Is online gambling legal in Canada?

Is online gambling legal

A simple question with a not-so-simple answer.

Although the federal government has placed illegal gambling — which at one time was a major vice run by organized crime — as an offence in four sections of the Criminal Code of Canada, things began to change around 1970, when games of chance that were once deemed illegal started to become more accessible to the average Canadian, and once again in 1985, when the provinces and territories took greater control to oversee such gambling activities as slots, gambling as a means of fundraising for charity, and lotteries.

In 2010, the four sections of the Criminal Code that were related to illegal gambling were adjusted, so that any violations of these four section were deemed as serious offences, and were punishable by a maximum of five years in prison, a minimum of six months in prison, or a $5000 fine. 

According to the website, there is quite a grey area when it comes to gambling laws, because although gambling offences are prescribed in federal legislation, the provinces and territories have their own manner of regulating gambling, and laws of that nature vary from province to province. In fact, although the Criminal Code doesn’t exactly state that online gambling is illegal, it “does require a service to be licensed or owned by a provincial government in order to be considered legal,” says the website.

In Quebec, its residents are allowed to play at any online gambling site that would accept them, especially Espacejeux, which is owned by the provincial government. However, the province of Quebec recently announced plans to eventually block any online gambling site that is not both approved and licensed by Loto Quebec.

Let’s compare that to B.C.’s approach to online gambling. In that province, there is only one legal online gambling site, and that is PlayNow, which is owned and regulated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. The site was launched 16 years ago, and offers a wide variety of gambling games such as sports betting, lotteries, bingo, poker and casino games. 

Golden Star (, a licensed online casino site that has been in operation since 2012, has all the necessary operating licenses, and as a result of this, Canadian players can try their luck at Golden Star without being concerned about having any problems with violating any casino laws. Their software has a no-download format, which allows gamers to play right away through their browser, mobile phone or tablet. They also offer generous bonuses, such as a 100% first deposit bonus, and a 75% second deposit bonus. And most important, Golden Star offers over 600 casino games that gives players a wide choice of popular casino games such as live roulette, slots, and video games.

So enjoy your online gaming experience, but make sure that wherever you play in Canada, make sure you abide by the rules and follow the guidelines that regulate that certain province or territory.

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