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Gambling in British Columbia

Gambling in british Columbia, Canada

The Canadian province of British Columbia has a diverse gambling industry which incorporates casinos, horse racing, teletheatres, bingo, gaming centres and lottery. Sometimes there will also be legal gambling at public events such as skiing or snowboarding competitions.

The legal age to gamble in British Columbia is 19, unless you are gambling online, when the age limit at the website’s home licensing body will apply. It is against the law for minors to enter a gambling venue in BC.

Speaking of online gambling, British Columbia, like most of Canada, fails to really address online wagering, which means gambling at offshore casinos and sportsbooks is perfectly legal. There are no known cases of the police or authorities prosecuting an individual for using these sites.

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation is the body overseeing gambling in the province and runs the only online gambling site licensed in BC. Its PlayNow.com has an extensive selection of online sports betting markets, lottery and casino, including live dealer and many other gambling pursuits.

The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch is responsible for the overall integrity and regulation of gaming and horse racing in British Columbia. This includes all provincial gaming conducted, managed and/or operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation


Online casinos in BC

There are many options for those wishing to gamble at online casinos from BC with all the biggest software companies and many of the biggest casino brands still operating in the province. You can even play at online casinos licensed by Canada’s own Kahnawake Gambling Commission, which is a well-known licensing body with members such as Bodog.eu and RoyalVegasCasino.com – two popular brands in the online world.

Online casinos licensed both in Canada and offshore may cater to the Canadian dollar and it makes sense to play at sites that do, so you do not lose out on currency exchanges. This simply means that your balance will be displayed in CAD.

You can play online slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker and literally 100s of different variations and games at online casinos – far more than at your average land-based gambling venue.

The land-based casino scene in BC is dominated by Gateway Casinos, which also operates in Alberta and Ontario, although it has not all been smooth sailing in recent times for the company, with the company’s 700 workers striking for over four months, up until November 2018.


Online sports betting in British Columbia

You can bet on sports with the BC-backed PlayNow.com if you are in the province, but there is also nothing stopping you from wagering with offshore betting sites. The odds are generally better and you will find more markets are available.

You can wager on the NBA, NFL, NHL and minor leagues and college games and many soccer competitions around the world. Basically if you are watching an international competition on television, you will be able to find a market for it at an offshore site.

The deposit methods at these sites are plentiful and you will not have any trouble funding your account as long as you have a bank card, or another form of electronic money. Even if you don’t you will be able to deposit money directly into a bank account or buy a pre-paid card, which can then be used to fund your account.

Some of the more popular offshore sites to gamble at if you are from Canada include BetOnline.ag, Bodog.eu and 5Dimes.eu. Each of these sites has a strong reputation and is known to be safe for CAD deposits.


Horse racing in British Columbia

Turnover on horse racing in the past few years in BC has been more than $200 million annually. Remarkably most of this is on “fake” racing, or computer-generated games, but there is also a live horse racing scene.

It is estimated that there are more than 3000 jobs supplied by the racing industry in BC and almost half a billion dollars injected into the local economy.

The tracks due to host horse racing in BC in 2018 include Fraser Downs and Hastings, with the tracks in Surrey and Vancouver respectively.


What is the British Columbia Lottery Corporation?

The BCLC manages all gambling in British Columbia, including lotteries, casinos, electronic games including slots, sports betting and one-off ticket lotteries. It also manages online gaming such as PlayNow.com. The Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch manages horse racing in British Columbia.

First Nations do have heavy involvement in some gambling venues but unlike some provinces in Canada, they are forced to abide by the same rules that apply under the licensing body in BC.

Towards the tail-end of 2017 the BCLC announced they were launching an investigation into money-laundering, with it to be headed by experienced Mountie Peter German. The recently appointed QC then released a report titled the Peter German Report which made recommendations to curb money laundering in BC casinos, with two of these that were implemented being deposits of over $10,000 CAD needing a proof of source and appointing someone to work permanently in heading up anti-corruption in horse racing and casinos.

The BCLC is also part of the Inter-Provincial Lottery Corporation, which runs lottery games in some Canadian states, with five members in total.


Funding your gambling account

Funding your account is a simple process and you will be able to use, among others, Visa, Mastercard, Web wallets, bank transfers and many cryptocurrencies.

Generally these deposit methods will be instant and you will be able to begin playing straight away, but in case such as bank transfers you may have to wait a few days for the money to hit your account.