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.
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.
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 Quebec, Ontario, and other provinces with big populations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
There is a licensing process for bingo, raffle, and break-open games for charities and religious organisations 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.
The ALC.ca gambling portal provides multiple ways to gamble online. Here are the main options:
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.
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.
There are no current bills or discussions on licensing online gambling in Nova Scotia.
The legal gambling age is 19.
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).