History of Indian Casinos in Canada

Everyone who knows anything about the gambling sphere in Canada, knows that First Nations tribes hold a majority of the industry. They have played a significant part in gambling for as long as we can remember. 

These days, even online casinos are operated by Indians/First Nations tribes. The most popular games at these sites are slots. Online casinos and online slots are extremely popular because they have tons of advantages over land-based facilities. Online slots real money Canada doesn’t limit you to a land-based location, which is a significant advantage to have. 

But, we are not here to talk about online casinos and their advantages. We are here to tell the history of Indian casinos in Canada. Without any further ado, let’s dive into the details. 

History of Indian Casinos

The history of Indian casinos in Canada takes us back to 1985 when the Canadian government allowed its provinces to regulate gambling. After the Saskatchewan First Nations Gaming Act was passed in the 1990s, it was a major breakthrough as it allowed First Nations casinos to operate.

After that, the gambling train started moving and the gambling law was even amended to suit the Indian casinos. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake started licensing online casinos which can legally accept Canadian players from all provinces. 

Additionally, an online casino in Canada is now considered legal if it is allowed on the province level or licensed by a First Nations tribe, according to the Constitution Act of 1982. As for the land-based casinos, a few provinces in Canada have brick-and-mortar casinos controlled by the First Nations tribes. 


Apart from being a geological wonder, Saskatchewan is one of the provinces in Canada where gambling is well-regulated. This province has a total of 6 casinos that are run by the Indian Gaming Authority and an additional two that the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation operates. The revenue is split three ways – between the General Revenue Fund, the Community Development Corporations, and the First Nations Trust. 


Alberta has over 25 casinos in which most operate on a charitable basis. But, some of these casinos are controlled by the government and there are a few First Nations tribes facilities of this kind. 

British Colombia and Manitoba

British Colombia is known to many as a place that has tons of tourist attractions. Out of the 15 gambling facilities in this province, only one is Indian. The gambling landscape in Manitoba is also similar. There is a mixture of online casinos that the government mostly owns, but there are also quite a few Indian casinos to visit. 

Newfoundland and Labrador

In these two states, most of the gambling forms are considered legal. Charitable gambling is present to an extent, when it comes to land-based gambling, these facilities are not allowed to operate. The only exception to this rule is Indian casinos who have the right to open their facilities.

Final Thoughts

Even though the First Nations have a complicated relationship with the government regarding gambling, as history can tell us, they managed to have a massive influence on both online and land-based operators in many of the provinces.

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