Canadian Online Fantasy Sports Betting Legality

Published Wednesday, October 28, 2015 -
Canadian Online Fantasy Sports Betting Legality

Canada is that big space north of the USA, it has one tenth the population of the US and it is frozen for a good part of the year. It is a richly cultural place that enjoys its hockey, lacrosse, baseball and betting. Fantasy sports has invaded the Canadian online gambling landscape and the legality may be a question that no one is asking just yet.  

In September 2014, the top two fantasy sports sites in America announced they would accept players located in Canada although one does not accept residents of Quebec. Canadian authorities have not really responded to the availability of this gambling like activity. Jurisdictional matters aside and enforcement is offering fantasy sports to players located in Canada legal?

Part VII of the Canadian Criminal Code (the Code) may be the line to determine as  the Code doesn’t define “gaming”, but it does define “game” as “a game of chance or a game of mixed chance and skill”. Implying that none of the offences relating to an unlawful “game” apply to a game of skill alone.  Also, under common law, consideration, prize and chance were held to be essential elements of gaming. The definition of “chance” in Canada, according to the Supreme Court does not refer to “the unpredictables that may occasionally defeat skill” but rather to “the systematic resort to chance involved in many games such as the throw of dice, the deal of cards.” “Bet” is defined in the Code as... a bet that is placed on any contingency or event that is to take place in or out of Canada, and without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a bet that is placed on any contingency relating to a horse-race, fight, match or sporting event that is to take place in or out of Canada.

The reality is, playing daily fantasy sports doesn’t seem to be too risky from a Canadian point of view.


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