Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


online gaming websites, criminal liability


The development of the Internet has kindled many new business opportunities in the online environment. Despite the recent slump in online business growth and popularity, one line of online business is generating profit and growing at a rapid rate: the business of online gaming.

The legality of such businesses is questionable in Canada and there are few gaming cases to assist Canadian lawyers. The following analysis must be considered in light of the dearth of jurisprudence in this area and should not be considered legal advice. This area of the law is in flux and developments may be unpredictable.

When you are feeling in the dark, even a flickering candle is welcome. Therefore, a recent British Columbia online gaming prosecution, in which the accused pled guilty, is worthy of study. Though resolved by a guilty plea with little judicial reasoning, the case provides some guidance in this largely unmapped area. It confirms that in certain circumstances, there can be criminal liability in Canada for running an online gaming operation. Online gaming ventures will have to consider several factors and be mindful of how their ventures are structured in order to avoid prosecution in Canada and conform to Canadian laws.