The Current Gambling Laws in The US and Canada

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Las Vegas, the city of colors, the city of night life and the ultimate playground for those willing to risk it all.

For many a hobby, for others a way to escape reality, gambling has been one of the oldest games people chose when they want to try their luck. There are risks, sure! But there can be also rewards if you played on your lucky day. 

But is the gambling sphere in the other US states as vibrant and vast as in Las Vegas, Nevada? What about Canada? What are the rules and regulations? Let’s find out!

This article was written by, where you can always check the ranking of the best online casinos.

Gambling laws in Canada

As of today, gambling is legal in Canada, but that wasn’t the case until the year of 1985. Land-based casinos are legal, but when it comes to online gambling you might discover that this category falls into a grey legal zone.

It is not officially prohibited, but in order for a casino owner to develop an online platform, he has to request a special license issued by the government, but the government won’t issue such licenses. We can say that online gambling is theoretically legal, but practically hard to accomplish. 

Every Canadian province has the right to decide what is and what is not legal concerning gambling. For example:

Quebec, Canada

You have to be at least 18 years old in order to legally gamble.

Land-based casinos are also legal in Quebec, providing the possibility to play games such as Poker, Blackjack or Roulette. Places where you can play Slot Machines games or Bingo, are also very easy to find.

The only form of online casino you can find in Quebec is Espacejeux, which is regulated by the Quebec Alcohol, Racing and Gaming Commission.

Alberta, Canada

Alberta is very similar to Quebec, the minimum legal age for gambling is 18. 

Alberta has assumed the so-called Charitable Model of Regulation. A big percentage of the gambling proceeds being directed towards funding thousands of charitable organizations.

Online gambling is legal in this province.

Ontario, Canada

The legal age for gambling is 19 (same for all the provinces apart from Quebec and Alberta), with very relaxed gambling laws. The city has to offer about 24 casinos and slot-machine venues.

Those are just a few Canadian provinces and their laws concerning gambling. In conclusion, land-based gambling is legal in Canada, but online gambling is falling into a grey legal zone. In some provinces there are casino-style online platforms that are regulated by the government, but in others online gambling is completely prohibited and therefore, many gambling lovers choose to use offshore websites in order to entertain their hobby. 

Can Canadians gamble in the United States?

They sure can! But for the ones that are lucky enough to win by playing games at any United States casino, there is the possibility of being subjected to a tax withheld up to 30% from your winnings. 

Gambling laws in USA 

The legal minimum age necessary varies between 18 and 21 years old, depending on the state and on the game that is being played.

At the moment, in United States, gambling laws seem to be harsher than the ones in Canada, casino-style gambling being illegal in most states.

Short history of gambling laws in US

  • 1910: Gambling is deemed as illegal in US.
  • 1930: 21 states reinstate as legal (charity) Bingo and Race Tracks.
  • 1931: Nevada was the first state to reinstate gambling as legal. 
  • 1963: First lottery drawing is held in New Hampshire.
  • 1978: New Jersey becomes the second state with casinos, after Nevada.
  • 1988: First national lottery is created, and it goes by the name of “Lotto America”.
  • 1996: True casinos are legalized in 25 states.

Louisiana and Nevada, the only two states where casino-style gambling is allowed statewide. 

Today, about 30 states offer some kind of legal gambling, out of which, only 18 have commercial casinos.

Regulation and Taxation 

When playing in an online casino, there is a major difference between Americans and Canadians.

While Canadians can enjoy the entire amount won when gambling online, Americans have to keep in mind that 24% of their winnings will be redirected to the taxes system automatically, the casino operator being obliged to fill up Form W-25, to notify the authorities.

In conclusion, despite being in US or Canada, it is always recommended to first check the gambling laws and regulations that might apply to the state or province of your residence.

Happy winning!

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