Legal Gambling in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia legalised lottery games in 1976 and introduced VLTs in 1991. Commercial casinos operated by the provincial government started in 2000. These days, the most populous of the Atlantic provinces allows residents to gamble legally in all the popular formats. There are two major live casinos, plus bingo halls. You will find poker rooms, simulcast betting facilities, and the opportunity to bet on sports via the ProLine system.

You can also legally enjoy online casino games, bingo, lottery, sports bets, and instant win games via the Atlantic Lottery online portal. Major casino and sportsbook brands are also popular in Nova Scotia. Big jackpot prizes and instant games are available via the Atlantic Lottery, which is shared with neighbouring provinces.

This page has you covered for all aspects of gambling in Nova Scotia. Below you will find a summary of the different types of gambling available. After that, details of the live casinos, bingo halls, and racetracks can be found.

Is gambling legal in Nova Scotia?

Following the delegation of gambling laws to the provinces a decade earlier – Nova Scotia formed the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority in 1995. This oversees all forms of gambling in the province. A separate government body, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, runs the two commercial casinos in Halifax and Sydney.

You need to be at least 19 years old to legally gamble in the province according to Nova Scotia gambling laws. All the popular formats are legal, with casinos, poker, sports betting (on 2 or more matches), horse racing bets, bingo, and lottery games all running. You will also find VLTs in this province.

Nova Scotia online gambling is legal too. Residents can play via the Atlantic Lottery Corporation portal. The ALS portal has casino games, instant games, and bingo options – along with ProLine sports betting.

Nova Scotia’s legal gambling options

  • Casinos: There are two casinos of any size in NS. One is the Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax, and the other in Sydney. Both include hundreds of slots, along with a small number of table games. You will also find a small number of slots and VLTs at bingo halls and the racetrack. The big casinos include dining and entertainment options.
  • Sports betting: In line with national laws, you can only place wagers on 2 or more matches in NS. Sports bets are handled through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and use the ProLine setup. This allows for wagers on up to 8 matches (minimum 2), with the win, totals, and prop bets all available. The list of sports you can bet on is limited.
  • Horse racing/Simulcast betting: There is a single racetrack in Nova Scotia. This track features live races during the summer months. OTB facilities let you bet via simulcast. This gives racing fans access to the parimutuel pools from around Canada, the US, and beyond.
  • NS lottery games: As part of the ALC, Nova Scotia offers a mix of national and regional draws. You can buy tickets from retail outlets, or online. There are instant win games, scratch cards, and iBingo options via the lottery website. Money raised goes to good causes in the region.
  • Poker Rooms: There are two live poker rooms in NS. They are located at the two commercial casinos in Halifax and Sydney. With only a small number of tables, the scope is limited – though cash game action can be enjoyed every day.
  • Bingo halls/Charity gambling: Bingo halls that raise money for charities and religious causes are found around the province. They have regular bingo games, entertainment, and a smaller selection of slots / VLTs to enjoy.
  • Online gambling: Nova Scotia has an official gambling portal. This is shared with the neighbouring provinces via the Atlantic Lottery Corporation website. You can play free casino games, including many slots with big jackpots and table games via this site.

Live casinos in Nova Scotia

The two live casinos are run by the state via the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. They are the Nova Scotia Casinos in Halifax and Sydney. The Halifax Casino is the biggest. This is mid-sized when measured against casinos in Québec, Ontario, and other provinces with big populations.

Casino Nova Scotia Halifax

  • Address: 1983 Upper Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 3Y5, Canada
  • Opening Hours: 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.

With more than 650 slot terminals and 32 casino tables, the Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax is the biggest casino in the Atlantic provinces. Gaming options include a dedicated high-limit gambling area, plus a separate poker room with 8 tables. Slots include classics from all the major providers, many with progressive jackpots. These are combined with a smaller selection of the newest titles.

You will find dining and entertainment options including a buffet, restaurant, and event centre. Live bands and shows are hosted here. While there is no official ‘on-site’ hotel, this casino is connected by a covered walkway to the Marriott hotel next door.

A player’s club loyalty scheme is shared between this casino and the one in Sydney. This rewards regular players with free play, discounts, and access to draws and promotions.

Casino Nova Scotia Sydney

  • Address: 525 George St, Sydney, NS B1P 1K5, Canada
  • Opening Hours: 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.

This mid-sized casino has more than 270 slots and electronic games, plus 8 table games. You will also find a small (4 table) poker room on site. Slots include jackpot games from the biggest providers, plus video poker options. Tables are limited to the most popular format. You will find blackjack games, roulette, and the ‘let it ride’ casino poker variant.

There is a single dining/bar option – the ‘Junction Bar and Grille’ – which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. You can also enjoy the music hall of fame exhibition at this venue. Separate event and meeting facilities are available for corporate and private events.

Is sports betting legal in Nova Scotia?

You can bet on sports online via the ProLine games via the ALC lottery website. There are four different ways to bet on major Canadian and US sports and limited eSports. National laws that prevent single match wagering mean that you will need to combine at least 2 outcomes to place bets.

Selections can be wins, totals (under/over) or prop bets. There are a lot of prop bets to pick from depending on the sport. They include yards, receptions, first to score, and more.

