The online gambling industry in Canada is so big that it is hitting around CA$13 billion a year. The size of the industry has resulted in the government stepping in to impose restrictions and implementing policies in order to regulate it. Gambling laws in Canada have gained a reputation for strictness, and these have only been relaxed very recently.
KGC Keeps Things in Check
The lax quality characterising the laws of late was brought on by the revisions added to the Criminal Code of the 1970s, and these are still under the review of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC).
Even a basic perusal of the gambling laws Canada has in place reveals that they have traditionally been severe, with only limited gambling permitted by the government. A reformation of the 1970s Criminal Code paved the way for a number of changes, and this was accomplished by giving Canadian provinces the right to license and regulate gambling activity within their own territories.
This resulted in a the industry enjoying a boom, with casinos opening countrywide. It also marked the start of certain state-sponsored lotteries that are still in operation. The 1970s liberalisation also saw a spurt in growth of permitted sports betting centers nationwide, and Sports Select is one of the predecessors of the whole idea of legalised gambling.
Online Gambling Laws
Things are more complicated when it comes to internet-based gambling. It should be noted that many Canadian provinces run their own online casinos, and a lot of the wagering outlets that enjoy government approval also offer online betting facilities to punters. Canadians are also able to buy lottery tickets online, and most of these stipulations can be found in the Canadian Criminal Code, Part VII, with exceptions in section 207.
It is not lawful to partake in the provision of internet-based gambling services without the prior approval and licensing of the Canadian government, and there is a real grey question related to overseas operators offering online gambling services to players located in Canada.
A number of compelling contentions indicate that this sort of gambling is not illegal, and falls perfectly within the boundaries of Canadian law. It is only the provincial governments who have the right to organise and control lotteries, which brings a paradoxical element into the argument.
How the Laws Affect You
As the law currently stands, the only piece of legislation that may cause problems for Canadian citizens who visit and play games at online casinos is that they need to ensure that they are not caught doing so at an illegal site. The implication seems to be that it isn’t gambling per say that is the problem, as long you stick to gambling houses under the control of the Canadian government.