The Criminal Code of Canada generally makes gambling illegal unless a province regulates it. As each region forms its own gambling laws, Canada becomes a patchwork of places where gambling is legal and illegal. What side of the argument does New Brunswick fall on, and is it legal to gamble (in any form) if you live in the Atlantic province? It is time to have a look at just what you can and cannot bet on in Canada’s only officially bilingual province.
Is Gambling Legal in New Brunswick?
As with most provinces and regions in Canada, New Brunswick sets its own gambling laws. The New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation (NBLGC) is the body which manages gambling under the Criminal Code of Canada. However, regulation is handled by Gaming, Liquor and Security Licensing Branch, which is itself a part of the Department of Justice and Public Safety.
Here is the current situation for land-based betting, according to New Brunswick’s laws:
Bingo Games: Bingo games which are run as charitable events are legal in New Brunswick, provided the organisations behind them obtain a license. There is no law which currently makes bingo games for gambling purposes, either legal or illegal in the province.
Casino Games: News Brunswick is home to two land-based casinos, namely the Casino New Brunswick in Moncton, and Grey Rock Casino in Edmundston, in the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation. Both are licensed to offer slots, table games and poker legally.
Horse Racing: The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency regulates and supervises pari-mutuel horse race betting in Canada. The Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission governs other forms of horse racing. Three racetracks provide these options, and they include the Fredericton Raceway, Saint John: Exhibition Park Raceway, and Woodstock Driving Club.
Lottery Games: Lottery games are legal in New Brunswick. Over 900 retailers are licensed to sell Scratch ‘n Win tickets, and tickets to the 6/4 and Lotto Max games. Lottery games are operated and regulated by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC).
Sports Betting: The only form of sports betting that is legal in New Brunswick is Pro-Line. This parlay-style betting game is run by the Atlantic Lottery, with any outlets offering the service required to be licensed.
Others: Charitable gambling games are often used to raise funds. These are considered legal, provided the organizers apply for a license to run said events, even raffles. Any proceeds made must go to education, poverty, or communal services. The ALC must run video lottery games, and there are strict terms applied to what these slot-like terminals can offer regarding payouts, betting ranges and the number of them available. Any establishment offering VLTs (video lottery terminals) must hold a gambling license.
What About Online Gambling?
All the betting options (both legal and illegal) listed above refer to land-based betting in brick-and-mortar establishments. Things become trickier when we start to look at online gambling. Online gambling games in New Brunswick are not generally considered to be legal.
Online gambling websites can be broken down into two types for New Brunswick players, namely those which are legal and licensed and those which are offshore. Let us examine each of them in closer detail.
Licensed Betting Sites
It is rare to come across licensed betting sites in New Brunswick. Exceptions are made for a handful of lottery games, and the Pro-Line sports betting game. However, for the most part, there is no such thing as a licensed online casino in the province.
It is worth pointing out that while there are not currently any casinos which are licensed and regulated out of New Brunswick, that may change in the future. The Government of New Brunswick has openly and regularly discussed following British Colombia and Manitoba’s lead in launching a provincial online betting site. This would be fully regulated and only open to residents of New Brunswick. At the time of writing, this has not yet materialised.
Offshore Betting Sites
Just because New Brunswick does not formally license or regulate online casinos and other forms of betting sites does not mean that residents in the province cannot bet on the internet. On the contrary, there are many offshore casinos and sportsbooks which cater to players in New Brunswick.
It is important to note that on a technical level, all these foreign websites are illegal, and are not regulated, licensed, or endorsed by the Government of New Brunswick. However, residents in the province do not need to worry too much about that. The region has not deemed playing at international betting sites and casinos a punishable offence. The authorities have not even blacklisted such sites or demanded that ISPs (internet service providers) block access to them. This naturally means that players in New Brunswick have an ample array of websites that they can bet at.
The technical grey-zone attached to these external sites means that players in New Brunswick can expect to be able to sign-up and play at:
- Online casinos
- Bingo rooms
- Poker rooms
- Online sportsbooks
- International lottery ticket sites, and more.
Should I Play at Internet Betting Sites in New Brunswick?
It is entirely up to you whether you decide to play at offshore casinos and international betting sites. However, you will certainly not face any punishment or official reprimand for visiting these domains by any authorities in New Brunswick. In a sense, it is a case of doing as you like.
If you decide to venture over to an offshore casino, there are a few things you may wish to consider. Firstly, we strongly recommend that you play at a reputable, licensed, and secure casino or sportsbook. A UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) or MGA (Malta Gaming Authority) site will work well. Those casinos should also promote responsible gaming.
Secondly, any casino you choose to join should opt to focus on Canadian players. This means that they should incorporate the Canadian dollar into their accepted currencies and offer payment methods such as Interac which appeal to players in New Brunswick and other parts of Canada.
You will find many leading Canadian online casinos on our site, and these are ideal for players in New Brunswick. Each is verified and recommended for players living in the province.