Other betting options include futures (season-long), daily fantasy sports, and stadium bets.

Nova Scotia poker rooms

There are two live poker rooms in NS. The biggest is at the Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax. This has eight tables and operates until 4 a.m. on Thursdays through Saturday. There are usually multiple NL Hold’em cash games ($1/$2 blinds are the smallest), plus the occasional PLO game. The biggest tournament takes place on the 3rd Sunday of each month. This features a $230 buy-in.

The other room has four tables. This is found at the Casino Nova Scotia in Sydney. This is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Action is limited to small stakes, with cash games (NL Hold’em) and smaller buy-in tournaments.

Home games are legal in Nova Scotia. The usual rules that the host cannot make money from the games or charge entry fees/rake apply.

Racetracks and off-track betting in Nova Scotia

Truro racetrack and Northsides Downs provide regular live racing in this province. They host harness and standardbred racing in the summer months. No thoroughbred racing takes place in Nova Scotia. You can also enjoy simulcast betting here. This allows bets on races from Canada and the US, via parimutuel pools. There are separate OTB offices in Sydney, Bedford, and elsewhere.

Nova Scotia lottery

NS has joined the other Atlantic provinces to create the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. This provides draws, plus online games. There is a mix of national and local draws available in Nova Scotia. You can play for the biggest jackpots or try instant games. When you play lottery or casino games via ALC.ca, you will know that money raised will go to support causes in NS and the other Atlantic provinces.

Here are the biggest lottery draws in Nova Scotia:

  • Lotto Max: This is the biggest national draw. It takes place each Tuesday and Friday. The winner will need to match 7 main numbers and 1 bonus number. This jackpot starts at $10 million, if it reaches $50 million, then additional ‘MaxMillions’ prizes are distributed.
  • Lotto 6/49: This game also has a life-changing jackpot. It starts at $5 million, with at least one $1 million prize guaranteed on every drawing. Draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday. There is a separate 6/49 for only the Atlantic provinces. This one has a jackpot that starts at $1 million.
  • Daily Grand: You could win $1,000 per day for the rest of your life with this lottery draw. It takes place every Monday and Thursday, using the standard 6 numbers from 49 formats. A side game, called ‘TAG’ is only available in Atlantic Canada. This is costs $1 extra – and gives you additional winning chances.
  • Hit or Miss: This draw takes place every day. It gives you two chances to win. First, you can win up to $25,000 instantly. The same tickets are then entered into the nightly drawing. This awards a huge $250,000 top prize.
  • Salsa Bingo: This is a hybrid bingo and lottery draw game. It takes place every day, with a jackpot that starts at $10,000 and grows until it is won. You can buy the additional ‘TAG’ ticket via the ALC site for extra winning chances.

Funds raised by the NS lottery are distributed by the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. There are large sums raised, with more than $136 million distributed in the latest tax year. Three funds split the money. These support sports, culture, and community initiatives. Examples of good causes helped include the construction of schools, road repairs, and healthcare grants.

Bingo and charity gambling in Nova Scotia

There is a licensing process for bingo, raffle, and break-open games for charities and religious organizations in NS. There are two tiers, one for prizes of less than $2,500 (yearly under $30,000) and a separate tier for bigger prizes. One-off fundraiser raffles and lotteries can be licensed with prizes under $4,000.

Bingo halls and entertainment complexes can be found throughout the province. Some of them include a few VLTs or slots.

Online gambling in Nova Scotia

The ALC.ca gambling portal provides multiple ways to gamble online. Here are the main options:

  • Lottery draws: You can purchase tickets for the major draws with options to buy tickets for weeks in advance. Second chance games and instant lottery games can also be enjoyed online.
  • Casino games: There are real money slots and casino table games available via the ALC portal. They include huge progressive jackpots – for example, the MegaJackpots pool which covers IGT slots.
  • Sports betting: ProLine betting on two or more matches can be accessed online. There are also daily fantasy sports games and futures betting options.
  • iBingo: Instant bingo-style games can be accessed through the Atlantic Lottery portal.

Wrapping up: Gambling in Nova Scotia

While there are only two commercial casinos in Nova Scotia, residents do enjoy the freedom to gamble in a lot of different ways. The biggest casino is in Halifax, this is owned and operated by the provincial government via the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. There is a smaller site in Sydney.

NS is part of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. As well as administering the lottery, this crown corporation runs an online gambling portal. You can enjoy casino games, slots, and more – as well as buy lottery tickets online. Add to this sports betting on multiple matches, poker games, horse racing bets, and bingo – and you will find that NS residents have a full range of gambling options available to them.

Nova Scotia Gambling: FAQ

Is online gambling legal in Nova Scotia?

Yes. The ALC portal has casino games, slots, bingo, sports betting, and instant lottery-style games available. This is run by the Atlantic provinces, with profits staying in the region.

Will Nova Scotia ever regulate online gambling similar to the US?

There are no current bills or discussions on licensing online gambling in Nova Scotia.

How old do you have to be to gambling in NS?

The legal gambling age is 19.

Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?

No. Nova Scotia makes the same distinction as all the provinces – that you only need to pay taxes on gambling winnings if you are a professional player. This would apply to sports bettors or poker players that play for a living. No taxes are payable for one-off wins or jackpots (for example on slots or the lottery).

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