Legal Gambling Age in Canada
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Legal Gambling Age in Canada

Legal Gambling Age in Canada

Gambling is exciting and a whole lot of fun. It also is an activity that you must engage in responsibly. This is why countries and municipalities around the world set laws governing the practice of gambling. One of these laws that appears in many countries is a set, legal age where it is legal to gamble.

These age requirements for gambling vary around the world. Some countries, like Andorra, have no age requirements at all. Other countries, like Qatar, make all forms of gambling legal. There is even an example of a country, Afghanistan, where gambling in-person in the country is illegal but online gambling there has no age restriction.

While you can find several examples of outlier countries like the ones above that take an incredibly strict or incredibly lax approach to gambling, most countries do have some type of age restriction. Depending on the country, the area of the country, and the type of gambling, these age restrictions fall somewhere between 16 and 21 years of age.

What is the legal gambling age in Canada? This is actually a bit of a complicated question because the legal gambling age differs depending on what area of the country you are in. Here we will look at why Canada has a legal gambling age, who makes the decisions about Canada’s legal gambling age, and what these ages are for different types of gambling.

We will also look at the relationship between the legal drinking age and the legal gambling age in Canada as well as where Canadian gamblers can play once they reach legal age. Finally, we will give newly legal gamblers some tips on what the best games to play are when you are first starting out as a gambler.

Why is there a Legal Gambling Age in Canada? 

There are two main reasons why Canada and most countries put a legal gambling age in place. One is that gambling, by definition, takes money. While it is possible for minors to have money of their own, the majority of people do not start making significant money of their own until they reach adulthood which, most agree, happens between the ages of 18 and 21.

The other reason is that gambling is, by its nature, a high-risk activity. Players must understand what they are doing and the consequences of their actions while gambling. Again, most places in the world associate the ability to make these types of decisions on your own around the age of adulthood. Every gambler should also be aware though that gambling can be addictive at any age.

Who Decides the Legal Gambling Age in Canada? 

In most of North and Central America, most countries have national legal gambling ages and that age is 18 in the majority of these countries. There are a few major exceptions to this rule. In Cuba, once a gambling hotspot in the region, gambling has been outlawed since 1959, shortly after Fidel Castro came to power. In the U.S., the federal government leaves the legal gambling age up to the states. Depending on the state, the age restrictions are either 18, 19, or 21.

The third major exception is Canada. Like the United States, Canada leaves the decision on legal gambling age up to the individual provinces and territories. For non-Canadians who may not be familiar with the setup of the country, Canada is divided into 10 provinces:

  • Ontario (ON) – 38.3% of the population
  • Quebec (QC) – 23.2%
  • British Columbia (BC) – 13.2%
  • Alberta (AB) – 11.6%
  • Manitoba (MB) – 3.6%
  • Saskatchewan (SK) – 3.1%
  • Nova Scotia (NS) – 2.6%
  • New Brunswick (NB) – 2.1%
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) – 1.5%
  • Prince Edward Island (PE) – 0.41%

And three territories

  • Northwest Territories (NT) – 0.12%
  • Yukon (YT) – 0.1%
  • Nunavut (NU) – 0.1%

Population data courtesy: 2016 Canadian Census

Each of these municipalities is able to create its own laws regarding what age it is legal to gamble. While the ages are very similar in each of these places, they do vary slightly.

What is the Legal Gambling Age in Canada? 

The short answer to this question is that the legal gambling age in Canada is either 18 or 19-years-old, depending on where you are. However, in some of these areas, they also make a distinction between casino gambling and gambling with lotteries.

Casino Gambling

In most of Canada, the legal age for casino gambling is 19. However, there are three provinces where this is not the case. In Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, it is legal to gamble in casinos at the age of 18. These casino rules were initially put in place to govern land-based casinos but now apply to online casinos as well.


The legal ages for participating in lotteries in Canada is the reverse of the casino gambling age restrictions. In most Canadian locations, the legal age for lotteries is 18. In five provinces though, the age for lotteries corresponds with the casino gambling age of 19. These provinces are British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.

Is the Legal Gambling Age and the Legal Drinking Age the Same in Canada?

Gambling and drinking alcohol are linked in several ways. These are both activities that are fun when done in moderation and also come with a certain amount of required personal responsibility. Because of this, both these activities have legal age minimums associated with them. The other reason that these activities are often linked is that many people like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage when they are in a casino or gambling online. 

For these reasons, the legal drinking and the legal gambling age in Canada are linked. In each province and territory, the legal drinking age is the same as the legal casino gambling age. This means that, in most of the country, the legal drinking age is 19. Just like the legal gambling age though, you can legally possess and drink alcohol at the age of 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec.

