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Gambling Offences

Drug Offence

Gambling Offence Lawyer In Toronto



In general, gambling is specifically prohibited in Canada and offences related to gambling are set out in the Criminal Code. The two main exceptions to this prohibition are: Gambling activities conducted and managed by the Province; and Gambling activities conducted and managed pursuant to a licence issued by the Province.

Illegal Gambling Offences are found in Part VII of the Criminal Code, which is entitled "Disorderly Houses, Gaming and Betting".

There are several offences in relation to Illegal Gambling under the Criminal Code

  • Keeping a Gaming/Betting House (s.201);
  • Person found in or owner permitting use of premises as a Gaming House (s.201(2));
  • Betting and Book-Making (s.202);
  • Placing Bets for Others (s.203).

Keeping a Gaming/Betting House (s.201)

The offence of Keeping a Gaming/Betting House (s.201) is a hybrid offence, meaning that the Crown can elect to proceed by Indictment or by Summary Conviction. If the crown proceeds by Indictment, the maximum sentence for this offence is 2 years.

A "common betting house" is defined as a place that is opened, kept or used for the purpose of enabling, encouraging or assisting persons who resort thereto to bet between themselves or with the keeper, or enabling any person to receive, record, register, transmit or pay bets or to announce the results of betting.

"Common Gaming House" is a term used in the Criminal Code to describe establishments where gambling or betting takes place. These establishments could be accessible to the public or they could be private locations open only to certain individuals. There are certain factors that are general indicators of whether or not an establishment is a common gaming house:

  • The place where the gaming occurs is kept for gain;
  • A person in charge of the place where the gaming occurs knows the gaming is taking place and is encouraging it in some manner;
  • There is a chance to win or lose money (or some item of value) for the players of the game;
  • There is a fee (direct or indirect) to play the game;
  • A portion of the proceeds of the game go to the person in charge of the place where the gaming occurs;
  • There is a bank that is not equally held by all of the players; or,
  • The chances of winning are not equally favourable to all players

The Criminal Code specifically mentions that a place is not a "common gaming house" while it is occupied and used by an incorporated genuine social club or branch thereof, if the whole or any portion of the bets on or proceeds from games played therein is not directly or indirectly paid to the keeper, and no fee is charged to persons for the right or privilege of participating in the games played therein other than under the authority of and in accordance with the terms of a licence issued by the Attorney General of the province in which the place is situated or his designate.

Person found in or owner permitting use of premises as a Gaming House (s.201(2))

The offences of Person found in or owner permitting use of premises as a Gaming House (s.201(2)) is a straight Summary Conviction offence.

Betting and Book-Making (s.202)

The offence of Betting and Book-Making (s.202) is a straight Indictable offence. The maximum sentence that can be imposed for a first offence, is imprisonment for not more than two years. For a second offence, the maximum sentence is imprisonment for not more than two years and not less than fourteen days. For each subsequent offence the maximum sentence is imprisonment for not more than two years and not less than three months.

The Offence of Betting and Book-Making (s.202) requires that the crown prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person:

  • uses or knowingly allows a place under his control to be used for the purpose of recording or registering bets or selling a pool; or,

  • imports, makes, buys, sells, rents, leases, hires or keeps, exhibits, employs or knowingly allows to be kept, exhibited or employed in any place under his control any device or apparatus for the purpose of recording or registering bets or selling a pool, or any machine or device for gambling or betting; or,

  • has under his control any money or other property relating to a transaction that is an offence under this section; or,

  • records or registers bets or sells a pool; or,

  • engages in book-making or pool-selling, or in the business or occupation of betting, or makes any agreement for the purchase or sale of betting or gaming privileges, or for the purchase or sale of information that is intended to assist in book-making, pool-selling or betting; or,

  • prints, provides or offers to print or provide information intended for use in connection with book-making, pool-selling or betting on any horse-race, fight, game or sport, whether or not it takes place in or outside Canada or has or has not taken place; or,

  • imports or brings into Canada any information or writing that is intended or is likely to promote or be of use in gambling, book-making, pool-selling or betting on a horse-race, fight, game or sport, and where this paragraph applies it is immaterial ... whether the information is published before, during or after the race, fight game or sport, or ... whether the race, fight, game or sport takes place in Canada or elsewhere and the publication is not "a newspaper, magazine or other periodical published in good faith primarily for a purpose other than the publication of such information"; or,

  • advertises, prints, publishes, exhibits, posts up, or otherwise gives notice of any offer, invitation or inducement to bet on, to guess or to foretell the result of a contest, or a result of or contingency relating to any contest; or,

  • wilfully and knowingly sends, transmits, delivers or receives any message that conveys any information relating to book-making, pool-selling, betting or wagering, or that is intended to assist in book-making, pool-selling, betting or wagering; or

  • aids or assists in any manner in anything that is an offence set out above.

Placing Bets for Others (s.203)

Placing Bets for Others (s.203) is a straight Indictable offence. The maximum sentence that can be imposed for a first offence, is imprisonment for not more than two years. For a second offence, the maximum sentence is imprisonment for not more than two years and not less than fourteen days. For each subsequent offence the maximum sentence is imprisonment for not more than two years and not less than three months.

The Offence of Placing Bets for Others (s.203) requires that the crown prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person:

  • places or offers or agrees to place a bet on behalf of another person for a consideration paid or to be paid by or on behalf of that other person; or,

  • engages in the business or practice of placing or agreeing to place bets on behalf of other persons, whether for a consideration or otherwise, or\

  • holds himself out or allows himself to be held out as engaging in the business or practice of placing or agreeing to place bets on behalf of other persons, whether for a consideration or otherwise

Special Search Warrants for Gaming/Betting Houses

These search warrants may be issued under s.199 of the Criminal Code. If a Justice is satisfied by information on oath that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence under section 201, 202, 203, 206 or 207 is being committed at any place, the justice may issue a warrant authorizing a peace officer to enter and search the place by day or night and seize anything found in that place that may be evidence that an offence under section 201, 202, 203, 206 or 207 is being committed at that place.

A police officer is permitted to take into custody any person whom he finds keeping a common gaming house and any person whom he finds inside. He may also seize anything that may be evidence that an offence is being committed.

Adam Steven Boni, LL.B. - Gambling Offence Lawyer In Toronto

Illegal gambling houses are being increasingly targeted by authorities and resulting in individuals being charged as Found-Ins, Keepers, Book Makers and Betters.

Mr. Boni has extensive experience in the defending cases of this nature, including large and complex variations of these cases which further allege participation in a criminal organization. There are numerous substantive and Charter of Rights defences available to persons charged with these offences.

If you have been charged with an illegal Gambling Offence, contact Adam Steven Boni, LL.B. to learn about your options and to discover your best possible defence.

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