Gambling in Canada

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
CRIM 4470
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
Gambling has become a ubiquitous form of human behaviour in most societies. This course considers gambling in late modernity through an examination of the historical, legal, political, economic, social and cultural features of western societies with an emphasis on how these features have influenced public policies in Canada. Course themes include an historical synopsis, legal issues, public policy formation, gambling participation, gambling addiction, government operation and regulation, Indigenous gaming, and criminological concerns such as organized crime, loan sharking, money laundering, fraud and corruption.
Course Content
  1. History of gambling in Canada
  2. Political, legal, social, economic, cultural forces shaping gambling globally and within Canada
  3. Provincial-federal relations with respect to lotteries and other forms of legal gambling
  4. Pathological and problem gambling, and how it is measured, assessed, treated
  5. Operational and regulatory models of legal gambling in Canada
  6. The status of Indigenous gaming in Canada
  7. The gambling-crime nexus
  8. Global gambling expansion and its impact on Canadian gambling policies
  9. The future of  such gambling activities as: bingo, casinos, Video Lottery Terminals, and  Internet gambling
  10. Community perceptions of the costs/benefits of gambling
Learning Activities

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lectures

  • seminars
  • audio visual material
  • small group discussions
  • research projects and research papers

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on the Douglas College Evalulation Policy. An example of the methods used is as follows: 

 Class Presentation

Term Assignment (e.g. Term Paper)  30%
Term Exams  (x2)  50%
Final Examination  10%
Total 100%
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss the key dates and circumstances surrounding amendments to the gambling sections of the Criminal Code of Canada.
  2. Examine the legal, social, political, and economic forces that have shaped Canada’s gambling laws and policies.
  3. Explain the role played by provincial governments in monopolizing and expanding legal gambling in Canada.
  4. Critically assess the extent and impact of problem gambling in Canada.
  5. Describe and explain the strategies developed to ameliorate problem gambling in Canada.
  6. Identify and discuss the economic costs and benefits of expanded legal gambling.
  7. Examine the nature of the global expansion of gambling and its impact on Canadian gambling policies.
  8. Discuss and critique the relationship between gambling and crime.
  9. Explain the regulatory and operational models of gambling in Canada, including the status of gambling in Indigenous territories.
  10. Analyze the prospects of continued expansion of legal gambling, such as casinos, lotteries, and Internet-based gambling.
Textbook Materials

Course pack of relevant selected readings will be available, subject to copyright approval.

Texts will be updated periodically.

Examples may include:


  1. Belanger, Y.D. (2019). Gambling with the Future: The Evolution of Aboriginal Gaming in Canada. Purich Publishing.
  2. Cosgrave, J. (2013). The Sociology of Risk and Gambling Reader. Routledge Press.
  3. Cosgrave, J. & Klassen, T.R. (2009) Casino State: Legalized Gambling in Canada, U. of T. Press, Toronto.
  4. Morton, S (2003) At Odds: Gambling & Canadians 1919-1969, U. of T. Press, Toronto.





No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CRIM 4470
Langara College (LANG) LANG CRIM 2XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CRIM 3XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU SOCI 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HUMA 4XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ARTS 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ARTS 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC SOSC 3XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV CRIM 4XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOCI 4XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023