Where Can Legal Gamblers Play in Canada? 

Once you reach 18 or 19 (depending on where you are) in Canada, you are able to gamble legally. In order to place a bet on a game, you first need to find a casino. Finding a casino is not a difficult tax in the Great White North. You have many options but most fall into one of two categories. You can either gamble in-person at a land-based casino or from the comfort of your own home (or anywhere else with an internet connection) at an online casino.

Land-based Casinos

There are over 80 land-based casinos in Canada spread throughout its 10 provinces and three territories. There are more than thirty additional gambling facilities in the country that offer some type of electronic or video gambling. Canada has casinos of all shapes and sizes. Some are operated by corporations while more than a dozen of them are located on First Nations reservations and run by First Nations tribes. Some of the largest and most popular casinos in Canada include:

  • Casino de Montreal – Quebec
  • Casino Niagara – Ontario
  • River Rock Casino Resort – British Columbia
  • River Cree Resort and Casino – Alberta
  • Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino – Ontario
  • Hard Rock Casino Vancouver – British Columbia
  • Casino Rama Resort – Ontario
  • Elements Casino Brantford – Ontario
  • Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort - Ontario
  • St Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies – British Columbia

Online Casinos

If you are of legal gambling age in Canada and can’t or don’t want to visit a land-based casino, there are still plenty of gambling options for you. Online casinos are huge in Canada and growing more popular all the time. There are hundreds of online casinos that allow Canadian players, accept Canadian money, and are available to Canadians in both English or French. These online casinos offer players a wide range of casino games that are available to Canadian players 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

In addition to the convenience factor, online casinos offer Canadian players a few things that land-based casinos don’t. First, players can get great bonuses and promotions at an online casino. These range from free plays or spins to bonuses when you make your first deposit.

Also, online casinos give young players a wide range of game options you won’t have wait to wait to get a seat at the table to the machine. At land-based casinos, players may not be able to play certain games or at certain limits because of the physical limitations of the games. Online, this isn’t a problem, and players can play whatever they want and switch games as much as they want.

Playing in a Canadian online casino isn’t quite as easy as playing in a land-based casino – where all you have to do is walk in and maybe show ID – but it isn’t difficult by any means. Most sites require you to verify your age and identity before you start playing but that is usually a quick and easy process. From there, you load your account with money through one of the various methods the casino allows and start playing. It’s a simple as that.

What are the Best Games for Legal Canadian Gamblers to Play? 

When you finally turn 18 or 19 and it is legal for you to gamble in Canada, there are several games that you may want to consider playing first. There are other games that may be more difficult for beginners. Here are the best games for young gamblers and some that you may want to stay away from at first. 


Online slot games and land-based slot machines are a great way for beginners to start gambling in casinos. These games a very simple to learn yet they are fun and engaging enough to keep your attention for hours. Also, there is a chance to win big money without spending years learning a game. Today, there are all types of slot games available to play as well. You have 3-reel, 5-reel, video, progressive jackpot, and more. If you are new to the world of casino gambling, playing the slots is the perfect place to start.


Blackjack is a relatively simple game that players can pick up easily. Get closer than the dealer to 21 without going over and you’re a winner! Yes, there is some more advanced strategy that you can pick up and use as you play more often but, at its heart, the game is simple and a whole lot of fun. Even a Canadian gambler that just turned 18 or 19 should be able to pick up blackjack very quickly.


Many people were inspired to play poker thanks to the poker boom of the early 2000s. Now, you can find it at almost any land-based or online casino in the world. There are even entire online gambling sites dedicated specifically to the game. In fact, the biggest one of these sites in the world, PokerStars, was founded by Canadian Isai Scheinberg. The game is a little more complicated than blackjack but with a little pre-work, beginners can pick it up quite easily and become very good players.

Games that may be difficult for new players

Not all casino games are meant for players who have just reached the legal gambling age in Canada. Unless you have studied or practiced a good deal, there are several games that beginners probably want to stay away from because of how complicated they are. Games like craps and baccarat are very popular and very enjoyable but they may take longer to learn. If you are a new gambler who wants to pick one of these games up, you probably want to play online first to get the hang of it before you walk up to a table at a land-based casino.


The legal gambling age in Canada is 18 or 19 depending on where you are and what type of gambling you are engaging in. This is because, in Canada, the decision on setting the legal gambling age is left up to the individual provinces and territories. Also, it is tied to the legal drinking age in each of these places. 

Once you reach the legal gambling age in Canada, there are many different places you can place your bets. You can gamble in one of the dozens of land-based casinos located in Canada or at one of the hundreds of online casinos that accept Canadian players. Good luck! 

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