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A Detailed Guide on Gambling Taxes in Canada

Posted on: March 7, 2024. Last updated on: March 7, 2024 gambling tax canada

Playing casino games online is thrilling, especially when there’s a chance to win big. But there’s a practical question we need to think about: Do we have to pay taxes on the money we win at online casinos in Canada?

Understanding how taxes work on your casino winnings is important, especially for Canadians who love playing games online. This article will break down the details about gambling winnings and taxes in Canada, focusing on what it means for the Canadian online casino player. Let’s take a closer look at how taxes come into play in this exciting virtual world.

Understanding Gambling Winnings in Canada

In Canada, gambling winnings mean any money or prizes you get from playing games where luck is involved. This includes winning at casinos, betting on sports, playing the lottery, or even scratching off a winning ticket. So, whether you hit the jackpot on a slot machine, make a successful sports bet, or win some cash from a lottery ticket, all these count as gambling winnings in Canada and are subject to the country’s tax rules.

Types of Gambling In Canada

Gambling comes in different shapes and sizes in Canada, offering a variety of ways to try your luck and potentially win some cash. Here’s a quick breakdown of the main types:

  • Casino Games: In casinos, you can play various games like slot machines, poker, blackjack, roulette, and more. Winning in any of these games means you’ve scored casino winnings;
  • Sports Betting: If you’re into sports, you can bet on outcomes like who will win a game, the final score, or other predictions. If your bet is right, you can win money, which falls under sports betting winnings;
  • Lottery: Lotteries involve buying tickets with numbers, and if your numbers match the ones drawn, you can win prizes or cash. This is another form of gambling, known as lottery winnings;
  • Scratch Tickets: These are instant-win tickets where you scratch off a coating to reveal if you’ve won a prize. Any money or prize you get from scratch tickets is considered a form of gambling winnings;
  • Bingo and Raffles: Participating in games like bingo or raffles where you buy tickets for a chance to win prizes also falls into the category of gambling.

Understanding How Gambling Taxes in Canada Work

In Canada, everyone has to follow certain rules when it comes to taxes. These rules cover different types of money you might earn. Let’s break it down:

Employment Income

When you work a job and get paid, that’s called employment income. It could be your salary or wages. The government collects taxes from this income, and your employer usually takes care of that by deducting it from your paychecks.

Investment Income

If you make money from your investments, like stocks or bonds, that’s called investment income. This could be from dividends or selling an investment for a profit. You need to report this income to the tax people, and they might take a bit of it as taxes.

Gambling Winnings

Now, when it comes to gambling winnings, it’s a bit different. Usually, the money you win from playing games, betting on sports, or winning the lottery isn’t taxed in Canada. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) generally doesn’t see it as money you need to pay taxes on. So, if you strike luck and win big at the casino or score with a winning lottery ticket, you usually get to keep all your winnings.

Taxation of Gambling Winnings

When it comes to the money you win from online gambling in Canada, here’s the good news – most of the time, you don’t have to worry about paying taxes on those winnings. The government generally doesn’t see your casino or lottery wins as something they want a piece of.

So, in simpler terms, if you hit the jackpot at the casino or score a big lottery prize, you get to keep all of that money. It’s like a bonus for your luck, and the tax people usually leave it alone.

However, it’s wise to know about some exceptions. In very specific cases, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) might take a closer look. For instance, if gambling is your main way of making money, like being a professional poker player, the rules can be a bit different. But for most people who gamble for fun and not as a job, the winnings remain tax-free.

Remember, these exceptions are rare, and for the everyday Canadian enjoying a bit of luck at the casino or with a lottery ticket, the winnings are typically yours to celebrate without worrying about sharing them with the tax office.

Should Canadian Players Report Their Winnings?

Even though most gambling winnings in Canada are not taxed, the government still wants to know about them. So, it’s important to keep track of how much you win. However, you don’t have to panic – there’s no special tax form just for reporting your casino or lottery wins. What’s crucial, though, is to keep accurate records of your gambling activities. Note down your wins and losses because if the tax folks ever have questions, you’ll have the answers. It’s like keeping a scorecard of your gaming adventures.

When it comes time to report your income to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you generally won’t need fancy paperwork. However, having clear records will make the process smoother if the CRA ever wants to check. So, remember to hold onto things like receipts, tickets, or any other proof of your wins and losses.

Gambling Tax for Professional Gamblers

For the majority of Canadians enjoying the occasional spin at the slots or a lucky lottery ticket, these professional rules don’t apply. So, for the casual gambler, it’s all about enjoying the winnings without worrying about complex tax implications. However, if you’re someone who makes a living by gambling, like a professional poker player, things can be a bit different.

The CRA might consider you a professional gambler if gambling is your main source of income. If you fall into this professional category, there could be additional tax obligations. The rules might not be as straightforward, and you may have to deal with different tax considerations. Read more about professional gambling and all that it entails to learn more about taxes on winnings for those who gamble professionally.


In conclusion, for Canadian online casino players, the good news is that most gambling winnings are generally not taxed. Whether you’re spinning the slots or holding a winning lottery ticket, you can usually celebrate your wins without worrying about taxes. Just remember to keep track of your wins and losses for record-keeping purposes. If gambling is your primary source of income, additional tax considerations may apply. Stay informed about any changes in tax laws related to gambling in Canada and consult with professionals if needed.


Do you pay tax on gambling winnings in Canada?

No, you generally don’t have to pay taxes on money you win from gambling in Canada. The government considers it a windfall, not regular income.

Are there exceptions to the tax exemption for lottery winnings in Canada?

Usually, lottery winnings are tax-free, but if they generate extra income like interest or dividends, there might be some taxes. It’s best to check with a tax expert for specific situations.

What is the process for reporting casino winnings on tax returns in Canada?

You don’t need to report casino winnings on your taxes in Canada. However, if there’s additional income generated, like interest or dividends, it might need reporting.

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