The first good news is that the province’s gambling activities are under the regulation of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC). This group provides regulation for most gambling activities across Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island; collectively, the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.
ALC runs its own internet gambling website, ALC.ca. It is open to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. (P.E.I. has yet to jump aboard that bandwagon). The fact that it is available to players in NL confirms that online gambling is legal in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The regulator recently adopted a companion ALC mobile app as well. The app offers the same gambling options as the website via Android/iOS smartphones and tablets.
ALC Gambling Site – Legal but Limited
The bad news in all this is that the ALC presents a very limited range of internet gaming activities. ALC.ca presents players with an opportunity to purchase lottery draw tickets, instant win tickets, online casino games, instant bingo games (iBingo), and PRO•LINE sports wagers. Thanks to recent federal legislation, sports wagering options now include single-event betting.
The biggest draw is the ALC Casino that NL’ers finally gained access to in June 2023. By our count, the online casino offers 245 games. Like all casinos, the vast majority of them are slot machines. Also in the mix are about 20 table games (blackjack, roulette, baccarat, etc.) and a few video poker options.
It’s not a bad selection by any means. All of the fan favorites are there. But in comparison to offshore websites that offer thousands of titles, well… let’s just say the temptation to venture into international websites is palpable. This brings us to another piece of good news for local iGamers.
Offshore Gambling Sites Are Not Illegal
The other good news is that, because Canada’s gambling laws are so lax, it is not illegal to gamble at offshore casino websites. They are regulated by international jurisdictions, many of which mandate the same high standard of security, fairness, and player protection.
This can be a hard notion to accept when your own local government is arguing the contrary. In a statement lauding the launch of ALC’s online casino, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Siobhan Coady, had this to say:
“As a government, we wish to ensure the safety of residents who engage in online gaming. Atlantic Lottery’s platform provides a responsible alternative for residents who currently have access to hundreds of online gaming sites, none of which are legal or regulated.”
What NL leaders are doing is confusing the public into thinking they cannot legally gamble at any other website but ALC.ca. when they say it’s “not legal”, what they mean is that NL has not legalized it. They have also not criminalized them, which means they are not illegal, either. Just like NL does not regulate those offshore websites. The majority of them are very well regulated – just not by NL.
They say the proof is in the pudding… let’s dig into that pudding.