As a team of Canadian casino insiders, we at InsideCasino are very familiar with the gambling scene of Nova Scotia. Our extensive testing and reviewing of NS casinos and beyond have given us deep knowledge of the NS gambling market and regulations.
Because most of its history before this is lost to time, the Nova Scotian gambling industry is typically agreed to have started in 1976 with the establishment of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation or ALC, which is the sole licensed lottery provider in Nova Scotia and its three fellow Atlantic provinces.
As gambling options continued to expand, the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority would be founded in 1995 to enact and enforce the industry, with the particular goals of eliminating criminal activity and protecting consumers from problem gambling. The country’s land-based gambling industry would flourish in the following years.
The provincial government of Nova Scotia sets and enforces standards of responsible gambling through the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation or NSGC. This arm of the government maintains the province’s self-exclusion registry and ensures casinos NS and other gambling establishments are properly disallowing these players from entering.
The gambling regulations in NS are more or less in line with the rest of Canada. Being on the east coast, NS gambling makes up one quarter of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and therefore gains access to their wide range of services.
Also like most other provinces, NS is mostly closed to third-party gambling firms, especially real money casino websites. This means that all of our recommended casino websites in Nova Scotia are offshore sites that operate outside of NS regulations.
The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation (formerly the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation) is the chief gambling regulator for the province. As befitting of the role, they have full control and responsibility of all gambling activities in Nova Scotia; however, they also work with other offices to get this job done.
The NSGC also manages the only two licensed gaming operators in the province. These are the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which operates land-based casinos, and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which runs lottery draws and offers online casino games.
All of the responsibilities and actions of the NSGC are done in line with the Gaming Control Act of Nova Scotia, which itself is based on Canada’s Criminal Code. The Criminal Code allows gambling operations within the country under the condition that it is done for charitable purposes. This is the basis for the “charitable gaming model” for provincial gambling in Nova Scotia and other provinces in the country.
The Alcohol and Gaming Division (AGD) of the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services handles licensing for casino NS and lottery establishments in the province. Although they do work with the NSGC to deal with the licences for provincial gaming establishments, the AGD is mostly known for providing temporary gaming licences to people who wish to run gambling events as part of an event.
Fairness in casino games and other gambling activities in the province are enforced by the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. The NSGC conducts regular audits on the operators that it manages to ensure the casinos have fast withdrawals and all games of chance are working fairly and as intended.
The minimum gambling age for Nova Scotians is 19 years old for all casinos and sports betting outlets. The only exception to this is in the national lottery, which has a minimum player age of 18 years old to stay in line with the minimum age in Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba.
The charitable gaming model comes back into play here. Players may not pay any tax from gambling winnings, but all of Nova Scotia’s licenced casinos, lotteries and other gaming establishments are directly managed by the government. This means that any money a player loses is given back to the Nova Scotian government, which will be used to improve services and undertake projects like road repair and others.
Lotteries in Nova Scotia are handled by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, a crown corporation that was established by the provincial governments for gambling in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Players can join in lottery draws by buying tickets online through the ALC.ca website or in-person at kiosks, convenience stores, and other retail outlets. Lottery draws here range from the $1,000 Daily Grand all the way to the ALC-wide Lotto 6/49 and the Lotto Max national draw.
The ALC is also responsible for providing Nova Scotians with sports betting options through the ProLine platform. This can be done online at ALC.ca, and lets players bet on sports events happening across Canada and the US. The range of events available is also quite good, including staples like basketball, football and hockey while also having other sports like curling and some eSports events.
Nova Scotian players have various casino banking methods to choose from when gambling in the province. The choices, however, vary quite a bit depending on where you gamble.
For instance, playing on ALC.ca, Nova Scotia’s only legal and licenced online casino, lets players deposit through credit cards, bank transfers, and Interac which runs on the Gigadat casino payments platform. However, once one goes to an offshore online casino, other payment methods like prepaid cards, e-wallets and cryptocurrency open up, giving players more choice and control over how they want their funds moved into and out of their casino accounts.
The casino community in Nova Scotia does not have quite the level of support and attention as the other provinces. Despite this, Nova Scotians aren’t completely out of options when it comes to land-based online gambling. Land based casinos are operated by Casino Nova Scotia, which has 2 locations, both of which are modern classy establishments with a great range of games.
The Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax is the largest casino in the Atlantic provinces, with its casino floor housing over 650 slot machines and 32 gaming tables. A specialized high-limit gambling area, as well as a separate poker room with eight tables, are available as gaming choices. Classic slots from all of the main suppliers are available, many of which include progressive jackpots. These are paired with a more limited selection of the most recent releases.
Games: Slots, Blackjack, Baccarat, Poker, Roulette
Location: 1983 Upper Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 3Y5, Canada
The Sydney location is largely considered to be the satellite branch of the Halifax venue of Casino Scotia, with an overall smaller footprint and game selection. A total of more than 270 slots and electronic games alongside 8 tables for live games are available here, along with a small but active poker room with four tables. Slots feature progressive jackpot games from the industry’s largest suppliers, as well as video poker alternatives. Tables are restricted to the most often used format.
Games: Slots, Blackjack, Baccarat, Poker, Roulette
Location: George Street, Sydney, NS B1P 1K5
Online gambling in Nova Scotia is legal as long as it is formally licensed by the province. At the time of writing, this licence has only been granted to the ALC.ca casino. All other casino sites that Nova Scotians can find and play on are based in other regions.
Gambling is regulated in Nova Scotia by the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority, which oversees all gambling activities in the province and enforces rules in accordance with the provincial Gaming Control Act.
Casino winnings in Nova Scotia are not taxed, the same way that they are in the rest of the country. Nova Scotians can play new casino sites do sports betting or the lottery in the province and can expect to cash out the full amount of their prizes with no deductions.
Nova Scotia is currently home to two land-based casino venues—these are branches of Casino Nova Scotia located in Sydney and in Halifax.