Gambling legislation in Canada is a “grey area” where the activity is both legal and illegal. Although federal laws make gambling illegal, provinces have the power to regulate it. This makes gambling legislation in Canada a matrix of laws. What is Manitoba’s stance on gambling? Is gambling legal for citizens in Manitoba? In this article, we will be taking a look at the gambling laws in Manitoba to see what side of the divide the province falls on.
Is Gambling Legal in Manitoba?
Gambling activities in Manitoba are regulated by the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba. The organization was the product of a merger of the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission which was completed in 2014.
According to the laws of Manitoba, the following forms of gambling are legal:
Bingo Games: Bingo games conducted by non-profit organizations are legal in Manitoba provided they apply for a license. At the moment, there is no law that states whether it is legal or illegal to use bingo games for gambling purposes.
Casino Games: The province has a mix of government-owned casinos and those owned by the First Nations. The McPhillips Station Casino and the Club Regent Casino located at Winnipeg are owned by the provincial government.
Horse Racing: Manitoba conducts both thoroughbred and standardbred races. The province has one permanent race track for such events: the Assiniboia Downs. There are a number of off-track betting facilities in Winnipeg featuring both simulcast and live events. These facilities are governed by the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission.
Lottery Games: Lottery games are also legal in the province. The Western Canada Lottery Corporation issues scratch-off cards as well as lottery tickets which can be purchased online or at licensed retailers.
Sports Betting: Manitoba allows sports betting through the Sports Select System, which allows players to wager up to $250 per day on two or more sporting events. The legal age to participate in sports betting is 19. Available options include pools, props, and over/unders.
Others: Manitoba also allows charitable games to be conducted in the province. Popular options include raffles, sports draft, and Texas Hold’em tournaments. Organizers of such events are required to apply for a license. Video Lottery Terminals are also legal in the province. These games can be purchased at exclusive lounges throughout the province. Video Lottery Terminals are regulated by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
What About Online Gambling?
The forms of gambling mentioned above refer to the land-based gambling industry. However, the province also expresses a liberal stance towards online gambling. The province has its own state-run casino site, PlayNow Manitoba, a model it adopted after British Columbia successfully implemented it. Although PlayNow Manitoba is the only casino site operating within the province, there are over a thousand unlicensed sportsbook and casino sites from overseas operators.
Licensed Betting Sites
Although there are over a thousand offshore operators available to players in Manitoba in addition to the state-owned PlayNow.com, offshore sites operate without a license. This implies that the only licensed casino site in Manitoba is the state-run online casino. Since these offshore sites are not physically located within the province, there is no legal impediment to their operations.
Offshore Betting Sites
Residents of Manitoba have access to more than a thousand offshore betting sites. Although these sites are not licensed by local authorities, they can offer services to players in Manitoba since they are not physically located on the territory. Most of these sites offer a full selection of games that consists of slots, table games, and poker games.
Technically speaking, offshore sites are illegal since they extend their services to residents in the province without a license issued by the Government of Manitoba. However, there’s no legal impediment that prevents these sites from serving residents in the province. What is more, the region has not made moves that suggest that it intends to block access to these sites (such blacklisting unlicensed sites or requiring internet service providers to block access to them).
Since there’s no legal obstacle preventing the operations of offshore sites, residents can play at these sites without worrying about breaking any laws. This means players in Manitoba have access to a wide range of gambling sites that include:
- Online casinos
- Bingo rooms
- Poker rooms
- Online sportsbooks
- International lottery ticket sites, and more
Should I Play at Internet Betting Sites in Manitoba?
Being a resident of Manitoba allows you access to a wide range of gambling options, both online and land based. Although the offshore sites that extend their services to the province are not licensed by local authorities, there’s no legal obstruction that prevents them from serving residents in the province.
Before looking outside, you might want to consider the state-owned casino site PlayNow Manitoba which is licensed and legal. However, since PlayNow Manitoba is the only licensed site operating within the shores of the territory, offshore sites provide the much-needed variety.
There are a number of things to consider if you are looking to place bets with an offshore site. The first and perhaps the most important is to ensure that the site is licensed by a reputable gambling authority such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority.
Another thing to consider when choosing an offshore site is whether it focuses on Canadian players or not. Sites that focus on Canadian players support the Canadian dollar, so players do not have to incur currency conversion fees when transacting on the site.
If you are looking for a list of casino sites with services that extend to Canadian players, you will find a number of reputable online casinos on our site. These sites are also ideal for players in Manitoba.