Casino gambling is legal and popular everywhere in Canada, but the regulations governing their operation vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It’s not as overwhelming as the patchwork quilt of 50 states’ laws that the US gambler faces, but you’re still looking at 10 provinces and 3 territories with different legal frameworks.
And casino gambling is only a piece of the larger Canadian gambling scene – the lottery is also popular in Canada, as are poker games and race books.
This post offers detailed insight into the casino gambling scene in Canada, both in terms of what’s available in the various jurisdictions and what’s available online.
Canada Casino Gambling Overview
You’ll find over 100 different casinos scattered throughout Canada. Labrador and Newfoundland are the only jurisdictions which don’t have operating casinos. As in most countries, the amenities and atmospheres of the casinos vary widely from one to another. You’ll find luxury gambling resorts and tiny locals’ casinos alike, and everything in-between.
Canada’s drinking age determines the gambling age for the casinos. In most jurisdictions, the legal gambling age is 19, but in a handful of jurisdictions (Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec), the legal drinking and gambling age is only 18.
Legal casino gambling became ubiquitous in Canada in 1969 when the country’s Criminal Code was updated to allow lotteries for charitable purposes. The legal acceptance of these lotteries led to social acceptance of other gambling activities, including casino gambling and video lottery terminals (VLTs).
Any kind of gambling you can think of is available in Canada, but specific jurisdictions have specific laws, so not every kind of gambling is available in every province or territory.
Here’s a list of the best Canada casino sites along with the pertinent details about each – all in a handy, user-friendly table:
Best Canada Real Money Casino Sites 2021
Online Casinos in Canada
It is legal to play at online casinos in Canada, but it is not legal for an online casino to operate in Canada and offer real money games to gamblers there. This might seem confusing to gamblers from the United States who often play at “offshore” casinos based in Kahnawake.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the licensing body for a number of online casinos – they operate a couple of brick and mortar poker rooms (that also offer some slots), but they mostly license and regulate online casinos.
To get such a license, a casino must meet the Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s requirements. They’re located within the Mohawk Territory in Quebec. The criteria for a gambling license include certifiably fair casino games, guaranteed payouts, and references.
You should remember 2 important facts about online casinos in Canada:
- It’s completely legal to gambling at an online casino in Canada. You face no legal risk at all by playing casino games for real money on the internet anywhere in the country.
- Most of the online casinos accepting players from Canada are legal, regulated entities. The huge majority of them are licensed and regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which is itself located in Canada. Some of them are licensed elsewhere offshore. You can find the actual licensing information prominently displayed on any legitimate online casino’s website.
Ontario has over 70 different casinos, making it the #1 casino destination in Canada. Here are the top 3 casinos in Ontario:
1- The Shorelines Casino Belleville is one of the newest and most prominent modern casinos in Canada. They offer over 450 different slot machines and at least 20 different table games, including baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and many of the newer casino-banked poker variations like Mississippi Stud.
The Shorelines opened in 2017.
2- The Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino is another can’t-miss casino in Ontario. Compared to the Shorelines, the Caesars Windsor is tremendous. The 4 Diamond casinos has almost 100,000 square feet of gaming space with over 2300 slot machines.
They also over 85 tables of traditional casino games like blackjack, craps, and roulette.
The Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino is the premier luxury casino resort in Ontario.
3- The Fallsview Casino Resort is even bigger, with over 200,000 square feet of gaming space. They also have restaurants offering almost every variety of cuisine in existence. They have over 130 different tables of casino games, including baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean stud, craps, Pai Gow Poker, and roulette.
And, of course, as the name implies, The Fallsview Casino Resort offers great views of Niagara Falls.
You’ll find dozens of other casinos in Ontario, but these are the 3 best.
You can find almost 60 different casinos in Alberta that cater to everyone from the lowest of low rollers and some of the bigger high rollers, too. You can find slot machine games where you can play for just a penny a spin, but you can also find table games where you can bet $1000 a round.
