Is It Legal to Play Online Casino Games in Canada?

Yes, it is legal to play in an online casino like in Canada. The legality goes through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, but this is mostly for land-based casinos.

The government has also taken action to legalize online gambling in the country. However, the laws pertaining to online casinos that operate outside of Canada are unclear. Most of the legit online casinos in Canada have offices and operations outside the country.

What Is Really the Legal Provision for Online Gambling?

Well, companies are not allowed to operate an online gambling facility in the country. Online casinos and even poker rooms are not allowed.

The thing is that most online casinos are not physically based in Canada. Instead, they are mostly in Europe, particularly in the UK. What it means is that it is the UK that has jurisdiction over them, not Canada.

Many online casinos also get their licenses from countries like Malta or Curacao. These licenses allow casinos to operate in many countries in the world.

Can Canadian Players Gamble Online?

Yes, Canadian players can gamble online. There is no law stating that online gambling is not allowed. What’s illegal is to operate an online casino.

You can play online if you want, and the Canadian government cannot impose punishment on you. The only thing you have to worry about is whether the online casino of your choice is legit or not.

The Gambling Law in Canada

Gambling used to be legal in Canada. However, there were some laws introduced in 1892 that banned gambling in the country.

Over the years, the government has become more lenient. It is why there are land-based casinos in the country now, and then there are horse races and lotteries.

It was in 1985 when the country made gambling machines legal. These machines included slots, and they paved the way for land-based casinos to operate in the country.

The country of Canada has a criminal code, and this code stipulates illegal activities surrounding gambling in the nation. Some provinces are allowed to operate gambling facilities, and some provinces can also regulate these gambling operations.

By definition, anything that is related to gambling is illegal if there is no authority given to the operator. However, it is not illegal if the company meets the provisions laid out in the criminal code.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission

While it is illegal to operate an online gambling site in Canada, there is a loophole in this law. Most gambling facilities, including those that operate online, are in the Kahnawake region, which is inside Canada.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is an organization that has the authority to regulate gambling facilities. They issued licenses to several online gaming facilities that offer poker rooms, sportsbooks, and many other online casino games.

This is a grey area because online gambling is illegal in Canada. However, it is not illegal if the operator is offshore.

The majority of offshore online gambling operators have servers in Kahnawake, which is inside Canada. So, pretty much, those who live in Canada can operate an online casino provided that they have their offices and servers in Kahnawake.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has been around since 1996. What they do is issue licenses to casino operators. They also regulate these casinos in their territory, which is the Mohawk Territory. They have sovereignty in their territory, and they can do their business as they wish.

Today, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has issued more than 50 licenses to many companies to be able to operate in their sovereignty. Overall, these licenses are used to operate somewhere around 250 websites.

Status of Gambling in Different Provinces

Here is a quick snapshot of the laws per province in Canada as regards gambling:

  • Alberta – online gambling is legal for adults
  • British Columbia – only allowed in sites regulated by the province
  • Manitoba – legal only for sites recognized by the province
  • New Brunswick – legal only through Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC); casinos must not advertise their services
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – all managed by ALC are legal to operate gambling
  • Nova Scotia – also part of ALC, and it is legal if ALC regulates the gambling facility
  • Ontario – online gambling is legal
  • Prince Edward Island – legal only if approved by the province
  • Quebec – legal only through Loto-Quebec; gambling in offshore sites is approved
  • Saskatchewan – legal, but then there is no regulating body in the province


Overall, we can say that it is legal to gamble online in Canada if you are a player. If you are a gambling operator, it is much more complicated.

As a player, there really are no provisions where you are not allowed to gamble online, especially if you gamble on sites that are under the regulation of the various provincial governments.

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