10 Statistics About Gambling and Gamblers in Canada 2021

statistics gambling Canada 2021 image
2021 Stats. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Gambling in Canada continues to grow both through its online and in-house presence and continues to be a significant employer and economic contributor. 

The gambling industry in Canada has always been dynamic. Today, about 75 per cent of Canadians regularly engage in some form of gambling, with scratch cards and lottery being the most popular forms of wagering. However, it is also estimated that over a million Canadians have risky gambling habits, and a quarter of a million locals are problem gamblers. 

Here are some of the most pertinent 2021 statistics for gambling in Canada:

 1. Number of casinos in Canada keeps growing

The number of casinos in Canada has nearly doubled since 2002, making gambling increasingly available to local players. In 2002, there were an estimated 3,2 electronic gambling machines per player, with the number currently standing at about 3,4.

2. Canadians prefer scratch cards and lottery

According to 2019 gambling statistics for Canada, 65 per cent of Canadians occasionally play the lottery. Additionally, 36 per cent prefer scratch cards, and 22 per cent mention casinos as their favourite gambling activity, of which half play slot machines.

3. Ontario is the largest gambling market within Canada

Ontario pulls in the most significant amount of gambling revenue in the country, estimated at CA$3,8 billion. Quebec is next with CA$2,7 billion, followed by British Columbia with CA$1,2 billion. Demographically, Ontario records the most considerable gambling losses, although this is due to it being the province with the largest population.

4. Most Canadian gamblers are between 35 and 50

However, this doesn’t mean that young people don’t gamble. E-sports betting, for instance, tends to attract younger punters. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to observe gambling inclinations concerning age differences. 

Bingo players are often older than 40, while younger gamblers prefer more dynamic forms of gambling and usually gamble online. Interestingly, slot players are generally older than 55. This is potentially due to the slot machines boom during the second half of the 20th century. At the time, this form of wagering used to be the equivalent of today’s online gambling.

5. Total Canadian gambling revenue has remained constant

In 2017, Canada’s total gambling revenue amounted to around CA$16 billion. This might appear like a significant rise, although it can be attributed to shifting gambling habits and a growing population. 

Stats show that casinos and lotteries are leading revenue contributors, with video lottery terminals and other forms of gambling accounting for a small percentage of total revenue.

6. Casino age in Canada varies

In most provinces, players must be at least 19 years of age to gamble, except in Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba, and the city of Ottawa, where the legal gambling age is 18. 

7. Canada is the eighth largest online gambling market globally

There is a growing number of gambling sites available to Canadians. This conversely contributes to the size of the Canadian gaming industry. It should be noted that regulations governing the Canadian online gambling industry are rather strict. This generally discourages the further proliferation of this market segment, with many Canadians choosing offshore gambling sites. 

8. More than 2 per cent of adult Canadians have risky gambling problems

Additionally, approximately 75 per cent of Canadians participate in some form of gambling. According to 2018 gambling statistics for Canada, there are around 0,6 per cent of problem gamblers in the country, which is substantially below the global average. Still, around 2,7 per cent of all Canadians were classified as risky gamblers. As far as provincial compulsive gambling stats are concerned, there are no significant differences.

Online gambling addiction doesn’t differ much from the “traditional” form. In fact, it will likely become the most prevalent source of gambling problems, as younger generations are more likely to take up this form of behaviour. 

9. Gambling addiction is accepted as a mitigating factor in the legal system

Problem gambling is often linked with crime. Usually, the most severe forms of addiction involve criminal behaviour aimed at obtaining the money to “chase the losses.” Canadian psychologists are increasingly aware that such behaviour results from habit rather than a desire to harm anyone willingly. 

The American Psychiatric Association has removed criminal behaviour from the catalogue of gambling disorder symptoms. In contrast, Canadian experts still recognise a link between the disorder and criminal behaviour. 

10. Gambling prevalence had fallen between 2002 and 2018

Canada is one of the few countries globally that has succeeded in educating large parts of its population about the vices of gambling. However, although Canadian gambling statistics are promising, the anti-gambling lobby in Canada still cannot let its guard down.

That’s because yearly gambling revenue per gambler has marginally increased from CA$453 to CA$503 between 2002 and 2018. There’s also an indication that problem gamblers are spending even more money than before.


It seems that Canada is handling the issues surrounding gambling effectively. Canadian culture doesn’t promote gambling in any way. The community often prompts those who have problems to seek expert help, which is readily available.

Additionally, Canadian gambling websites must include information on problem gambling and provide phone numbers for those who seek help. Some top Canadian online gambling sites even list other untrustworthy websites known for their devious tactics. Ultimately, the delicate balance between regulation and the open market has made gambling in Canada such a success that it is today.  

Picture of Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Bojan Lipovic - Digital Project Manager

Besides polishing his SEO skills, Bojan has a penchant for creative writing. With over half a decade of experience in the online gambling industry under his belt, his written take on the latest news from the Canadian and global gambling industries is an indispensable source of information for the CASINOenquirer team. Bojan’s primary goal is to ensure that players get a superior experience through the top-notch content that he shares.

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