You can also find a reasonably large number of bingo halls (17) and horse tracks (8).
Here are our picks for the top 3 casinos in Alberta:
1- Elbow River Casino offers a wide variety of gambling games to choose from. You can bet on the horses in their offtrack betting facility. They also have a 24/7 poker room offering Texas holdem for various stakes.
They also offer over 600 different slot machine games from a penny a spin up to $1 per spin. Some of them have progressive jackpots of between $4000 and $100,000+.
They have table games on the main floor and also in the high limit room. Games offered include baccarat, blackjack, craps, Pai Gow (the tiles), roulette, and Ultimate Texas Holdem. The betting amounts range from $5 per bet to $1000 per bet, with the exception of roulette.
At the roulette tables, you can place bets for as little as 50 cents per spin.
2- Pure Casino Lethbridge has 427 slot machines, 28 video lottery terminals (VLTs), 11 table games, including 6 blackjack tables. They also offer roulette and Ultimate Texas Holdem. They have a poker room with 5 poker tables, too.
The food is excellent, and it’s one of the only casinos I know of with the sentence, “this is a great place for liver and onions” as a highlight on its TripAdvisor review.
3- Century Downs Racetrack and Casino is more than just a casino – it’s also an A-level horse racing track. From April through November you can bet on live races every weekend and on holidays. The casino has over 550 slot machine games along with an offtrack betting area.
Century Downs opened in April, 2015.
And those 3 casinos just scratch the surface of the dozens of casinos in Alberta.
British Columbia Casinos
British Columbia boasts of 3 dozen different places to gamble. It’s not quite the high roller paradise that Alberta is, though – the maximum bets anywhere in the province are $500 per wager.
Here are the top 3 casinos in British Columbia:
1- Cascades Casino Delta is our top pick in BC. Here’s the problem:
It won’t open until next year.
How does a casino which hasn’t opened yet warrant a listing as the #1 casino in the province?
It’s just going to be that spectacular. They spent $70 million building it, and it’s going to include 3 great restaurants as well as a brand-new state-of-the-art gaming room.
It’s not going to be a huge property, but it will still have 124 luxury hotel rooms and 500 slot machines. They’re also planning to offer a couple dozen table games.
2- Grand Villa Casino Burnaby has over 1200 gambling machines and 50 table games. They also have a spa on site as well as several excellent restaurants. You can find action at the Grand Villa Casino Burnaby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And they just finished a $15 million renovation.
3- Starlight Casino New Westminster has managed to stay in business since 2017 without getting tired. The casino floor has 100,000 square feet of space featuring 850 slot machines and 45 table games.
And, of course, there are another 30+ casinos in British Columbia to visit.
Nova Scotia Casinos
Nova Scotia only has 11 casinos in 8 different cities. You can also find plenty of bingo and horse betting in Nova Scotia.
The Casino Nova Scotia Halifax and the Casino Nova Scotia Sydney are the top 2 casinos in Nova Scotia. Both properties offer excellent restaurants and hundreds of slot machine games. They both have an assortment of table games, too. They also host poker games, although their cardrooms are relatively small compared to some.
Quebec has 10 casinos to choose from. There’s also a horse track in Quebec, but you won’t find any licensed bingo halls.
The most important casinos in Quebec include:
- Casino Montreal
- Casino de Charlevoix
- Playground Poker Club
The Playground Poker Club is notable for being one of 2 casinos in Kahnawake, which is probably more famous for licensing online casinos than for hosting brick and mortar casinos.
Other Jurisdictions with Casinos in Canada: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon
You can find a wide variety of casinos in the following provinces and territories, although most of the jurisdictions on this list only have a handful of properties to choose from:
- New Brunswich
- Prince Edward Island
Many of the casinos in these smaller jurisdictions are run by First Nations Tribes. These casinos are analogous to the tribal casinos found throughout the United States.