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Is online poker legal in Canada?

In short, yes! But gambling has a long and volatile history in Canada as well as the rest of the world. The first law enacted in Canada to address gambling in any form, be it betting on a poker game or wagering on sports, appeared in 1892. Following the standard English common law, the original Canadian gambling laws restricted the act but didn’t ban it outright. Multiple amendments were added over the years, but the law itself remained relatively intact until 1970, when significant reform to the Criminal Code allowed Canadian provinces to have authority, with minor exceptions, over licensing and regulating gambling.

These changes permitted the creation and cultivation of Canada’s vast gambling industry. Winnipeg is the location of Canada’s first casino, which opened in 1989, followed by another casino in Montreal in 1993. Several other provinces followed suit. While gambling is legal at casinos and approved locations in Canada, it is still by and large illegal to gamble for profit outside of these locations. However, while online casinos are not allowed to legally operate from within Canada at this time, it is still very much legal for Canadians to play online poker, wager money, and enjoy casino games at online casinos that are operated abroad.

So if you are living in Canada and are worried about breaking gambling laws by playing in an online poker tournament or practicing a new variety of poker in an online poker room, rest easy. There is absolutely nothing illegal going on and you can enjoy your game of poker in good conscience.

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