Legal Gray Areas in Canadian Gambling Laws

The laws surrounding online gambling for Canadians is rather ambiguous, but what exactly does that mean for the average online gambler? Should Canadians be worried about having police teams crashing into their home if they do decide to engage in online gambling? The most direct answer to that is no, but taking a closer look at the law yields some much more complicated answers.

In recent years we’ve seen that the law can have trouble catching up to new advances in technology, such as file sharing, Uber, or the other numerous new legal areas brought to us by the internet. Online gambling also falls into this group, as the first online gambling website opened up within just the past few decades.

gambling in Canada falls under the jurisdiction of each providence

Current Gambling Laws in Canada

In current law, gambling in Canada falls under the jurisdiction of each providence. This is very clear, but what isn’t clear is when gambling is conducted over the internet in ways that aren’t really defined by provincial boundaries. There are countless online websites located in places like Cyprus, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man. In these places, gambling laws are very lax with their respective governments welcoming the prospective revenue with open arms.

 

Should Individual Gamblers be Worried?

While it may be legal in their home country, the legality of these operators allowing Canadians to gamble can be another issue. Some lawyers have looked at the laws and concluded that the Canadian Criminal Code doesn’t have anything in it that would make it illegal for Canadian gamblers to use these sites. Any illegality would fall on the offshore gambling operators themselves, since they would be the ones conducting their business in Canada.

So far, the RCMP hasn’t actually brought any cases forward against gambling operators working offshore, but it is a possibility that this could happen in the future, given the state of Canadian law. Luckily, this means that it’s the operators that may possibly get into trouble and that the average gambler in Canada doesn’t have anything to worry about.