Gambling in B.C.

Buying lottery tickets, playing casino games, online gambling, and betting on horse races are just a few of the types of gambling that adults can choose from in B.C. Learn about types of gambling and other topics like responsible gambling, player safety, how revenues support the citizens of B.C., and more.

Learn more:

What is Gambling?

Gambling is a form of entertainment where a game of chance, betting scheme, or lottery scheme is played for money. Gambling is a regulated activity in Canada that is only legal when it is managed by a provincial government. The BC Lottery Corporation manages and conducts all commercial gambling, including online gambling, in this province on behalf of the B.C. government. Charitable gambling in B.C. is licensed by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, which is also the branch of government with the regulatory oversight of BCLC.

Gambling in B.C. is governed by the provincial Gaming Control Act. See Laws, Regulations & Policies for more information about gambling regulation in B.C.

Ways to Play and Where to Play

The ways to gamble in B.C. include casino table games like poker, bingo, slot machines, lottery tickets, online on PlayNow.com (B.C.’s only legal online gambling site), and licensed gambling events, such as 50/50 draws.

Horse racing is a worldwide sport that can be enjoyed in person at one of five race tracks in B.C. and onscreen in teletheatres in communities around the province.

Visit Gambling Locations to find out which communities in B.C. host casinos, community gambling centres, bingo halls, horse racing tracks, and teletheatres.

To learn how to gamble responsibly in a way that is safe and fun, see www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca.

Who can Gamble in B.C.?

People 19 years and older may gamble in B.C. at casinos, horse racing tracks and teletheatres, bingos, community gaming centres, lottery retailers, or at a licensed gambling event held in a community. It is against the law for minors to enter a gambling facility or participate in gambling of any kind.

Gambling Revenue Distribution

The money generated by gambling in B.C. is used to provide key services, including health care and education, to people and supports economic development in local communities throughout B.C. Commercial gambling, not including horse racing, in B.C. generated $2.9 billion in 2014/15.

Find out more about how gambling revenue is distributed at Where the Money Goes.

Gambling as Fundraising

Groups and organizations can host a licensed gambling event to fundraise for the benefit of their communities. Most gambling in B.C. requires a licence. To learn more about who is eligible and how to apply, see Gambling Event Licence Fundraising.

B.C. also invests gambling revenue in local non-profit organizations through the Community Gaming Grant program. This program supports activities in the arts, culture, sport, environment, public safety, human and social services sectors, and parent advisory councils and district parent advisory councils. To learn more, visit Gaming Grants.

Online Service

Apply for a gambling event licence or gaming grant, check your application status, or report gambling wrongdoing.

Contact Information

Contact the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch if you have questions about gambling in B.C.

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