A simple question on the face of it, but the answer is more complicated than in other countries around the world. Each province can implement its own regulations but it is important to note that as a player, you are safe to take part in online gambling as this is not illegal.
No Canadian has ever been convicted for betting on sports or casinos online.
The Canadian Criminal Code does prohibit single-event sporting bets from bookmakers licensed in Canada but does allow parlay bets with three or more games combined. All of the games in a parlay bet have to win in order for the punter to collect their winnings.
Most Canadian gamblers choose to bet using offshore bookies where rules are more relaxed and they are accepted as customers who can place single bets as well as parlays.
Progression of Legal Betting in Canada
Gambling was first made illegal in Canada in 1892. Developments over the coming decades eventually resulted in big changes and by 1985, Canadians could legally use slot machines. Land-based casinos then came into prominence, and since then, the government has turned a blind eye to online gambling.
To this day, there are no laws preventing Canadians from taking part in betting online, but players should not be found in an illegal betting house. Any gambling organisation operating within Canada must hold a government-issued license.
Since offshore companies carry licenses and are fully regulated, they are able to target Canadians.
Deposits made from various Canadian banks may not be possible, but there are many other payment methods which can be used in Canada to bet online safely, securely and legally.
Legal Provincial Lotteries
Canadian provincial governments offer betting opportunities in various forms through lottery retailers. Pro-line and Mise-O-Jeu are among the schemes, and punters can place bets at places like gas stations and other kiosk locations around each state.
The upside with these playing platforms is that they are fully regulated, available to anyone at the legal age, and they give locals the opportunity to bet on their favourite sports and win real money. Provincial sports lottery tickets can be paid for with cash which is easier than some betting sites, as well as the option of using popular credit cards.
Pool betting is a regular feature in provincial lotteries.
Players pay to enter a pool and make picks, with the punter who makes the most correct picks taking home the largest share of the winnings.
Compared to online betting sites from overseas, though, markets are massively limited, odds are poor, and punters are forced to place parlay bets which is not the case with offshore sportsbooks that are accessible on the web.
The convenience of being able to bet at home on desktop or mobile is also missing from over-the-kiosk lottery offerings, as well as live betting, cash out, and other popular new features of online betting sites in Canada.
Provincial lotteries also come up short when it comes to modern payment methods such as iDebit, Instadebit, MuchBetter, and Paysafecard - all of which are lacking.
Canadian Criminal Code
The Canadian Criminal Code mandates what is and isn’t illegal with regards to both land-based and online gambling in Canada.
As per the code, single bets on sports events are unlawful except under certain circumstances, but this does not stop Canadians from placing wagers at offshore bookmakers. It has not been determined by the courts whether the Canadian Criminal Code applies to foreign gambling operators.
Individual provinces and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission have the ability to grant and regulate gambling licenses. Each provincial government has its own regulations around the gambling offerings for its residents, and because the criminal code has no provisions that deal with online gambling, it is the provincial governments who manage this.
An amendment to the criminal code has allowed religious or charitable organisations to offer various forms of gambling, such as raffles, via computer.
Frequently asked questions about gambling legality in Canada
🇨🇦 Is betting legal in Canada?
It is legal for Canadians to gamble using online betting sites based overseas, and any gambling site based in Canada must hold a government-issued license.
🥎 Does sports betting exist in Canada?
Yes. Provincial governments offer land-based betting at kiosks, whilst online betting is also available mostly through overseas gambling sites and casinos.
👮♂ Is bet365 legal in Canada?
Bet365 accepts players from Canada, and there is nothing stopping players signing up to their site which is legally licensed and regulated in Gibraltar.
🎰 Are online casinos legal in Canada?
It is not legal for online casinos to operate within the country. Canadians can, however, play casino games at any gambling site based offshore.
📜 Who regulates gambling in Canada?
Gambling in Canada is regulated by each individual province, all of which implement their own framework for betting.