Nova Scotia may have a small population, but it has one of the largest in terms of gambling numbers. Reportedly, over 87% of Nova Scotians gamble at least once per year, with the average amount wagered estimated at over $600 per head. Given that so many Nova Scotian residents are betting, it is predictable that gambling in most forms is legal in the Canadian province. What are Nova Scotians betting on, and what is permittable, though? On this betting page, we will take a closer look at the gambling laws of Canada’s second-smallest province.
Is Gambling Legal in Nova Scotia?
Nova Scotia’s gambling laws are set out in the Gaming Control Act. This piece of legislation created the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation and the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission. Under Canada’s Criminal Code, Nova Scotia’s legal gambling games are only available to those Canadians who reside in the province. Players in other regions are not permitted to play at Nova Scotian casinos or join the lotteries.
What the land-based betting options open for players in Nova Scotia? Below, you can see what is permitted and what is not…
Casino Games: Nova Scotia is home to two land-based casinos. These brick and mortar establishments are both run by the government. The Casino Nova Scotia venues are in Halifax and Sydney. These are under the jurisdiction of the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation, which has set the payout percentage for slot games to 92%. Canada’s VLTs (video lottery terminals) are legal and can appear in over 300 outlets. However, strict rules are surrounding what can be wagered, and only tend to appear in age-specific establishments, such as bars.
Horse Racing: A total of three horse racing tracks are present in Nova Scotia. These include the Truro Raceway, the Northside Downs and the Inverness Raceway. Any Nova Scotian who cannot make it trackside to bet is legally allowed to place bets on horse races via other licensed outlets.
Lottery Games: The Atlantic Lottery Corporation has jurisdiction over online and ticket-based lottery games. The same organisation also runs the rule of charitable lottery-style games, such as bingo and raffles. These, too, require a license to be granted, even though they are non-profit gambling games.
Sports Betting: You can bet on sports in Nova Scotia, but only if you use the Pro-Line betting system. You are required to place at least two bets, and there are caps on how much you can wager per game. The only types of bets offered via this service are parlay bets.
What About Online Gambling?
You are probably wondering about online gambling games. Unfortunately, the gambling laws of Nova Scotia make it clear that the province is not interested in legalising, regulating, and thus running the rule over online gambling sites. However, that does not mean that betting at internet casinos and online sportsbooks is impossible.
More to the point, Nova Scotia does not have any laws in place which prohibit their residents from playing at offshore casinos. The Canadian Criminal Code prevents Nova Scotians from joining online casinos in other Canadian provinces, but it does not stop them from joining online betting sites based outside of Canada.
Licensed Betting Sites
Nova Scotia has not issued a gambling license to any operator. Therefore, there is no such thing as a Nova Scotian online casino. However, there are plenty of offshore sites which cater to players in the province, so let us look at some of those next.
Offshore Betting Sites
An overseas betting site is effectively any online casino which is not licensed in Nova Scotia. However, Canadian laws prevent out-of-province casinos accepting players from Nova Scotia, too. These laws have no power to stop residents of the province from joining those casinos and betting sites based offshore (out of Canada), though. These include:
- Online casinos
- Bingo rooms
- Poker rooms
- Online sportsbooks
- International lottery ticket sites, and more
In theory, Nova Scotians are permitted to play at any online casinos, sportsbook, poker room or another form of gambling website that is based outside of Canada, licensed or otherwise. However, we would always recommend playing at an online casino which holds a valid gambling license, and one which comes from a reputable jurisdiction, to boot.
There are no punishments or penalties for doing this. While Nova Scotia does not want you to place online gambling bets at all, they are not prepared to penalise you for doing so. You can, therefore, opt to place bets at any site which will accept you, and many thousands of them will do just that.
Should I Play at Internet Betting Sites in Nova Scotia?
Quite frankly, players in Nova Scotia have no other options but to place bets at offshore betting sites. As there are no licensed online casinos in the province, there is no other way to bet online. Nova Scotians are spoilt for choice when looking for somewhere to play. However, that does not mean that they should settle for any old casino.
Right here, you will stumble across a handful of the best online casinos open to accepting players from Nova Scotia. These are all licensed and regulated internet casinos. They have been double-checked to ensure that they not only allow players in your province, but that they also stand up to scrutiny when it comes to responsible gaming, security, software, and fairness.
These casinos will provide you with access to Canada-friendly payment methods, carry games from a variety of providers, and pay out in a timely manner. Some even have specific promotions and bonuses geared toward players in Canada.
Of course, you are free to find your own online casino if you wish. However, this takes time and effort. This is especially true if you want to do it right and ensure that you end up playing at a reputable and safe online casino. It is far easier to choose one of our recommended casinos if you want to play at the best in the business.