Getting started with gambling in BC is not hard by any means. Players have a pretty solid range of options available whether one prefers to play online or offline. On this page, we will cover all of the things you need to know about casinos in BC and the laws and regulations that keep them in line.
As insiders in the Canadian casino industry since 2016, our team at InsideCasino are intimately familiar with gambling regulations in British Columbia and across Canada. Knowing these regulations is critical to helping us make honest, accurate reviews that target the needs of BC and other Canadian gamblers.
Players in BC have a wide range of banking methods they can use to transfer money into and out of their casino accounts. For players using the PlayNow casino site, one can use Gigadat casino payments like Interac, along with bank cards such as Visa, Mastercard, and Amex. Playing on offshore sites does open players up to more options such as casinos with MuchBetter and other E-wallet options. There are also plenty of casino sites accepting Bitcoin, due to them being outside of the protections of the BC government.
Gamblers in British Columbia have access to the GPEB, and run and maintain a self-exclusion network for problem gamblers in British Columbia. This organisation also governs gaming establishments within the province. Given the popularity of gambling in BC, it is important that players are looked after and educated in relation to responsible gambling to ensure that those who have requested to self-exclude are actually prevented from playing at these gaming establishments.
It is important that you never gamble outside of your means. Never chase losses or gamble beyond your means. If you ever suspect that you might have a problem, seek help immediately. There are several organizations available to help, including Gambling Support BC, who can be contacted online or by phone 24/7.
There are two organizations in BC that are responsible for providing British Columbian players with legal gaming services, which are the GPEB and the BCLC.
The GPEB, or Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch is the main regulatory body for gambling in BC. This arm of the provincial government has the authority to set rules for all BC gaming activities within the province, as well as investigate and fine operators that step out of line.
Their oversight also extends to the BCLC, short for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. As the name implies, the BCLC is the provincial crown corporation that partly owns and operates all of the lotteries, casinos, horse race tracks, and other gaming outlets available in BC and is responsible for enforcing the rules of the GPEB as they work with operators.
British Columbia is still unregulated for online gambling and is therefore still guided by Canada’s Criminal Code. This code mainly restricts all legal gambling to that which is authorized by the provincial governments and is done for charitable causes in land-based venues. In line with this, the government of British Columbia has the Gaming Control Act that provides the primary rules for all gambling activities in the province.
Anyone who wants to start a new casino, lottery retailer, or any other gambling establishment must apply for and acquire a licence from the GPEB, which oversees and vets the applicants throughout the entire process. Successful applicants are inspected regularly to maintain compliance and must renew their licence every 5 years, through which they must go through the same stringent process.
To ensure fairness and security for gamblers, in both offline and online gaming outlets in BC, the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Board works closely with the BC Lottery Corporation in conducting regular audits.
The legal gambling age for anyone in British Columbia is 19 years old. This includes all forms of gambling and allows you to enter any gambling establishment in the province and log into the BCLC’s official gambling websites.
BC players do not need to pay taxes on anything they win from gambling in the province, from casinos to lotteries. Exceptions are made to this rule for players who gamble for a living.
The market for land based casinos in British Columbia is one of the larger ones in Canada. BC gamblers have a wide variety of playing at over 35x casinos across the province. Aside from the upscale casinos, there are also small lottery kiosks at malls.
River Rock Casino is not only one of the first luxury casinos to be established in British Columbia, but it is also the largest. Featuring a dedicated poker area, every type of table game imaginable, over 1100 slot machines, and high limit private VIP rooms, you’ll be able to indulge your gambling needs as much as you want to.
Located directly on the harbour, the resort itself has stunning views, notably from its Marine Boardwalk, from which you can watch the sunset over the mountains in the west. River Rocks also has a show theatre, which is just a few feet away from the casino and hosts a variety of spectacular shows.
Games: Slots, Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Pai Gow, Sportsbook
Location: 8811 River Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 3P8
Phone: (604) 247 8900
Casino of the Rockies is part of the St. Eugene Resort, was founded by the Ktunaxa First Nation in collaboration with the Chippewas and Samson Cree. It is the only casino in the Rockies that accepts credit cards. Located just a few minutes from the Canadian Rockies International Airport, the stone structure of the casino is a tourist attraction unto itself, with historical value that dates the building back to the late 1900s.
There are slots, table games, and even electronic table games at this Western-themed casino, which also has a racebook and is well-equipped with everything you need. The selection of table games is on the small side, but Casino of the Rockies still manages to stand out with their 18-hole championship-level golf course that provides a great alternative way to unwind.
Games: Slots, Poker, Blackjack, Roulette
Location: 7777 Mission Road, Cranbrook, BC V1C 7E5
Phone: (250) 471 2772
Parq Vancouver is one of the newest casinos in British Columbia. Parq is also widely regarded as the largest and best casino, with a 72,000 square foot casino floor that features over 600 slot machines and 75 table games. The casino also has several bars and 8 restaurants including a Chinese restaurant by Michelin-starred Chef Tony Luk.
Parq features two luxury hotels, which are the Douglas and JW Marriott. The resort is also a popular event for concerts and hosted the likes of Vancouver Fashion Week, Vancouver International Film Festival and a music concert by Alicia Keys.
Games: Slots, Poker, Blackjack, Baccarat, High Stakes
Location: 39 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 0R3
Phone: (604) 683 277
Online gambling is legal for players in BC. The more important distinction lies with the gambling sites themselves. PlayNow holds the first online gambling licence issued in BC.
Gambling in BC is regulated by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB). This office oversees all gambling activities in the province including the BCLC, which is the provincial operator of all lotteries, casinos and bingo halls.
Casino winnings are not taxed in BC, the same way as they are in other provinces in Canada like Ontario and Québec. Players who win any amount from a casino game, horse race bet or lottery or bingo ticket can expect to claim the entire jackpot with no deductions.
According to figures from the BCLC, there are 35 land based casinos operating in BC, ranging from the relatively simple Chances Fort St. John to upscale venues like Parq Vancouver and Starlight Casino.
Cascades Casino Resort is the biggest casino in BC, in relation to gaming area with an area of 70,000 square feet and over 1,000 slot machines. Parq Vancouver is the biggest casino overall, with a total resort area of 700,000 square feet.