Canadian Gaming Laws Will Change in The Coming Years

Bella Dippenaar
Like me

Canada is known for its relaxed attitude and the fact that each of its ten provinces and three territories allow at least one form of legal gambling. Lotteries, charitable gaming, land-based and online casinos, sports betting, and online slot machines are just some of the gaming options available in Canada. Live casinos are extremely popular in Canada.

The gambling industry in Canada generates tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year. This is because more than 70% of Canadian adults have admitted to gambling at least once in their lives. Although the Federal Criminal Code contains regulations governing the gambling industry, each province and territory has its laws governing gaming and gambling.

The Federal Criminal Code is the highest authority in Canada for regulating the speculation trade

The gaming industry’s restrictions are addressed in sections 201-209 of the Code. Except for wagering on horse races and events, all common or unregistered forms of gambling are illegal under the Criminal Code. This includes the ownership, leasing, and operation of illegal gambling establishments and betting houses.

This category also includes unlicensed internet gambling operations. This rule applies to anyone who imports, owns, or uses devices and instruments used in these games. It is also relevant to the players of these games. Landlords and lessors who rent out their properties for similar games and activities are also included in this category. This offense carries a maximum prison sentence of two years under the law.

However, there are a few notable deviations from the norm

As previously stated, this category excludes anything and everything related to horse racing. The Federal Pari-Mutuel Agency is in charge of monitoring and regulating the pari-mutuel betting industry in Canada. Significant exemptions are also provided by contests in which participants do not have to pay to participate. These games are not required to be registered with any authority or regulated in any way. Furthermore, the Code distinguishes between games of skill, games of chance, and games that combine skill and chance.

Each Canadian province’s regulatory bodies are in charge of overseeing games of chance and games that combine skill and chance. Lotteries, roulette, bingo, poker, blackjack, and slot machines are examples of these games. Because these games require a certain level of talent or knowledge, the areas typically do not regulate skill-based activities such as competitions, strength tests, and memory recall. Consumer protection standards, however, can still be enforced in these types of games.

The legal gambling age in Canada is 18 years old

Given that the majority of gambling establishments also sell alcoholic beverages, the minimum age for gamblers in each province is the same as the minimum age for drinking in those locations. Individuals must be at least 18 years old in Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta to consume alcoholic beverages or gamble. To legally drink and gamble in the other provinces, gamblers must be at least 19 years old. Adults over the age of 18 may play slot machines, poker, roulette, and other casino games in Quebec and Manitoba, but it is illegal in all other provinces.

Registration, taxes, and the ongoing cost of license renewal

Businesses and corporations in Canada that want to participate in the gaming sector must first register as service providers with the lottery company in the province or territory where they want to participate. Even though the specific restrictions applied in each region vary slightly, all game houses, casinos, slot machines, video terminal slots, and other similar enterprises are required by law to register with the regulating authority of the province in which they are located.

In the Canadian province of Alberta, for example, all service providers must be registered with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). The Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Act is the Alberta gambling statute. Each state, province, and territory has regulatory authorities that oversee all forms of gambling, betting, speculating, and wagering, as well as statutes and laws.

To apply for a “license,” a corporation or gaming establishment must fill out a form

It is important to remember, however, that governments do not issue licenses to gaming operations; rather, they simply register businesses. This can be done in person, by mail, fax, or over the internet. The provincial regulatory agency then evaluates the registration application based on the following criteria:

  • Transparency and a dignified demeanor
  • Financial resources
  • Adherence to current legal requirements
  • The potential for financial gain by registering
  • Classification of registrars

Taxes and fees imposed on business owners apply to companies and businesses registered in a province or territory. In other words, Canada currently lacks specific tax regulations governing the gaming industry. Every casino, card room, and other gambling establishment pays taxes to the government as a percentage of their revenue. The income tax law is the Canadian law that governs taxation. There is no set of criteria that dictates how much casinos and other gaming establishments must pay.

Even though registration is only required once, betting and gaming businesses must renew their licenses on an annual basis. The expiration dates are printed on provincial permits. Gaming establishments must renew their registration before the expiration of their license. The renewal process is governed by regulations unique to each state and province. For example, to maintain their registration in Ontario’s casinos, operators must pay a $100,000 monthly fee. Annual subscription fees for slot machines, video lottery terminals, and sports betting establishments differ by province and territory.

Private gaming corporations will be suspended and subject to restrictions

Each province’s governing body is required to uphold the right to revoke the licenses of gambling establishments that violate any of the specified operating laws. The majority of the time, this happens after a warning has been issued. After receiving a warning, a registered gaming institution that continues to violate the laws governing its operations may face financial penalties.

Following the completion of these stages, the province’s gaming regulating body will give the corporation the option of appealing the judgment to a tribunal or having its operating license revoked. If this happens, the company will be unable to provide any gaming services to customers who gamble or place bets.

Each provincial governing body retains the authority to change or redefine the activities that are considered gambling in the province. A gaming establishment is required by law to limit its services to those that are permitted under provincial statutes. Yukon casinos are only required to be open three days a week. As a result, gaming facilities in the province are subject to regulation. All activities permitted in betting houses and other facilities will be limited to those authorized by legislation by the provincial government. Any action proven to violate these laws will be considered illegal and may result in the license being suspended or revoked.


As previously stated, gaming establishments in Canadian provinces only need to register with their respective provincial governments. The Lottery Commission and any other applicable regulatory bodies will determine which products will be made available, what advertising tactics are permissible for those products, and where those products should be marketed.

Lottery merchants in Ontario, for example, must follow the Ontario Lottery Corporation’s Marketing and Advertising Standard. Even if products and gaming services are not legally mandated, they must adhere to Federal Competition Acts and Consumer Protection Rights.