A Complete Guide to the Legal Gambling Age in Canada in 2020
The betting frenzy has taken the world by storm as millions of bettors log in onto online gaming websites placing their wages every day. As more punters go online each day and the ways to bet increase, the industry is moving forward at super speed.
Although this is exciting, it can also create a bit of confusion for new punters and those who don’t know the legal betting age and other betting laws. In this guide, you’ll learn about who is allowed to play on online casinos and the minimum betting age in Canada.
The Canadian Gambling Criminal Code
Between 1892 and 1969, there were no legal casinos in Canada. At that time, it was considered illegal to gamble unless it was raffles, horseracing, or charity lotteries. However, that changed in 1969 when the federal government allowed the provinces to host their lotteries.
According to them, this was a great way to fund several local projects. In 1985, the government devolved all betting responsibility to individual provinces. However, the criminal code didn’t change, which made the issue more confusing.
According to the Canada Criminal Code, it’s considered illegal to operate a betting establishment or be found in one. However, this is an archaic and outdated law that is hard to apply in online betting sites without further clarification.
In 2012, British Colombia established the first-ever fully legitimate Canadian online casino in entire North America. The website features slots, poker, and table games to British Colombia residents only.
Is Gambling Legal in Canada?
In Canada, it’s illegal to run an online gaming site within the country without a proper license. However, as per the Canada Criminal Code, there are no existing laws that address offshore online gaming websites.
There are no laws that target gaming companies that are located offshore, which is why most of them accept Canadian players. Canada is considered a grey betting market since online betting is neither fully legalized nor outlawed.
Canadian Gaming Authorities and Regulators
The 1970 reformed criminal code opened betting and allowed individual provinces in Canada to license and regulate betting in their areas. This led to the rise of various land-based casinos and lotteries that are run by provincial gaming jurisdictions.
One leading licensing authority is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. It’s located in Quebec and was established in 1996 after seeing the potential of online betting. This commission is not bound by Canadian law, and therefore, it has the right to regulate and license offshore online gaming websites.
Although Kahnawake was initially considered to be the most popular licensing authority by older Microgaming brands, it’s no longer the case today. Some e-gaming sites now prefer to be licensed by other jurisdictions such as Gibraltar and Malta.
Are You Old Enough to Gamble in Canada?
In Canada, the average betting age is 19. However, the government determines every betting law in Canadian territories. For example, although the minimum gambling age in Toronto, Ontario, Ottawa, Brampton, Mississauga, London, and Hamilton is 19, in Montreal, residents can start betting at the age of 18. It, therefore, makes a difference where you bet.
In legal terms, you’ll need to be 19 years old to be granted access to most gaming websites in Canada except for those provinces that allow players aged 18 to bet, including Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba.
These Canadian gambling laws also apply to online gaming websites, before you can sign-up, you need to provide proof that you are of minimum legal age before you can take part in gambling activities. So, before signing-up to any Canadian online gaming websites ensure that you have the right documents to prove that you are old enough to bet.
Canadian Gambling Taxes
One common question that Canadian players ask is “will my winnings get taxed?” The answer is no, as long as you aren’t a professional bettor. However, if you are, yours is a different story.
Majority of Canada players believe that betting and lottery winnings are subject to income tax. In part, their assumption is correct. However, for poker winnings, things get more complicated.
As per the Canadian law, poker winnings are subject to tax if they are income from a business. Therefore, it means that winning players might get taxed is they appear to be making a living from their winnings or if they play frequently.
So, when does winning in poker amount to a business? You’ll not find the answer from the income tax act. Also, there isn’t any reported case that explicitly explains when the net player’s winnings are subject to income tax. Only several cases have been reported where individual players were found to be in the betting business. For you to face the income tax liability on your winnings, you have to be extremely active, skilful, and financially successful. The legal difficulty comes in when determining when a player crosses the line from casual betting to betting professionally or as a business.
Types of Gambling in Canada
There are numerous types of legal betting offered, ranging from slot machines, ticket lotteries, and video lottery to commercial gaming website operations and racetracks. Since territories and provinces regulate these types of betting, there are different opportunities for different regions.
Some of the popular games to expect from online gaming websites include blackjack, bingo, horse racing, and lotteries. These gaming websites also offer different wagering requirements and payouts. Look around for reviews to know the best site, sign-up, and start your betting journey.
Proof of Age
Remember that you need to be of legal age, or you will be branded a criminal and land in trouble in the long run. To avoid illegal gaming websites, learn the laws, and always play at regulated and reputable gaming websites.
Whether you walk into land-based casinos or choose to play online, you’ll be needed to provide proof of age. The reason behind this requirement is to show the casino that you are who you claim to be. It also proves that you are of age to gamble.
The proof of age will either be required when registering or when you try to withdraw your winnings. Players get a direct request to provide this information before they can proceed to the next step.