A Brief Introduction to British Columbia's Gambling Laws

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Various nations have adopted different means of regulating betting activities within their borders. Certain countries such as the UK, tend to opt for a more centralized approach. Others such as Canada for example, tend to prefer to decentralize the manner in which wagering is regulated, delegating part of the responsibility to their states or territories.

Hence, your ability to gamble as a Canadian resident will depend on the jurisdiction you happen to reside in. What if you did intend to reside in British Columbia? Would you be able to legally do so there? And what activities would you be able to participate in? We examine the approach of this province with regards to this highly popular past time.

Wagering in British Columbia: Federal Gambling Laws

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Games of chance in Canada happen to be regulated in general by the Criminal Code. It is worth noting that this legal statute actually prohibits certain forms of wagering such as betting on casino games and even playing the lottery. The sole exception is pari mutuel horse betting which is legislated by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Horse Betting Agency.

It is however also worth noting that Canadian legislation differentiates between games based solely on skill, games which solely rely on chance and games which are a combination of both.

Those which belong in the first category are considered legal, although those in the other two may also be considered legal if they meet certain criteria such as being regulated by a provincial government.

Wagering in British Columbia: Provincial Gambling Laws

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Betting in this Canadian province is regulated by the Gaming Control Act. The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch acts on behalf of the government and is responsible for monitoring all relevant operators to ensure they provide their services with integrity. It is also responsible for handling any complaints against these establishments issued by their clients.

In addition, this regulatory body co-ordinates responsible betting programs. The GPEB is also responsible for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, an organization that oversees the activities of all establishments which provide betting services and facilities as well as their staff. The BCLC itself is also responsible for all horse racing events held within the province as well.

Eligibility and Available Legal Activities

In order to be eligible to engage in activities which involve placing wagers, in British Columbia, you must be aged 19 or above. What betting activities can you participate in as a resident of this province? It is possible for fans of games of chance to play bingo, lottery, poker and slots at the province's bingo halls, casinos, community gaming centers, race tracks and teletheatres.

The fact that there is a rather sizable number of these establishments,(for example there are about 18 land-based casinos, 21 bingo halls and community gaming centers, and 19 teletheaters in the province) means that you will have a selection to choose from in order to enjoy your favorite wagering activity.

However, it is worth noting that there is only one legal wagering website where gambling activities may be enjoyed: PlayNow.com. The province also provides support and advice to its residents to enable them to engage in wagering responsibly and safely.