Provincial lotteries from coast-to-coast are responsible for legal, regulated online casino sites in Canada. Ontario launched an expanded market on April 4 that allows privately owned online casinos to operate provincially. The change means Ontario players have access to iGaming operators including DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers.
Canada Online Gambling
Welcome to legal gambling in Canada.
PlayCanada is your guide to legal online gambling in Canada. It’s been more than a month since Ontario launched its regulated online casino and sportsbook market; Alberta could be next.
PlayCanada.com is your one-stop shop that offers the best introduction to regulated gambling apps in Canada. We unpack all the Canada gambling options, which include retail and online casinos, sportsbooks and poker apps.
Read on for the latest on legal Canada online gaming.
Best Canada online gambling sites
Online Sports Betting
Ontario began allowing private online sportsbooks to start taking bets on April 4. OLG’s Proline Plus lottery sportsbook has competition for the first time, with more than a dozen online sportsbooks in Canada. You can wager using the best sports betting apps in Canada, including bet365, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet and Unibet.
No specific language says online poker in Canada is illegal. Ontario poker players can play on regulated poker sites BetMGM and partypoker. Each operator offers online poker tournaments and cash games. Espace Jeux’s OK Poker in Quebec and the online poker client PlayNow.com runs in BC and Manitoba are the only provincial lottery-run poker sites.
There are racetracks in about every province that host thoroughbred, standardbred and harness racing during the summer. Racetracks use a pari-mutuel betting format whereby winners split the total handle (proportion to their bets) after the betting provider takes its cut. You can also bet on simulcast races across Canada and the US at racetracks and OTB parlours.
Provincial governments may allow nonprofit or religious groups to run charity gambling events. Possible events include casino nights, bingo, raffles, lotteries, pull-tab games or even poker tournaments. The money raised must go to a good cause. Many bingo halls partner with nonprofits to obtain charitable gambling approval and run bingo games up to seven days a week.
The lottery is in every province and territory. In areas with smaller populations, provinces have joined to operate regionally. Groups include the Atlantic Lottery and Western Canada Lottery. The biggest national lottery draw games are Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49. Provincial lotteries also run online gambling and sports betting. You can also buy lottery tickets online.
Canadian gambling FAQ
Provinces individually set the legal age for gambling. If you want to gamble in live casinos or poker rooms, you must be 19 years old. In Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba, you must be at least 18. Additionally, some provinces set the age to buy lottery tickets at 18 or older, despite restricting other forms of gambling at 19 or older.
Yes, online gambling is legal in Canada, and provincial lottery corporations are in control. OLG.ca and Proline+ (Ontario), PlayNow.com (BC and Manitoba), PlayAlberta.ca (Alberta), EspaceJeux.com and Mise-o-jeu+ (Quebec) and ALC.ca (Atlantic Canada) are among the provincially run online casino and sports betting sites. Plus, SaskGaming is launching an online casino and sports betting site with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. In big news, a significant expansion of Ontario’s online gambling came into play on April 4 with the introduction of private online casinos and sportsbook operators.
No, not unless you’re a professional gambler. The definition covers pro poker players and sports bettors, treating their profits as business income. Otherwise, gambling winnings are tax-free for everyone, including lottery wins, slot jackpots, and sports bets.
The federal government left the regulation of privately run online casinos and online sportsbooks up to each province. So far, only Ontario has opened its market to private operators, although Alberta recently announced it would welcome two outside sportsbooks later this year. Whether other provinces will see the potential for increased tax revenue from a competitive online gambling market and follow suit remains a question.
You bet it does. Brick-and-mortar casinos in Canada range from luxury casino resorts in Montreal, Niagara Falls and Vancouver to small First Nations casinos set in natural surroundings. The luxury resorts can rival even Las Vegas casinos in size, gambling options and amenities.
Yes. Canada removed its ban on single-game wagering in 2021. Each provincial lottery corporation has since added full-scale sports betting to the previously parlay-only sports products. Additionally, Ontario opened its market to privately run online sportsbooks on April 4, welcoming operators like FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet sportsbooks to the mix.
Online gambling is legal all across the country, as long as you are gambling with a legal site. In most of the country, that means only playing on online gambling sites owned by provincial lotteries. However, on April 4, Ontario became the first province to open its market to private online casinos and sportsbooks. Additionally, Alberta will partially open its market later this year. Whether other regions decide to join the online party is unknown.
Provincial lottery sites offer various online casino games, from online slots based on in-person favourites to online table games and live dealer versions of favourite casino games like blackjack and roulette. You may also find popular video poker, keno games and instant lottery options.
Here’s our simple six-step guide to gambling online safely in Canada:
- Find the provincial lottery and gambling corporation or other provincial gambling authority copyright mark, seal of approval or legal info on the online casino or sportsbook website you’re looking to use to make sure it is legitimate.
- Download and install the online casino or sportsbook app, or just stick with the website.
- Sign up for an account with a valid email address, phone number and SIN information through the site’s or app’s secure registration portal.
- Enter any necessary bonus codes to be eligible for the bonus that particular online casino or sportsbook is offering to new users.
- Make a deposit using Interac, PayPal, online banking or whatever available deposit method is best for you through the secure banking portal.
- Browse through the available games or sports bets until you find something you like. Then click on it to play the game or place a bet.
There is a mix of federal and provincial laws that pertain to gambling in Canada. Canada’s Criminal Code has sections covering sports betting and online gambling. However, the forms that both those take — plus live casinos, poker rooms, lotteries and charitable gaming — are all up to individual provinces. The bottom line is that Canadian law allows you to gamble in Canada, but only with legal or provincially run establishments. It’s against the law to run a casino or gambling establishment without approval anywhere in Canada, or enter an unlicensed casino or gambling establishment, otherwise known as an illegal gambling house.
Ultimately, everything including live and online casinos, sportsbooks and poker rooms, bingo halls, lotteries and charitable gambling operations fall under the purview of the provinces. Provinces have departments that oversee gambling and have established Crown Corporations to operate casinos and online gambling websites. Some provinces allow private operators for casinos — using their Crown Corporations to oversee gambling activities. Plus, First Nation casinos operate throughout Canada, as well. Finally, Ontario is about to open up its online gambling market to privately run online casinos and sportsbooks, many of which are planning to launch legally on April 4.
Here’s a quick look at each province’s online gambling operation:
- Quebec: launched in 2010 and now includes slots, table games and poker. Single-game sports betting is also available via its Mise-o-jeu+ online sportsbook.
- Ontario: has a full-service online casino with slots, table games and now an online sportsbook via PROLINE+.
- Atlantic Canada: has an online casino in New Brunswick and an online sportsbook in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. That means no online gambling in Nova Scotia just yet.
- British Columbia and Manitoba: launched in 2004 and is now a full-service online casino with slots, table games, poker and an online sportsbook.
- Alberta: just launched an online casino in 2020, and added sports betting in 2021. Slots, casino games, single-game sports betting and instant lottery games are all there.
- Saskatchewan: A new Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority-designed and SaskGaming-managed online gambling site with casino games and sports betting is set to launch in 2022.
Video lottery terminals, known as VLTs, are video gambling consoles that offer slot and keno-style games. You can find VLTs in every Canadian province except British Columbia. Many offer multiple games in a single cabinet and employ a random number generator to determine the outcome of each. The games offer a fixed percentage return that is mandated by regulators and can’t be adjusted for individual consoles. Many feature popular slot titles and provincial jackpot games.