How is Gambling Regulated in British Columbia?

No matter if a regular citizen or a government representative tends to like gambling or refuse to accept it, online gambling is the open market which has been only growing bigger within the last two decades. There are countries where gambling in general (and online gambling in particular) is totally put to legal basis. Other countries treat it as the illegal entertainment. If to concentrate on Canada, gambling law is regulated by province governments, and regulations can sometimes be ambiguous turning lands into “grey markets” of gambling business and industry. Particularly, the legal regulation of BC online casino industry can confuse you even more.

Is Online Gambling in BC Legal?

This question is better to be answered at once: yes, online gambling in British Columbia is legal. The best proof for this fact is the existence of website run by the province officials. This means, every person who is 19s or older (this means they reached their legal age) and of a sound state of mind (this is not an obligatory option, but a highly recommended one!), can take part in online casino games, lotteries, poker, sports bets, bingo and any other form of digital gambling.

Still, keep in mind that there exist two kinds of gambling for your consideration. It is legal to play using the web page regulated by the government of British Columbia. And what can we say about that ocean of poker rooms, sports booking offices, online casinos and slot machines functioning under the international regulation?

Here is the fact officials usually tend to ignore commenting: it is NOT illegal to gamble using foreign websites in BC. Issues of your participation in offshore betting propositions of different websites will NOT BE ADDRESSED if you are a concerned player.

All in all, the 1982 Constitution Act denies any rights about telecommunication services (including Internet) censorship for both provincial and federal governmental bodies and institutions, after enshrining the ‘Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ enforced for all Canadian citizens.   

There was a law issue in Quebec province after they passed a law that forced Internet providing companies to block IP-addresses belonging to offshore gambling websites. The province government stated its actions to be legal within the rights due to the fact that all gambling regulations come up to it. Still, the new law was challenged and claimed as unconstitutional by court officials because of censorship issues.

The international gambling websites are pertained just by 2 laws, and one of them can’t be called a law but the past court accident ruling. In the year 2001, the Starnet Communications International company was claimed to offer online gambling services to Canadian citizens on an illegal basis. Court officials acknowledged their functioning to break the law because this company (licensed and based in Antigua) had the office situated in Vancouver. According to the court rule, it is forbidden to offer online gambling propositions to Canadian citizens for the company located in Canada.

This means, providers are not allowed to be ‘physically present’ inside Canadian borders. Law experts say that this physical presence prohibition also forbids the provider advertising in Canada and direct promotion of its services for Canadian citizens. This activity can be stopped due to proving the company’s physical presence inside the state. But still, such case never happened till this day.

So, What’s the Point?

British Columbia is the ‘grey zone’ for lawyers and the law when talking about offshore website gambling, just like many other Canadian provinces. Here are certain key points to mention as the conclusion of the article above.

So, key notes of British Columbia online gambling sites are the following:

1. Playing at own webpage of British Columbia is totally legal for all people above their 19 and physically present in BC.

2. Playing at offshore online casinos is NOT illegal.

3. Casinos of the international market not promoting their business especially in British Columbia or Canada in general and not having proofs of their physical presence inside the state and complying with grounding gambling regulations ( player’s age, fairness of games, etc.) do not break local laws after accepting players from Canada.

4. Players can’t become subjects of possible penalties. Only operators and providers of online casinos can be forced by the law.