Land-Based Casino Games in Canada – An Overview

Despite the insidious incursions of online casinos in Canada, land-based gambling remains widely popular. And despite the talk of regulatory ‘grey areas’ and such like, it’s also perfectly legal in most provinces too. Well, thanks to the Criminal Code of Canada, which permits Provincial Governments to manage their own gambling laws. As a result, Canucks are offered a pretty decent array of gambling games.

Land-Based Casino Games in Canada – An Overview

Land-based casinos

Although Canada lags behind the UK in terms of sheer numbers, land-based Canadian casino games can be found across the country, from British Columbia to Yukon. The majority are either charitable or private operations with a handful owned by the Government. The oldest establishment is Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall in Dawson City, Yukon which opened in 1971. It remains the only casino games that allow patrons to gamble and drink alcohol.

Canadian lotteries

Following an amendment to the Criminal Code in 1969, lotteries were eventually legalised in Canada. Presently, there are three national lotteries in Canada: Lotto Super 7, Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49. These are managed by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation which is a consortium of the five regional lottery authorities which are:

  • Atlantic Lottery Corporation
  • British Columbia Lottery Corporation
  • Loto-Quebec
  • Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
  • Western Canada Lottery Corporation

Racecourses and race tracks

Racecourses and race tracks are almost as widespread as casino games in Canada, with the harness and thoroughbred racing proving particularly popular. The most prestigious races are the Canadian Triple Crown meetings which comprise the Queen’s Plate, the Prince of Wales Stakes and the Breeder’s Stakes. Horse race betting has been legal in Canada since 1969 and is governed by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency as opposed to the Criminal Code.

Sports betting

Sports betting laws are governed by governments on both the federal and provincial level. The Criminal Code currently allows for sports betting provided that bets are made on three or more games in an accumulator. Single match wagering is not allowed at present although many commentators suggest that this particular regulation will soon be changed. Most provinces require bettors to be at least 19 years of age as is the case with online casino gambling. The only exceptions are Alberta and Manitoba where the legal age is set at 18.

Canadian Bingo

​Canada has its very own blue-rinse brigade as well, thanks to the enormous popularity of bingo. Although bingo halls up and down the country are facing stiff competition from their online counterparts, the traditional game is alive and well. The usual versions are available including 90 and 75-ball games. Under the Criminal Code, bingo is considered a type of lottery game. As such, provinces are allowed to create and manage their own regulations pertaining to this classic gambling game.

Traditional casino games

For some reason, traditional casino games fall under the ‘lottery scheme’ definition as per the Criminal Code, which means that it’s down to the provinces to govern and regulate games.

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Author: Adrienne

Posted On: 23/08/2019

Land-Based Casino Games in Canada – An Overview
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