Present Day Gambling
As it stands, Canada’s federal Criminal Code states that any form of gaming or gambling is generally prohibited. However, there is a tricky provision in Section 207 of the code that says that provincial governments are allowed to “conduct and manage” gaming activities within their respective provinces. There are also a few notable restrictions that stand out, For instance, horse racing and the act of betting on these races are not the same and are both addressed individually within the Code. The federal law also states that provinces are not allowed to make their own individual discretions in this area. However, towards the end of 2021, this restriction was lifted in federal law and it now grants more power to the provinces with regards to legislation in this arena.
Since a lot of power is granted to the provinces with regards to overseeing gambling activity in Canada, many of the provinces establish dedicated entities, commonly referred to as Lottery Corporations. Their roles ultimately revolve around the management and oversight of gambling activity in their respective provinces. For example, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is what is responsible for overseeing gambling in the Ontario area. For British Columbia, they have the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.
Here is a complete list of gaming authorities in Canada for every province:
- Alberta – Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
- British Columbia – BCLC
- Manitoba – Liquor and Gaming Commission of Manitoba
- New Brunswick – New Brunswick Gaming Control
- Newfoundland and Labrador – Service NL
- Nova Scotia – Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division Service of Nova Scotia
- Ontario – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
- Prince Edward Island – Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission
- Quebec – Loto Quebec
- Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
A Complicated History
Even though Canada has relatively stable and relevant gambling laws, the country has had a very complicated history with regard to gambling legislation. Back in the early 1800s, gambling was completely legal in Canada and many citizens regularly indulged in the activity. However, in the late 1800s, things started to change when the government passed national legislation that outlawed all gambling operations in the country. This wasn’t necessarily well-received, and within a decade, the government started taking more lenient approaches to gambling regulation in the country.
In fact, back in 1996, Canada was one of the first countries to recognize and legalize online gambling. These days, Canada is known as one of the most progressive countries in many facets of society, but they have also garnered a solid reputation as a gambling-friendly country. That’s why citizens don’t typically have problems looking for a land-based or online casino in Canada. There are 10 provinces in Canada and each of them has been allowed to create and enforce their own gambling licensing and regulation procedures since the 1970s. And while it may be messy to think about how gambling laws can differ from province to province, it actually works out fairly well for the Canadian government as a whole.
Interesting Gambling Facts in Canada
Ultimately, the gambling laws in Canada are consistent with those that are found in gambling-friendly countries all over the world. However, there are a few distinct laws and regulations that definitely make Canada stand out on its own. First, Canada’s minimum gambling age is also dependent on provincial legislation. For most provinces, the legal minimum gambling age is 19. Only the provinces of Quebec, Alberta, and Winnipeg have a lower minimum gambling age of 18.
Another interesting fact about Canadian law is that winnings garnered from gambling activities are not subjected to tax. Only gambling operators are required to pay licensing fees and taxes to generate state income from gambling activities. This makes Canada a very player-friendly country as gamblers are allowed to take home all their earnings.
Lastly, the gaming industry in Canada has impacted its economy through more than just tax revenues. It has also provided secure jobs for many Canadians all over the country. In fact, the entire gaming industry in Canada is so vast that it has a workforce of more than 250,000 people.
The Future of Gambling in Canada
As it stands, Canada has a very forward-thinking outlook on the gambling market. And it seems like the country is going to continue to make sure that it stays relevant when it comes to regulations and standards surrounding the industry, particularly in the online and digital realms.