Gambling in Canada
Betting and playing in casinos for real money are some of the most popular entertainment activities on the territory of Canada. Local gambling laws, however, are considered a bit complicated, just like the situation with other parts of the world. Up to date, several forms of land-based gambling activities have been legalized by the country’s Government. The same applies to a few forms of Internet gambling. Still, some laws related to casino and gaming services provided by companies based overseas are yet unclear.
Gambling is the biggest single component of the entertainment industry in Canada, which is responsible for generating significant revenues. More than 135,000 Canadian citizens are currently directly employed in the industry. Both real-money gaming and betting are popular among Canadians. The matters of gambling regulation, however, can be complicated in a certain way. Offline gambling has been approved as legal by several forms of government. The same applies to online gambling. Still, a great part of the laws that regulate the industry, and especially those pertaining to the companies based in foreign countries, are not very clear.
Canadian Gambling and Online Gambling Laws
The gambling legislation in Canada is very strict and this can be seen in the past laws of the country. At first, there were very few gambling activities permitted by Canada’s laws. This was until the 1970s when the Canadian legislation went through some great changes.
In 1969 the Criminal Code of Canada was reformed in a way that provided the separate provinces within the territory of the country with the opportunity to gather extra funds for beneficial causes through regulated lotteries. All provinces were allowed to regulate gambling within their borders. The legal age for gambling at both brick-and-mortar and landbased casinos is 18 in Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec. If you reside in the rest of the provinces in Canada you can start gambling at age of 19.
The changes in the Criminal Code led to the opening of numerous landbased casinos on the territory of Canada and some provincial governments have started their own lotteries that are still functional. Moreover, a few sports betting outlets, which are known under different names in the various provinces, have got the approval of the government. They offer a perfectly legal way to make bets on sports but the betting options which they provide are very limited.
When it comes to online gambling activities, there are usually some complications and a lot of gray areas. There are no legal authorities which can prevent Canadian players from placing bets online. It may sound confusing but every Canadian province does have the right to assert and create its own regulations and rules which concern online gambling. Playing at an online casino in Canada is legal – in fact, no one has ever been fined or prosecuted simply for playing on a gambling website.
Some of the provinces within the territory of the country manage their own web-based casinos, as most betting outlets that are legalized by the government offer the players the opportunity to bet over the Internet. In addition, making purchases of lottery tickets online is legal for the Canadian citizens.
Online gambling operators that offer their services without having a government license are proclaimed as illegal. Still, some companies and operators are trying to look for loopholes and avoid the legislation issues by settling their operations overseas. The paradox here originates from the fact that if a company is based in a country where online gambling is legal, then it can be said that Canadian laws do not apply.
While online gambling is still an issue in Canada, massive amounts of money are being spent by Canadians on wagering on foreign websites on an annual basis. This is exactly one of the arguments in favor of the legalization of online gambling in Canada. This is definitely a matter that the government is considering but there are still no changes to the gambling laws of Canada.
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