There are a multitude of online casinos, poker sites, and various other gaming entities, which allow residents of Canada to access their favourite products. Online gambling in the country is considered to be one of the legal ‘grey areas’, so to speak, with the legality of such really depending upon who you ask. The law does state that it is illegal to conduct online gambling operations that are based within the nation’s borders, however, many will argue that if the platform is based overseas, there aren’t any laws being broken. Until now, the government has never made any cases against offshore betting providers.
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In Canada, gaming is essentially regulated exclusively by the provinces rather than any kind of federal law. Of these, there are five separate regulatory agencies, which are:
- British Columbia Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch
- Kahnawake Gaming Commission
- Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority
- Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission
- Quebec Régie des Alcools des Courses et des Jeux
Therefore, each of these provinces has a slightly different approach towards licensing and regulations for gambling to take place in their borders.
- In British Columbia, to obtain a licence, the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch website lays out details of the various different licences offered for the various different games. Their licences are split across Ticket Raffles, Poker, Independent Bingos, Wheels of Fortune and Social Occasion Casinos. A licence needs to be obtained prior to a gaming event taking place or an establishment being set up, and there are three licence applications that can be attained, which depends upon the expected gross revenue of the games offered:
- Class A Licence – More than $20,000 in gross revenue
- Class B Licence – $20,000 or less in gross revenue
- Class D Licence – $5,000 or less in gross revenue
- The Kahnawake Gaming Commission provides licences for both land-based and interactive gaming, with poker forms and raffles forms being available for the land-based establishments, and various different options being available for the interactive side of things. Regulations for both are in place to ensure lawful basis for the control of such gaming, to ensure that all gaming is conducted responsibly, fairly and honestly, and to prevent the sector being associated with crime in any way.
- The three remaining regulatory agencies all work in a very similar way, providing licences for both alcohol and gaming. As it pertains to the gaming side of things, there are a few different licences available, which are separated into Bingo Lottery, Breakopen Ticket, Casino Registration, Games of Chance Lottery, Ticket Lottery Permit, Ticket Lottery Licence and Video Lottery Terminal Registration.