Betting and the Law FAQ: Quebec gambling online and on land.
The province of Quebec is Canada’s second largest by population, as well as land area. It is home to the NHL’s most decorated, 24-time Stanley Cup Champions, the Montreal Canadiens, and the largest casino in the country, Casino de Montreal. Its capitol, Quebec City, is one of the oldest English settlements in North America, highlighted by its world-famous Château Frontenac (right).
Its rich heritage is showcased by a vast population of fun-loving individuals; many of which who list games of chance among their favorite pastimes. Whether it’s a wager on the ponies, a spin of the slots reels, or an evening of Texas Hold’em poker, gambling is as ingrained into the culture as readily as hunting, fishing, or going to the cinema.
Like most regions of the world, there are strict laws that govern what Quebecois can and cannot legally place a wager on. In the following text, we’ll take a quick look at these options and whether they’re lawful, in both land-based and internet-based capacities.
Legal FAQ: Quebec Gambling Online & On Land
For easy reference and the quickest guidance, I’m setting this up as a FAQ. Look for your question, read the answer. Note that these all of these questions and answers are current and factual as of February 2020.
What forms of gambling are legal in Quebec?
– Harness Racing
– Lottery (Loto-Quebec)
– Mise-O-Jeu (sports betting lottery)
– Casino gambling
Who regulates gambling in Quebec?
The Criminal Code of Canada is the prevailing governor of all gambling in Canada. However, the federal government passes most regulatory provisions on to the provinces and territories. The Société des loteries du Québec (aka Loto-Quebec) is responsible for the authorization, regulation and licensing of almost all gambling activities that take place in the province, including both commercial and charitable gaming. Loto-Quebec is not responsible for the oversight of Harness Racing; the only form of gambling that is regulated on a federal level.
Official links to all relative Loto-Quebec Regulations can be found here.
Is online gambling legal in Quebec?
Yes, online gambling is legal in Quebec, Canada. Loto-Quebec launched its own iGaming website, Espacejeux.com, in 2010. Espacejeux presents adult Quebecois with the option to buy lottery tickets and scratch cards, play casino, poker and bingo games, and bet on sports (Mise-O-Jeu Online).
Is it legal to gamble at offshore gambling sites?
Yes, in a sense. This is what legal-eagles like to call a “grey area” of the law. It is not expressly legal to gamble with international online gambling sites, but it is not expressly illegal, either. Therefore, we can’t factually say it is “legal”, but it is absolutely correct to say it is “not illegal”.
Furthermore, international gambling sites are only illegal in Quebec if they have no physical presence on Canadian soil, such as a business office or servers.
Note: Quebec attempted to pass an IP-blocking law that would have made it illegal to gambling online with any site but their own. Had they succeeded, it would have created a monopoly for Espacejeux.com; just one of the various reasons the law was stricken by the federal government.
Is single-event sports betting legal in Quebec?
No. Within the province of Quebec, punters cannot place a wager on a single outcome. Only parlay (multi-pick) bets are acceptable. However, it is not illegal to bet on single-event sports with offshore gambling sites that have no physical presence in Canada.
Sportsbooks in other jurisdictions are not required to abide by Canadian law. Therefore, if residents of Quebec are welcome, they are equally welcome to wager on any sporting bets available, including single-event bets, without breaking any laws.
Are gambling winnings taxable income?
No, gambling winnings are almost never taxable in Quebec. Gambling online or on land does not require winnings, or losses, to be declared, unless you are in the “business of gambling”. In order the qualify as the being in the business of gambling, a substantial portion of your annual income must come from gambling (i.e. professional poker player). Click here for more information.
Is it safe to gamble at offshore online gambling sites?
Yes, so long as you are only doing business with reputable operators that are licensed in jurisdictions where the laws are strict enough to protect players. Outside of Canada, the most reputable jurisdictions are those in Europe – The UK, Malta, Alderney, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, etc. Licensees of these gaming authorities are held to the strictest standards. Penalties for non-compliance are swift and heavy. See our Gambling Safety Tips to learn more.