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Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies

Article Title

A Safe Bet: Regulating Online Gambling and Lotteries Through the Criminal Code

Authors

Ian Wilenius

Abstract

This paper examines the links between gambling, moral regulation, and politics in Canada. The proliferation of online gaming platforms has resulted in a new wave of gaming expansion, with online casinos and sports betting growing in market share over traditional land-based betting. Does Canada’s Criminal Code and supporting regulatory scheme effectively address the problems posed by online gambling? This paper examines the origins and history of the gambling provisions in the Criminal Code and reviews their development over time through amendments and judicial interpretation. The paper then establishes how the Criminal Code provisions are applied to bets made over the internet. Next, it analyzes the legal issues around the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, an extension of a First Nation’s claim to sovereignty and the most prolific online gambling regulator in the world. The paper concludes with ideas about the next steps in gaming regulation in Canada, suggesting the federal government is better suited than the provinces to provide and regulate gaming done over the internet.

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