Gambling, in any form, is allowed everywhere in Canada, but it is regulated – very often with great differences – in each of the 10 provinces and three territories. Casinos, sports bookmakers, lotteries, and similar organizations must comply with the laws prescribed by the province or territory in which they operate. Where you are located in Canada determines what type of gambling is legal or what is not, and how old you must be to take part in these activities.
But, before you learn all about the laws and possibilities of gambling in Canada, here is a little education about how the evolution of this pastime, but also the type of business, in the country went.
A Brief History of Gambling in Canada
Once a relatively well-intentioned pastime, gambling in Canada has become a more – acceptable and integral recreational activity. Today, under provincial and territorial government regulations, gambling options are available through charities, private operators licensed by the government, and casinos ran by First Nations.
Widespread acceptance of gambling in Canada began in 1969 when the Criminal Code was changed by the Criminal Law Amendment Act, allowing provinces and territories to raise funds for valuable causes through regulated lotteries. For example, the Olympics in Montreal received funds from such lotteries. Today, lotteries are large producers of money for provincial and territorial governments in Canada, and government regulation of gambling has increased to include scratchcards, horse races, charity games (including bingo), casino gambling, video lottery terminals (VLT)… though, not all of these forms of gambling are available everywhere in Canada.
Types of Gambling in Canada
The types of legalized gambling offered in Canada range from commercial casino and racing operations to smaller bingo halls, Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), slot machines, and scratchcards.
All legal gambling is regulated by provinces and territories and, therefore, the types of gambling available vary across the country. A certain amount of illegal gambling takes place in Canada through private bookmakers, non-governmental video game and lottery devices, and online gambling and sports betting, which currently poses a challenge to the Canadian authorities.
Casino Gambling in Canada
Casino gambling is probably the form of gambling that appeals to visitors in Canada the most. More than 100 casinos operate across Canada, although, for example, they do not exist in the following three provinces: Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Some of the Canadian casinos, such as the one at the lavish Manoir Richelieu hotel or Mont-Tremblant (both in Québec), are located in a picturesque part of the country and attract visitors with that much more than they attract them with the opportunity to win (or lose) money. Others, like Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Casino de Montréal, or Caesars Windsor, are constructed in Vegas-style, with large sprinklers, revolving restaurants, and shopping malls.
Age Requirements for Casinos in Canada
The age requirements for entering a casino in Canada vary by province or territory. You must be, at least, 19 to enter a casino anywhere in Canada, except Alberta, Manitoba, and Québec where the age of 18 is set as a limit.
This age-related condition similarly applies to the entrance to restaurants and theaters inside the casinos.
Destinations and Casino Resorts
Canada has many casino destinations and resorts that are especially popular with visitors/tourists. Many of these casinos have on-site accommodation, restaurants, shopping malls, live exhibitions and shows, and they are settled at picturesque locations. Apart from land-based casinos, Canada has some of the best betting sites in the world, many of which are listed here.
This province has the most casinos in Canada, more than 70, and four of them are resorts: Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara (both in Niagara Falls), Casino Rama in Orillia (north of Toronto), and Caesars Windsor (just across the border with the United States).
Lake City Casino (in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, close to wineries and golf courses), St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino (in the Rocky Mountains), and River Rock Casino Resort (extremely rich complex of all numerous pleasures in Richmond).
The Casino de Charlevoix on the Manoir Richelieu is just great because it is housed in the historic Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel, located right on the banks of the Lawrence River.
First Nations Casinos
Numerous Canadian casinos are run by First Nations tribes in their reserves and are open to the public. One of the largest is Casino Rama in Orillia – north of Toronto, Ontario – which we have already mentioned and where visitors try their luck at tables or slots, as well as watch live shows of big names that included or include singers and standup performers, such as Carrie Underwood, Diana Ross, and Jerry Seinfeld.