What’s Behind The Growth Of Online Gambling In Canada?
Published: 12 January 2020
Written by: MaraF
Looking back at the last three decades of gambling history in Canada, and one cannot overlook how this industry segment has expanded in leaps and bounds. A mere 25 years ago, things like online casinos in Canada were science fiction, while only a few brick-and-mortar casinos were beginning to rear their heads shyly. It seemed almost impossible that within a quarter of a century, Canada would become one of the most fertile online casino markets in the world. And, with annual online betting growth appearing to be unstoppable, the opportunities abound for both players and online casino operators.
Canadian Casino growth and Shift from in-House to Online Casinos
Overall, the global gaming industry annually accumulates staggering amounts that are worth billions of dollars. With the forecasted revenue expected to hit US$500 billion by 2023, the gambling market is seen as one of the fastest-growing industries globally.
Canada has wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to the gambling craze and is estimated to be one of the top ten countries with the most significant number of gamblers amongst its population. This is mainly because the Canadian laws that govern gambling are a bit more relaxed, as opposed to more stringent criteria across the border in the US.
A recent study conducted by Research and Markets took a look at the growth of the betting industry in Canada. It noted a prevailing shift of players from traditional gambling to online betting. This pattern makes logical sense since online wagering has become the fastest growing segment of the overall betting industry, as more and more people shift to online due to convenience and ease of access.
Preferred Canadian Online Casino Games and Providers
When it comes to online gambling, Canadian players prefer slots games. These vary in the number of reels and themes, and players are guaranteed always to find a game that suits their expectations. When it comes to table and live games, the choice of Canadian players primarily falls on blackjack. However, with such a vast array of online games to choose from, the Canadian online betting industry cashes in a whopping CA$31 billion annually.
As for casino software providers, some of the firm favourites are NetEnt, Microgaming, PlayTech and Real Time Gaming. These providers are renowned for their variety and for constantly launching new betting games.
Legalities of Online Gambling in Canada
While gambling is socially acceptable in Canada, the legal framework that governs it has a few ambiguities. Canadian Criminal Code states that non-state licensed operators are not allowed to accept bets from Canadians online. However, this is not enforced on online casino providers that are located outside Canada and offer services to local players. Furthermore, the central government has delegated the decision on gambling to each of the provinces and territories, for them to make an independent assessment on the feasibility of online gaming.
Progressively, Quebec is seen as a benchmark of online gambling legislation in Canada. With a broadminded outlook on casinos and online casinos, many other states like Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan are trying to emulate this legal framework for their jurisdictions. The aim is to have a fully regulated online gambling and iGaming sectors in the not too distant future.
Statistics of Canadian gambling industry
When it comes to statistics, Ontario has the majority of gamblers in Canada, as well as the highest gambling revenue. The compounded annual growth rate of Ontario for gambling is 28,1%. British Columbia follows closely behind with 24,6%, while Quebec has an impressive 20,3% growth rate.
Even so, most online casinos are based overseas, earning from Canadians and funnelling the money out of the country. While the Canadian government continues to take its time with publishing definitive guidelines for online gambling, the players and operators continue to be left in a somewhat grey area.
With the numbers supporting the overall trend, it appears certain that Canada is heading towards a period of rapid growth of the online gambling industry. The advancements in know-how that includes mobile and augmented reality technology are all pushing for the growth of online gambling worldwide. And, all of this will continue to push forward online gambling in Canada, adding new players and providers to the mix annually.