Responsible Gambling in Canada FAQs

Last Updated: October 25, 2023

Fact-checked by Valerie Lizotte

Reviewer Born and raised in Quebec, Valerie has over 10 years of experience working in the Canadian gambling industry, bringing wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Read More
Problem Gambling FAQs

Responsible gambling should be taken seriously at all times, and it is about setting limits and educating yourself and others about gambling addiction.

What does responsible gambling mean?

Responsible Gambling is an initiative that promotes safer gambling that casino operators and players should undertake. These can include setting limits and taking breaks.

How can I gamble responsibly?

Gambling should only be a form of entertainment and fun. Gambling should never be thought of as a way to make money. You should only gamble with excess funds you don’t need for other expenses. Gambling responsibly also means having your overall well-being in mind, setting limits and balancing gambling with other activities.

How can I tell if myself or someone I know is suffering from gambling addiction?

If you are concerned about your or someone else’s gambling, you can look out for the following: 

- Worries about gambling patterns

- Difficulties arising due to gambling

- Gambling with more than you can afford

- Trying to win lost money

- Lying and hiding gambling behaviours from those close to you 

Is gambling addiction linked to poker and slot games?

Gambling addiction can occur from any form of gambling, whether it's slots, sports betting, sweepstakes and so on.

Does problem gambling only cause financial harm?

No. Problem gambling can cause financial difficulties, but it can also cause mental and emotional issues. Problem gambling refers to the issue of not being able to stop gambling. 

What limits can I put in place?

Limits that you can set at a reputable online casino include money and time limits.

Time limits restrict the amount of time you can play over a period. Money limits restrict the amount you can deposit in your account over a specific time.

Loss limits are another tool that will limit the amount of funds you can lose over a certain period.

Wager limits restrict additional wagers once you have reached the limit.

Why is gambling addictive?

Losing yourself in casino games can be pretty easy to do, especially if you have had a few wins. This can trigger your reward system, which leads to addiction. Gambling addiction can lead to compulsive gaming, resulting in significant losses and financial debt.

How can I beat gambling addiction?

You can reduce your gambling by opting for a self-exclusion on online casino sites. When you do this, operators are no longer able to send you promotional messages and take actions to stop you from avoiding self-exclusions. You can often self-exclude from 6 months to five years.

Who is responsible for safer gambling?

This responsibility falls mainly on the shoulders of the gambling industry, including inline and offline venues. Regulatory bodies, individual operators and other stakeholders are all responsible. However, operators will be directly responsible for ensuring responsible gambling is understood by all, from players to regulators. Platforms are responsible for using software products that offer players a safe and fair gaming experience.

What is the legal age for gambling in a casino?

Gambling in Canada was legalized in 1994, with each province and territory having different regulations. Each region has rules regarding what forms of gambling are allowed, where they can take place, and the minimum age for gambling. The legal gambling age in Canada varies by the various provinces or territories. For example, Alberta and Manitoba have a minimum gambling age of 18. In contrast, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon have a minimum gambling age of 19.

Is it legal and safe to gamble in Canada?

Canadian gambling laws state that every form of gambling is illegal unless the provider is licensed and regulated by the province's authorities. However, Canadian players can gamble at offshore online casinos because the law does not specify anything against those. However, in Ontario since April 2022, for any online casino or sportsbook to operate, they must work with a gambling licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and obtain an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the AGCO. Overall, Canadians must be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding online gambling in their province or territory and only gamble at reputable and licensed sites.

Is it true that only weak or irresponsible people can have a gambling problem?

This isn't true. Gambling addicts can be anyone from any walk of life, even the strong-willed. A build-up of other issues or stressors most commonly cause gambling addiction.

How can I protect my children from betting sites?

It is a good idea to log out of all your casino accounts and to supervise children with mobile devices. Educating your children on the dangers of gambling and limiting their online time whilst monitoring their exposure is essential. You can also use software like Net Nanny and Kidlogger to protect children from adult content. 

What support is there if I am worried about my gambling?

There are numerous online resources and support services that you can reach out to if you are worried about your gambling. Institutions like Gamecare and the National Problem Gambling Clinic offer advice and support.

What can I do if I think someone I know has a gambling problem?

First, educating yourself about responsible gambling, measures that can be taken and support in your area is a good idea. You should also be prepared for adverse reactions from someone you know, as they might be sensitive about the issue. Approach the person in a safe environment and have a reliable individual with you. 

Every milestone your loved one takes on their journey should be celebrated, no matter how small.

Does gambling every day cause a gambling addiction?

Problem gambling doesn’t necessarily arise from the fact you gamble every day but rather from its negative impact on a person's life. Occasional gambling can even lead to financial issues and negative well-being.