on Canadian gambling regulations

Gambling is a popular pastime in Canada, with many players visiting brick-and-mortar casinos and participating in various forms of online gambling. The gambling industry in Canada is regulated by the federal government and provincial governments, and the types of gambling activities that are legal vary by province.

pixabay image Toronto downtown
Image by Lucas Wendt from Pixabay

However, the regulatory landscape for online gambling in Canada remains unclear, Canadian online casinos remain in a grey area, with provincial governments having varying degrees of control over online gambling activities. In addition to brick-and-mortar casinos, Canadians can also participate in various forms of online gambling, such as online casinos, sports betting, and poker. Online gambling has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it offers players the convenience of being able to gamble from the comfort of their own homes.

The federal government of Canada allows each province to regulate online gambling independently. Some provinces, such as Québec and British Columbia, have created their own online gambling platforms, while others, like Ontario and Alberta, have yet to launch any official online gambling sites. This has created a confusing patchwork of regulations and rules, leading to ambiguity around the legality of online gambling in Canada.

Despite this grey area, online gambling remains a popular activity among Canadians. According to a report by the Canadian Gaming Association, Canadians spent $4.7 billion on online gambling in 2018, a 17% increase from the previous year. This shows that despite the legal ambiguity, Canadians are still willing to take the risk of participating in online gambling activities.

Provincial Control and Licensing of Online Casinos

As previously mentioned, each province in Canada has varying degrees of control over online gambling activities. Some provinces, like Québec and British Columbia, have created their own online gambling platforms, which are operated and licensed by the provincial governments. These platforms offer a range of online gambling activities, such as casino games, poker, and sports betting.

Other provinces, like Ontario and Alberta, do not have their own online gambling sites but have given permission for private companies to operate online gambling activities. These private companies are required to obtain licenses from the provincial governments and adhere to certain regulations and rules.

In general, online casinos operating in Canada must be licensed by the provincial government in which they are based. This means that if an online casino is based in Québec, for example, it must be licensed by the Québec government to operate legally. However, some online casinos may operate in multiple provinces, making it difficult to determine which government should be regulating the casino. The regulation of online gambling activities in Canada is a complex issue, as it involves multiple levels of government and a variety of legal frameworks. At the federal level, online gambling is legal as long as it is offered by a provincial government or licensed by a provincial regulatory body. However, there is no federal legislation that specifically addresses online gambling, which means that each province has its own laws and regulations governing online gambling activities.

In addition to the licensing requirements, online gambling operators in Canada are also subject to various regulations related to consumer protection, responsible gambling, and the prevention of money laundering and fraud. These regulations vary from province to province and may include requirements for player registration and verification, limits on betting and deposit amounts, and the provision of responsible gambling tools such as self-exclusion and reality checks.

The Canadian government has also taken steps to address the issue of illegal online gambling, which is a growing problem in the country. In 2018, the federal government introduced new legislation that gave provincial and territorial governments the power to order internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling sites. While the effectiveness of this measure is still being debated, it represents a significant step toward combatting the proliferation of illegal online gambling in Canada.

Overall, the regulation of online gambling in Canada is a complex issue that involves multiple levels of government, a variety of legal frameworks, and ongoing efforts to address emerging challenges and issues. Despite these challenges, however, the Canadian online gambling industry continues to grow and evolve, offering Canadians a wide range of online gambling options and experiences.

Federal Government’s Role in Online Gambling

The federal government of Canada has not taken a clear stance on online gambling, leaving the regulation of online casinos up to the individual provinces. However, there have been recent discussions about the possibility of the federal government becoming more involved in online gambling regulation.

In November 2020, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-13, which aims to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to allow for single-event sports betting. The bill passed in February 2021, and single-event sports betting is now legal in Canada. This change in legislation is a step towards the federal government taking a more active role in regulating online gambling activities.

The Future of Canadian Online Gambling Regulations

The regulation of online gambling in Canada is likely to continue to evolve in the coming years. It is possible that the federal government will take a more active role in regulating online gambling activities, but it is also possible that each province will continue to regulate online casinos independently.

One potential solution to the current grey area of online gambling regulations in Canada is the creation of a national regulatory framework. This framework would establish clear rules and regulations for online gambling activities across the country and would provide a centralized authority to oversee and enforce these regulations.

Bottom Line

Canadian online casinos continue to operate in a grey area, with varying degrees of control and licensing by provincial governments. Despite this ambiguity, online gambling remains a popular activity among Canadians, with billions of dollars spent on online gambling activities each year. The future of Canadian online gambling regulations is uncertain, but there are potential solutions, such as a national regulatory framework, that could provide clarity and oversight to the industry.



About Joel Levy 2585 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography