Gambling in Canada
Gambling has long been a popular pastime in Canada, and is permitted – but regulated – across this massive country’s three territories and ten provinces. Organisations like lotteries, casinos and racetracks must all follow the laws of their respective provinces or territories. Depending on where you are in Canada, there may be different legalities around gambling, and how old one must be in order to participate.
Types of Gambling in Canada
All of the various types of legal gambling in Canada are regulated, with different laws and legalities in place, depending on the region. Examples of legalised gambling include video lottery terminals, ticket lotteries, commercial casino operations, racetracks, slot machines and small bingo halls.
In spite of the various laws surrounding different gambling practices, illegal gambling continues to pose an ongoing challenge to Canadian authorities. These include non-government regulated video gaming, lottery machines, online gambling and private betting houses.
Casino Gambling in Canada
Land-based casinos continue to be very popular in Canada, appealing to locals and visitors alike. There are more than 100 casinos operating across Canada, except for these regions: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Some casinos in Canada, like the Mont-Tremblant and the Manoir Richelieu – both in Quebec – are in picturesque parts of the country, luring plenty of visitors every year for more than just the possibility of winning. Others, such as the Montreal Casino, Caesars, and the Niagara Falls Casino Resort, are massive and flashy Vegas-style organisations, complete with live shows, shopping and restaurants.
Age Requirements for Casinos in Canada
While one would expect the legal gambling age in Canada to be the same across the board, this is not the case. In fact, it depends on the legal drinking age of that region. As such, players need to be at least 19 years old before they are allowed to enter a casino in Canada, except for Quebec, Alberta or Manitoba, where the legal age is 18. These same regulations apply to the entering of restaurants and theatres within those casinos.
Destination and Resort Casinos
There are plenty of resort-style casinos in Canada that are quite popular with visitors to the country. Most of these have on-site accommodation, live shows, shopping centres, restaurants and beautiful surrounds. Some of the most famous ones are listed below.
The aforementioned casino at the Manoir Richelieu in Quebec is situated in a gorgeous riverside hotel with a rich history.
The River Rock Casino Resort is a massive complex, complete with all of the luxuries of a Vegas-style casino, while the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino is situated in the Rocky Mountains. Lake City Casino can be found in the stunning Okanagan Valley, in close proximity to golf courses and wineries.
There are more than 25 casinos in Ontario, with four of them being resorts. Both the Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara are in Niagara Falls, while the Casino Rama is in Orillia (approximately an hour and a half’s drive from Toronto) and Caesar’s is in Windsor.
First Nations Casinos
As is the case with plenty of casinos in the USA, a number of casinos in Canada are operated by tribes, on tribal reserves. First Nations tribes operate a significant number of Canadian casinos that are open to the public, including Casino Rama in Orillia, which is one of the biggest. Plenty of big-name acts have performed live here, including the likes of Carrie Underwood, Diana Ross and Jerry Seinfeld. Plenty of visitors make their way here to try their luck on the slots machines or table games on offer.
A Brief History of Gambling in Canada
In Canada, gambling has become an accepted and prevalent recreational activity. Under the various territorial regulations and legalities, gambling options are available through the likes of private operators (which are licensed by the government and/or people of the First Nations) as well as through charities.
Canada’s widespread acceptance of gambling started in around 1969, which is when the Criminal Code was changed so as to allow the territories and provinces to raise funds for various causes by means of regulated lotteries. Nowadays, these lotteries are a major source of funds for Canada’s territorial and provincial governments, and examples of regulated gambling have grown to include charitable gaming (like bingo), ticket lotteries, horse racing, video lottery terminals, casino-style gambling and more – even if not all forms are available throughout Canada.