Private Casino Laws in British Columbia
Canada is one country that takes care to ensure that online casino gaming is legalized and well-regulated which is why it is so popular in different regions like British Columbia and Ontario. Moreover, with all types of gambling governed by the Criminal Code, Canada gave all its territories and provinces permission to regulate gambling activities within their borders.
One of the Canadian provinces that quickly took charge of betting activities and ensured every type of game is included was British Columbia, nicknamed the Pacific Province. The province went above and beyond to make online gambling legal, but Canada's Criminal Code still puts some points of the law in the grey zone.
In this post, we'll go over the private casino laws in BC, including the brief history of legal gambling in the province, if online gambling is legal in the province, and legal forms of betting in the province. Keep reading for more information on the subjects.
Brief History of Legal Online Gambling in British Columbia
In 1969, Canada amended its Criminal Code, therefore allowing territories and provinces in the country to regulate lotteries. Gambling started changing in BC in 1974 when the province came together with Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to form the WCLC (Western Canada Lottery Corporation). The mission of this non-profit association was to allow its members to take part in the lottery as well as other gambling-related activities.
This organization ran for quite some time, until 1985 when BC left and decided to establish their own independent gambling regulator known as British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). From that moment on, they never stopped introducing new gambling ventures. A year later, in 1986, British Columbia began offering what we know now as an internet lottery in the form of pull tabs.
British Columbia experienced a gambling boom in the 1990s. In 1995, Keno was introduced to the residents, while slots were introduced in 1997. Immediately after the slot machines, the province quickly introduced other betting activities, including certain kinds of online betting.
In 2004, the BCLC launched the website PlayNow.com where gamblers could enjoy sports betting and lottery. Five years later, the Pacific Province introduced online poker, along with other online games that began attracting gamblers in 2010.
Is Online Gambling Legal in BC?
Absolutely! Canada boasts one of the best gambling laws. Every province can set its own laws on land-based and online gambling. Today, almost all of Canada's provinces have opened up their internet gambling markets.
British Columbia operates several gambling sites. As mentioned previously, the province's lawmakers started offering online lottery activities in 2004. In 2009, online poker options were introduced. Over the next decade, the province finally started to offer sports betting odds and online casino games.
Interestingly, the Pacific Province lawmakers haven't set up a licensing system for foreign gambling sites to run in the province. In 2021, there's just one online gambling website being run by the BC authorities. Thankfully, there aren't laws that ban gambling sites outside of Canada from running in the province.
These foreign sites operating in BC are some of the best gambling platforms available right now. Most of them offer even more gambling options than the province-run betting site. What's even amazing is that they're fully legit in the opinion of the province's lawmakers.
There are many awesome online gambling sites in British Columbia. Fans of sports betting will find many amazing online sportsbooks offering odds on almost every major sporting event in Canada. Gamblers have access to thousands of great casino sites that offer table games, live dealer games, and slots.
Legal Kinds of Gambling in BC
The BCLC has been offering gaming options to British Columbians for over 30 years and the gaming options have kept increasing throughout that time. Whether you reside in BC or neighboring states in the U.S. such as Washington and Oregon, below are the legal types of gaming available.
Casinos: There are more than 15 casinos within the Pacific Province, with the First Nations owning one facility. Vancouver's Hard Rock Casino is the biggest when it comes to gaming space, boasting 70 table games, 8 baccarat tables, 1,000 slots, and a poker room in a high-limit space.
Online gambling: PlayNow.com is the only wholly legal and regulated gambling website in the Pacific Province, and it's owned by the BCLC. Established in 2004, the website contains sports betting, casino games, poker, bingo, and lottery.
Lottery: The BCLC has been offering legal games since 1995. To get a ticket, one must be at least 19 years old and winners have a year from the date of the draw to take their prize home.
Sports betting: You can find tickets in convenience stores as well as other licensed locations. You must bet on at least a couple of games and you must get a 100% winning margin in order to get a payout.
Charitable gaming: Non-profit firms may seek a license to run one of these charitable events: bingo, ticket raffles, wheel of fortune, poker, as well as social occasion casinos.
Horse racing: The only running track in the Pacific Province is Fraser Downs. For players who don't wish to go to Surrey, they can also enjoy off-track simulcasts at more than 15 locations all over the province.