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Guide to Legal Gambling Age in Canada

Posted on: March 7, 2024. Last updated on: March 13, 2024 gambling age canada

Canada boasts a diverse gambling landscape, ranging from traditional casinos to online casino platforms and sports betting. For a nation with a rich gaming culture, it becomes crucial to establish regulations to govern these activities. The establishment of a legal gambling age is pivotal in ensuring the protection of vulnerable individuals, maintaining order in the industry, and fostering responsible gambling behavior. This article delves into the legal framework surrounding gambling in Canada, exploring both federal and provincial dimensions.

Legal Age for Gambling in Canada

In Canada, the legal gambling age is decided by both federal and provincial rules. The Criminal Code of Canada gives the main legal structure, but each province and territory can set specific age requirements. Section 207(4)(b) says provinces and territories can choose their gambling age. While the federal government makes the overall rules, it lets provinces and territories decide the exact age. This leads to differences across the country. For instance, Alberta and Manitoba set the age at 18 for most gambling, but places like Ontario and Quebec require you to be at least 19.

Provincial and Territorial Variances

The legal age for gambling in Canada isn’t the same everywhere. In places like British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Atlantic provinces, you need to be 19 to gamble, following the national rule. Each area has the freedom to decide its own gambling rules. In Ontario, iGaming Ontario has been in charge of online gambling since April 4, 2022. This means licensed online casinos and sportsbooks can operate legally there. If you want to gamble online in Ontario, you must be 19, except for lottery games, where you can play if you’re 18 or older.

Province/TerritoryMajor CitiesLegal Gambling Age
AlbertaCalgary, Edmonton, Red Deer18
British ColumbiaVancouver, Burnaby, Surrey19
ManitobaWinnipeg, Brandon18
New BrunswickMoncton, Saint John, Fredericton19
Newfoundland and LabradorSt. John’s, Corner Brook19
Northwest TerritoriesYellowknife19
Nova ScotiaHalifax, Sydney19
OntarioToronto, Ottawa, London19
Prince Edward IslandCharlottetown, Summerside19
QuebecMontreal, Quebec City, Laval18
SaskatchewanRegina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert19

How Do Online Casinos in Canada Verify Your Age?

In Canada, online casinos check your age when you sign up or before you withdraw money for the first time. This is important to ensure you’re old enough to gamble legally. You usually need to send a copy of your ID, like a passport or driver’s license. Once you send it, the casino checks it within a day to confirm your age.

The most common methods to check the age of players include:

  • Document Verification: Players might need to upload ID documents like a driver’s license or passport during registration. The casino checks these documents to confirm the player’s age.
  • Data Verification: Online casinos may use external services to compare the information provided during registration with databases to verify a player’s age.
  • Geolocation Technology: Online casinos in Canada must use geolocation software to follow the rules and stop players from accessing their platforms in restricted areas. If casinos don’t use this software or don’t follow the rules about player location, they could face penalties, fines, and might lose their gaming license.

More advanced methods include:

  • Selfie Verification: Some platforms ask for a selfie with the player holding their ID to ensure the person registering is the same as the one in the document.
  • Biometric Verification: Advanced technologies like facial recognition can be used to match the player’s face with the photo on their ID.
  • Age Estimation AI: AI systems can estimate a player’s age based on facial features in a selfie or video call, adding another layer of verification.

Online Gambling Age – Canada vs. International Standards

CountryLegal Gambling Age
CanadaVaries by province or territory; typically 19, except in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec (18)
United StatesVaries by state, usually 21; exceptions for certain activities at 18
United Kingdom18 for most establishments; 16 for National Lottery and other lotteries
GreeceMinimum age is 23
PortugalRanges from 18 to 25 depending on the casino and residency status
AustraliaMinimum age is 18
ChinaTraditional gambling banned; government lotteries open to individuals above 21

Legal Gambling Age and Responsible Gambling

In Canada, you have to be either 18 or 19, depending on where you are, to gamble legally. This rule is there to protect young people from getting into trouble with gambling. It stops them from gambling too early, which could lead to problems like losing money or becoming addicted. Casinos and online gambling sites check IDs to make sure people are old enough to play. The government also works to teach people about the risks of gambling and offers help to those who need it. They want to make sure gambling stays fun and safe for everyone. You can find more information in the sources listed below.

