How Online Casinos are Regulated?

Author: Cecilia Mwangi | Updated: June 11, 2024

The gambling industry is a huge business worldwide. Generally, it is considered illegal for sportsbooks and casinos to operate online in Canada. However, Canadians can legally play on offshore online casinos. 

Originally, the Canadian government used the Criminal Code to control gambling. However, that changed in 1985 when the federal and provincial governments agreed to allow provinces to have their own regulations regarding online and land based casinos, except for horse racing.

Online gambling in Canada has become a huge thing and more people are heading online to play their favorite casino games. Due to the increased interest, more online gambling sites continue to crop up each day.

Learn everything about regulated online gambling in Canada here.

What Are the Gambling Laws in Canada?

The Canadian Criminal Code was enacted in 1892, and it included gambling statutes, which were tolerated under specific conditions but not permitted. However, in 1910, that section of the Criminal Code got amended to allow horse racing betting. 

Also, some other games of chance were also allowed for religious and charitable purposes. In 1900s, gambling became more accepted in Canada. The Canadian gaming control act was put in place to create an independent commission that controls and regulates gaming activities in each province with the aim of ensuring honest gaming activity conducted with integrity and in the public interest.

Today, the gambling industry and gambling regulation in Canada is overseen by the Canadian Gaming Commission. However, any laws regarding online gambling, casinos, and sports betting are enforced and enacted by individual provinces. Regulations on gambling ensure that the public or government collect revenue from the gambling industry, no criminal activities arise from gambling, and it enforces responsible gambling

Gambling Laws in Different Canadian Provinces 

There is no central regulation for gambling laws in Canada. Instead, it is the job of the provinces to regulate both land based and online casinos. Therefore, various laws depend on the territory, and each gambling law in Canada is managed by a provincial government. Some provinces are more lenient when it comes to gambling than others.

Alberta: In Alberta, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission regulates all gambling. There is only one official online casino known as PlayAlberta that offers both sports betting and casino games. Although there are no gambling sites operating in Alberta, players from this province can visit offshore licensed gambling operators. Alberta is also a lotteries corporation member of the Western Canada Lottery Corporation. Check out the best Alberta online casinos.

British Columbia: British Columbia residents can enjoy playing casino games online at PlayNow Casino, a fully licensed and regulated gambling site that is run by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. It is considered one of the oldest online casinos in Canada since it launched in 2004. The casino offers players lotteries, sports betting, and casino games. British Columbia players can also play casino games form other licensed offshore casinos. The province also has 15 land-based casinos. Check out the best British Columbia online casinos.

Ontario: Ontario has proactive gambling infrastructures. Residents can enjoy numerous gambling options, including online and land-based casinos. Ontario released its regulated online gambling market in April 2022, and now offshore online gambling operators can apply for a license from the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission and iGaming Ontario. This allows Ontario casinos to officially operate in the province. Check out the best Ontario online casinos.

Quebec: Over the decades, this province has continued being generous to the gambling market. Since 1970, Quebec has allowed legal gambling games, and the options have increased tremendously. Today, Quebec gambling industry covers lotteries, horse racing, and casinos, including online gambling. Players in Quebec can visit and gamble at any sportsbook or casino licensed in other jurisdictions. Also, the province runs its Espacejeux iGaming service. Check out the best Quebec online casinos.

Other provinces that offer Canadian players gambling options include Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Licenses and Certifications

Any reputable and legal casino should have valid licensed and certifications from reputable licensing bodies. In Canada, casinos require a license to legally run any gambling establishment. For online casinos to be legalized in Canada, provincial governments issue them with licenses that subject them to strict regulations.

While a license doesn’t always guarantee players safety, it shows that the casino meets all the required security standards that are set by the local authorities. Some of the top licensing bodies to look out for include:

  • Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC)
  • Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) & iGaming Ontario
  • Regie des alcools, des courses et des jeux & Lotto-Quebec
  • Kahnawake Gaming Commissions (KGC)
  • Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) & BC Lottery Commission

Responsible Gambling in Canada

While gambling can be fun, it can also be a problem for some people who don’t know their limits. That is why casinos are required to provide responsible gambling measures for their players. In Canada authorities such as the AGCO require all online casinos to offer players responsible gambling resources.

Reputable Canadian casinos have dedicated sections for responsible gambling where they provide information on how to recognize signs of problem gambling and how to manage budgets. There are also other tools, including deposit limits, self-exclusion, wager limits, and time limits. Also, legal gambling apps offer players third-party charities and resources that promote safe gambling. 

Are There Any Illegal Online Casinos in Canada?

In Canada, it is prohibited to operate an illegal gambling site within the country. However, there are no explicit laws on offshore casinos, and since Canadians can legally play at offshore casinos, you should look out for illegal sites.

How to Avoid Online Casino Scams

Before signing up at an online casino, read reviews online to see what other people are saying about it. If you see complaints, especially about payouts, avoid such a casino. Also, check for licenses and certificates that show that a casino is legal. Ensure the casino prioritizes security when dealing with its players personal and financial information and transactions. Read more about at our online casinos scams guide.


Most if not all casinos in Canada are regulated by the specific province it operates in. That gives you peace of mind knowing that you are playing at a reputable casino.

Cecilia Mwangi

Cecilia Mwangi

iGaming News Writer

Cecilia is a passionate content writer who specializes in gambling content. With her 10+ years of writing experience and expertise, Cecilia loves sharing her knowledge on gambling and reviewing online casinos to help Canadians gamble safely at reputable online casinos. When she is not on her keyboard cooking up a storm with words, Cecilia loves playing online slots, traveling, reading, and spending quality time with her family.


Last Updated: June 11, 2024 isn't liable for any financial losses from using the information on the site. Before doing any gambling activity, you must review and accept the terms and conditions of the respective online casino before creating an account.

Canadian Gambling Helpline (1-866-531-2600). Canadian Gambling Commission (416.304.7800).

Copyright 2024, All Right Reserved. Casino Canuck