Canadian Online Gambling Laws

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Today online gambling has become a worldwide sensation as many countries have passed legislation to legalize and regulate. That said, there are different laws in different countries. Have you wondered about the legality of online gambling in Canada?

Online gambling is often referred to as a legal “gray area.” However, there’s the question of whether playing some online poker or blackjack from your home or office is legal or not. It’s an important issue because what matters regarding the issue is what the laws say.

Regarding Canada’s laws regarding online gambling is that is that it’s technically not legal. However, it’s not 100% black and white, so it’s important to know the details about the situation. In a nutshell, Canada’s laws like other countries’ are catching up with the shift of activities such as gambling to the Internet.

What’s important to keep in mind is that in Canada gambling is under the jurisdiction of the country’s provinces. The problem is that the Internet is by definition the World Wide Web, so it isn’t technically limited by the geographic locations of brick-and-mortar casinos.

For example, there are thousands of foreign gambling sites located in various areas such as Cyprus, the Isle of Man, and Gibraltar. These areas are very open to gambling due mainly to the tax revenue it generates.

However, you might be wondering about the legal status of the off-store operators within Canada. It’s important to consider the laws of the offshore sites that accept Canadian bets. More specifically it’s also important about what Canada’s laws say about such bets.

Regarding the Criminal Code of Canada, there doesn’t seem to be anything that makes it illegal to place bets at an offshore site. This also seems to be the case whether you’re playing various types of games such as poker, blackjack, and slots.

There are more issues to deal with, though, which make the situation more complex. There’s the issue of off-shore operators accepting bets that are made from various countries, such as Canada.

Before online gambling existed, the laws about gambling in Canada were clearer. Each Canadian province had its gambling rules. That included casinos, lotteries, and bingos. The only exception was horse racing, which the federal government regulated.

As time passed, nearly all provinces shifted to online gambling. In 2004 British Columbia started offering web-based lottery tickets as well as sports betting. It then added poker half a decade later and Internet casino/bingo games in 2010.

The laws are similar in Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba has similar online gambling offerings. Alberta will likely join those areas.

On Canada’s East Coast the Atlantic Lottery Corp. supervises the sale of Internet lottery tickets/bingo for Maritime provinces. However, it doesn’t offer online casino games like blackjack, poker, or slots.

Outside bettors are mostly not allowed from playing games on provincial websites. The exception is some inter-provincial deals. Gambling is a legal issue, so the question mark is if the Criminal Code doesn’t allow foreign operators to do business with customers in Canada.


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