Government of Nova Scotianovascotia.ca
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Gaming

The Criminal Code of Canada is the legislation that permits provinces to be involved in gaming activities. The Code defines a lottery scheme as any plan or proposal in which a person disposes of valuable property through a mode of chance. As such, a lottery scheme as defined in the Code would contain the following three elements:

  • The disposition of property (a prize).
  • Any mode of chance whatsoever involved in obtaining the prize (chance).
  • Consideration exchanged for a chance to win the prize (i.e., paying money for a chance to win a prize).
  • It is important to remember that, generally speaking, under the Criminal Code of Canada gambling is illegal. That same Code creates exceptions to this general rule, and it is under these exceptions that provincially licensed gambling occurs.

The Criminal Code of Canada creates two basic ways for the provinces to permit the conduct and management of lottery schemes. Firstly, the provincial government is authorized to conduct and manage lottery schemes alone or in conjunction with other provinces, pursuant to any applicable legislation enacted by the Province. It is under this provision, for instance, that Nova Scotia participates with the other Atlantic Provinces in carrying out lottery schemes through the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Secondly, the Lieutenant Governor in Council can appoint provincial licensing authorities to license others to conduct and manage lottery schemes. This allows charitable and religious organizations, and fairs and exhibitions, to conduct and manage lottery schemes, provided they hold a provincial gaming licence.

The Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division has been designated as the authority responsible for licensing and regulating lottery schemes in this Province which are permitted by the Code.

This role includes the regulation of all gaming activity conducted by the Provincial Government, and the licensing and regulation of other legal gaming activity in the province, in accordance with the principles set forth in the Code. Exceptions to the Division's general licensing and regulation jurisdiction are created by the Native Gaming Agreements, and the Maritime Harness Racing Authority (which is responsible for the conduct of harness racing and related pari-mutuel activities in the Province).