Responsible Gambling Initiatives

Canada places significant emphasis on responsible gambling through various programs and initiatives. These aim to educate the public, provide support for those facing gambling-related issues, and ensure a safe and transparent gambling environment. Canada has various responsible gambling programs to promote safer practices. Key initiatives include:

  • Responsible Gambling Council (RGC):
    • National nonprofit focused on preventing problem gambling.
    • Collaborates with operators and regulators for safeguards, education, and training.
    • Provides reports on gambling risks, addressing emerging trends and cultural groups.
  • iGaming Ontario:
    • Promotes responsible gambling for informed player choices.
    • Requires licensed operators to join RGC’s RG Check for certification.
    • Runs public awareness campaigns.
  • Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO):
    • Develops regulatory frameworks for compliance, covering employee training and limiting losses.
  • Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG):
    • Globally recognized for leadership in responsible gambling.
    • Offers “My PlaySmart” personalization features for financial management and breaks.
    • Operates PlaySmart Centres for guides, instructional materials, and assistance.

Provincial Problem Gambling Support

Each province has local helplines and resources to help individuals with gambling concerns. Here are local helplines for problem gambling concerns in Canada, listed by provinces and regions:

ProvinceHelpline InformationPhone Number
AlbertaAlberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission Helpline1-866-332-2322
British ColumbiaBC Problem Gambling Information and Referral Service1-888-795-6111
ManitobaManitoba Gambling Helpline1-800-463-1554
New BrunswickNew Brunswick Problem Gamblers Hotline1-800-461-1234
Newfoundland and LabradorNL Helpline1-888-899-4357
Nova ScotiaNS Toll-Free Gambling Helpline1-888-347-8888
NunavutKamaqtuq Suicide Prevention Society / Kamatsiaqtut Helpline1-800-265-3333
OntarioOntario Problem Gambling Helpline1-888-230-3505
Prince Edward IslandPEI Gambling Addiction Treatment Program1-888-299-8399
Quebec (Montreal Area)Quebec Gambling Help and Referral(514) 527-0140 (Outside Metro Area: 1-800-461-0140 and 1-866-767-5389)
SaskatchewanSK Problem Gambling Helpline1-800-306-6789

Legal Gambling Age for Different Forms of Gambling

Form of GamblingAge Limit (in most provinces)Exceptions
Casino (Poker, Roulette, Blackjack, Slots. etc.)19Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec (18)
Lottery18 (most provinces)Ontario (18 for lottery tickets and scratch cards)
Sports Betting19

Penalties for Underage Gambling in Canada

Online players in Canada need to be aware of the serious consequences associated with underage gambling:

  • Legal Consequences: Canada has strict laws against underage gambling, imposing fines and legal actions against both individuals and establishments. Participation requires mandatory identification verification.
  • Enforcement and Penalties: Provincial gaming authorities ensure age restrictions through ID checks and oversight. To deter underage gambling, severe penalties are in place, including potential incarceration for up to 2 years. It’s crucial to adhere to these rules to avoid legal repercussions.

Support Programs for Underage Gamblers

If you’re underage and struggling with gambling in Canada, there are resources available to help and support you. Check out these organizations:

  • YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program: Get information and support tailored for youth facing gambling-related issues.
  • International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors: Access resources and support if you’re dealing with gambling problems.
  • Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) Parent Hub: Parents, find information and resources here to address youth gambling issues.

How to Start Gambling in Canada – Tips for Beginner Online Casino Players

If you’re over 18 or 19 years old, and you’re new to online gambling, here’s some advice that will help you get a good start:

  • Pick a Good Casino: Choose a reliable casino after checking reviews and understanding bonuses.
  • Check if It’s Legal: Make sure the casino is allowed in Canada. You can’t gamble on Canadian-based ones, but it’s okay on platforms outside Canada.
  • Learn Game Rules: Know the rules of the games you want to play. Start with easy ones like slots or blackjack.
  • Manage Your Money: Decide how much you’ll spend and stick to it. Don’t chase losses, and only gamble what you can afford.
  • Play Responsibly: Use tools provided by the casino to play responsibly and have a safe, enjoyable time.


Discovering the legal gambling age in Canada is like piecing together a puzzle with rules from both the federal and provincial sides. It’s a team effort between rule-makers and the public to ensure gambling is fair, safe, and responsible. Following these age rules is crucial for fairness and player safety.

We hope that we’ve successfully covered each aspect of legal gambling age laws and regulations for Canadians in different provinces. To get acquainted with other gambling laws in Canada, read also our article on gambling winnings taxes.


Is the legal age for gambling the same in all of Canada?

No, the legal age for gambling varies across different provinces and territories in Canada. Each region has its own set of regulations, and the legal age may range from 18 to 19 years old.

What is the gambling age in Ontario?

The legal gambling age in Ontario, as well as in several other provinces, is typically 19 years old. However, it’s essential to check the specific regulations, as they can be subject to change.

How do Canadian online casinos check your age?

During account creation, players provide personal information, including date of birth, and may need to submit identification documents. Online casinos use age verification services and strict Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.

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