Originally Posted by Yonge
I'm very interested in doing online poker and sports betting but I don't know if it's allowed here in Canada. Some say it is, some say it's not, some say it's in a legal "gray area". Does anyone know anything about this?
I saw this on a web site, so I don't know how accurate this is. But it appears that it depends on the law of your province, and that many provinces are pretty liberal in their regulation
See below (in bold):
Economic Justice, The Gambling Economy
[ 4. Gambling and the Law in Canada ]
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The Criminal Code treats gambling as "inherently criminal in nature." Gambling has been prohibited in Canada since 1892, when the Criminal Code was passed (Article 205). Eight years later, the Supreme Court of Canada determined that gambling was exclusively a matter of the criminal law and therefore a matter for federal regulation.
The current boom in gambling in Canada depends on exemptions in the Criminal Code, which allow for legal gambling under certain circumstances. In 1969 the Criminal Code was amended to permit certain exemptions to the ban on gambling. Those exemptions allow groups to run lotteries on a limited basis, as long as they contribute to the public good. Table 1 below indicates the exemptions.
Exemptions to the prohibition on gambling in Canada, according to the Criminal Code
Lawful sponsor Gambling activities permitted for sponsor Restrictions
Federal government Pari-mutuel betting on horse races
Provincial governments Lottery schemes, Electronic gambling (computer, slot machine, video lottery terminal (VLT) May conduct and manage lottery schemes, alone or with other provinces. Exclusive right to operate electronic gambling.
Charitable groups or religious organizations Bingo, raffles, break-open tickets (Nevada), Monte Carlo events (table games and wheels of fortune) Licensed charity must conduct and manage. No electronic (i.e. computer, slot machine, VLT)
Agricultural fairs Lottery schemes Lottery schemes Board is licensed to conduct and manage. No electronic
Group or person to whom province issues permit Lottery scheme in public place of amusement Bets are limited to $2 each, with prizes limited to $500.
In 1985 the provinces and the federal government agreed to leave the regulation of gambling to the provinces. In return the provinces agreed to pay the federal government a share of the proceeds ($49 million in 1995). The 1985 decision "marked a pronounced shift in the legal attitude toward gambling in Canada, as gaming was considered to have both criminal (federal) and commercial (provincial) aspects."6
These apparently minor changes mean that in Canada today control over gambling has been left almost exclusively to the provinces. This creates a serious conflict of interest because both regulation and interpretation of exemptions are left in the hands of provincial and territorial governments.
The boom in gambling in Canada -- despite the Criminal Code -- is a result of very aggressive interpretations of the exemptions, backed by provincial legislation. In many provinces, there is no comprehensive gambling legislation. As a result, gambling expansion is frequently imposed by administrative decree and without adequate consultation or assessment of the social, economic, and legal impact.
6. "Place Your Bets! On Gambling, Government and Society: Lessons for British Columbia." Michael and Julie Seelig, School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia. Vancouver: February 1997, p. 3.