To read about the gaming laws of Canada, go to the official websites for the Canadian casino gaming agencies. Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories. While our immense country’s gambling activities is regulated by a patchwork of gaming agencies, the 13 different authorities are a lot less complicated than the 50 different state agencies in the United States. With each agency, I try to give a brief description of the agency’s duties, along with an idea about the casino activity in each region.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario – AGCO regulates casino gaming, charitable gambling, and lottery betting inside the province of Ontario. Most casino gaming regulations are subject to the Gaming Control Act, 1992. This requires casino staff, referred to as gaming assistants in the legislation, to adhere to specific rules and regulations. The term “gaming assistants” refers to dealers, croupiers, and slot machine technicians. AGCO also oversees union laws as they pertain to the casino workers. Trade unions which represent gaming assistants and land-based casinos and slot machine venues must be registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Ontario has 31 legal gaming venues in the province, including 13 land-based casinos, 4 racetracks, and 14 racinos. A racino is a racetrack which offers casino-style gaming on its grounds. AGCO also regulates alcoholic beverages throughout Ontario.
Regie des Alcools des Courses et des Jeux – The Regie des Alcools des Courses et des Jeux is the gaming authority for Quebec, the French-Canadian province of Canada. The agency regulates alcohol, horse racing, casinos games, combat sports, raffles, drawings, and publicity contests in Quebec. Quebec has 10 gaming establishments, including 9 land casinos and 1 horsetrack. Included among the nine casinos are 3 casinos in the Kahnawake reservation lands (Snake’s Poker Club, Stardust Poker Mansion, and Playground Poker Club). Kahnawake is home to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which online gamblers have certainly heard about. The commission is famous for licensing online casinos throughout the world. I’ll discuss the gaming commission in its own entry.
As for the Regie des Alcools des Courses et des Jeux site itself, English speakers are likely to find it hard to navigate this website. While a link on the top right hand corner of the homepage suggests an English-language version of the site exists, most of the portal remains in French.
Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gambling Authority – The Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gambling Authority is part of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. It is responsible for “licensing and regulating liquor, gaming, and amusement activities” in Nova Scotia province. The Alcohol and Gaming Division, as it is sometimes called, derives its authority from three statutes: the Theatres and Amusements Act, parts of the Liquor Control Act, and Part II of the Gaming Control Act. On the link I provided, gamblers can read a brief history of the organization, while finding contact information. Nova Scotia has 7 gaming destinations in all, including 4 casinos, 2 horsetracks, and 1 horse track casino.
Liquor and Gambling Authority of Manitoba – The Liquor and Gambling Authority of Manitoba is the brand new casino gambling regulator in Manitoba. It was founded on April 1, 2014, and it combines the authority previously held by the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission. The website provides operators and employees to apply for licenses, reads reports on the casino gambling activities in the province, or learn about the latest raffles. Manitoba has 8 casinos, 9 horsetracks, and 1 horsetrack casinos. The high percentage of racetracks are mainly found on fairgrounds throughout the province, so these operate only part of the year.
Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority – The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority oversees most forms of gambling in the province. The list includes casinos, horse racing, bingo, raffles, and breakopen tickets. Besides regulating the actual games as they happen, the SLGA registers all provincial gaming employees. It also licenses all gaming suppliers in the province. Saskatchewan has 8 brick-and-mortar casinos, 1 racetrack, and 1 racetrack casino.
PEI Lotteries Commission – Since September 2008, all gaming on Prince Edward Island is under the auspices of the PEI Lotteries Commission. The regulations for the province are set down in the 2008 memo, “Leadership, Integrity and Responsibility: A Gaming Strategy for Prince Edward Island”. The PEI Lotteries Commission is under the authority of the Deputy Provincial Treasurer. All gaming operations in the province are the responsibility of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. This makes sense, because most of the gaming is lottery-based. No land-based casinos exist on Prince Edward Island, though two horsetrack racinos exist: Red Shores Racetrack & Casino in Charlottetown and Summerside Raceway in Summerside.
The Department of Government Services and Lands, Trades Practices and Licencing Division – The Department of Government Services and Lands, Trades Practices and Licencing Division regulates the lotteries in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) operates gambling activities in the province, but since 2005, The Department of Government Services and Lands, Trades Practices and Licencing Division is the oversight agency. 2005 is the year the province created a “gaming action plan” to regulate all gaming activities in the region. Newfoundland and Labrador has no casinos and only has one horsetrack racino in the province: St. John’s Racing & Entertainment Center.
The Gaming Control Branch – The Gaming Control Branch is responsible for regulating all gambling activities in New Brunswick, including the activities of the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation. The Gaming Control Branch’s mandate is to provide fair, accessible, community-focused, coordinated programs” and to ensure “effective inspection and enforcement procedures”. The GCB also prevents crimes and licenses workers and operators in the gaming industry of New Brunswick. New Brunswick has 3 gaming locations in the province, including Casino New Brunswick in Moncton (the lone casino) and the two horsetrack racinos, Fredericton Raceway in Fredericton and Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John.
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission – The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission is the sole regulator of gaming inside Alberta. The mission statement of AGLC is to ensure all gaming and liquor sales in the province “are conducted honestly, openly and with integrity”. The Gaming and Liquor Commission also is supposed to maximize the economic benefits of such activities. Alberta has 29 gaming destinations, including 24 casinos, 2 horsetracks, and 3 horse track casinos.
Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch – The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch regulates all gambling inside the province of British Columbia. This includes the activities of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. British Columbia allows many forms of gaming activity, including casino games like slot machines and table games, major lotteries, and horse racing. The province also has local licensed gaming events. These often have colorful names, such as “50/50 draws”. British Columbia has more gaming venues than any other Canadian province: 46 in all. It has 40 land casinos, 4 horsetracks, and 2 horse track casinos.
Professional Licensing & Regulatory Affairs Branch – The Professional Licensing & Regulatory Affairs Branch of the Department of Community Services is the casino, lottery, and charitable gaming authority in Yukon Territory. The Yukon has one single gaming venue: Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Casino in Dawson City. Under the Lottery Licensing Act, the PLRAB oversees activities like bingos and raffles. Yukon also has “three-day event casinos”, which are temporary gaming operations which offer games like blackjack and wheel of fortune (not the slot machine).
Two other territories exist in Canada: the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Neither of the regions have casino gambling, so no regulatory authority exists to oversee such activities in those territories. Any gaming events which take place in the Northwest Territories would be subject to the Northwest Territories Municipal and Community Affairs Department. In Nunavut, such duties would fall to the Community Support Division.
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