Skip to content

Gambling in Canada

Since ancient times, governments and administrations have viewed gambling and games of chance as a source of revenue. In Canada, online gambling sites are very popular, and many users take advantage of them. We will therefore study this phenomenon.

In Canada and Quebec

In New France, gambling was prohibited by regulation as early as 1648. At the time, it was felt that “if it were suffered in any exceeds, it could cause the ruin of families. However, special authorizations were issued to allow the sale of certain goods, help the poor, or finance large-scale projects or charitable institutions. Thus, in 1732 and 1733, a dozen lotteries were created. 

On March 14, 1934, the Quebec government submitted a bill to the Legislative Assembly whose title clearly indicated its purpose. The bill was tabled in the House of Commons under the title of “An Act to authorize a lottery organization for educational and public assistance purposes”. The vote was unanimous and historic. It did not, however, put an end to the proliferation of projects of all kinds.

The virtual era

The second important change of the 20th century is the appearance of the Internet in the late 1990s, and this new adventure multiplies the number and variations of online betting and gambling.

To find the first trace of an online casino, we must go back to 1994. Then, at the initiative of British developers, such a project was born for the first time, but its realization will take place far from London. Indeed, for legislative reasons, the developers chose to launch this first online casino in Canada and, more precisely, in Kahnawake, an autonomous Indian reserve in the heart of Quebec that offered all the guarantees for developing such a project. Called Gaming Club, the first online casino in history allowed those who wanted to play casino games on the Internet to pay by credit card or bank transfer. However, while this casino was undoubtedly a pioneer, it had a very limited offering, with only one American roulette game, one blackjack table and three basic slot machines to play with.

Everything started to develop with the appearance of the first online gambling software developed by Microgaming and downloadable via CD ROM at the time. Four years later, the first jackpot appeared: the Cash Splash slot machine. Then everything went very fast. The same year already Planet Poker started the first online poker site. In the same year, 700 real money online casinos were launched on the web. One of the giant developers, Java, then totally revolutionized the world of online games with the invention of instant play.

Each province has a certain autonomy

Each province in Canada can indeed manage its policy on this point independently of the others and can even create its own casinos or online gambling rooms. This legislation has been in place in Canada since 2010 and not only allows citizens to gamble legally while limiting the risk of scams but also ensures that the winnings generated by online gambling sites come back to the provinces instead of being sent abroad.

Who issues licenses for online casinos?

Every legal casino, whether land-based or online, must have a gaming license in its possession. Various independent licensing authorities issue gaming licenses. These are federal governments that have enacted legislation that gives them the right to regulate and authorize online gaming operations. Trusted independent regulatory authorities can provide gaming licenses:

  • Malta Gaming Authority
  • UK Gambling Commission
  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Curacao eGaming
  • Gibraltar Gambling Commission
Gambling Commission
Malta Gaming Authority