What Types of Gambling Exist in Canada?

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The first thing that springs to mind when we think of gambling is the sights and sounds of a Las Vegas-style casino.  The rolling slots, the numerous table games and the VIP salons all add to the imagery.  But there are more types of gambling than meets the eye.  For those wishing to wager their money, the choices extend beyond the limits of local in-house or online casinos.

Types of Gambling

Although wagering games haven’t changed that much over the years, how you gain access to them has.  With the advent of the internet, a whole new world of online gambling and betting has developed, making a physical presence at a gambling establishment no longer necessary.

Let’s look at the four most widespread types of gambling available in Canada and how they differ:

1. Casino Gambling

If you wish to take gambling back to the basics, visiting your local brick-and-mortar casino or logging in to an online casino website should do the trick.  From all-time favourites such as slot machines to table games like craps, roulette, and blackjack, casinos have a broad range of games to choose from.

There are a few differences between online and in-house casinos:

  • At an online casino, you can change venues faster than Speedy Gonzales. All it takes is to move from one online casino website to another from the comfort of your chair.  In an in-house casino, you are limited to the casino building and going to an alternative casino will require that you physically transport yourself there.
  • Although not always the case, minimum bets generally tend to be lower at an online casino. Online casinos can afford to provide their players with this benefit since the operating and overhead costs are lower than for the operators of in-house casinos.
  • Physical space restrictions limit in-house casinos. Once the floor is filled with slot machines and gaming tables, no further additions are possible unless some devices are removed and replaced.  On the other hand, cyberspace is limitless, and online casinos offer a much broader selection of games than their land-based competitors.
  • In-house casinos are usually generous with their top players, rewarding them with perks such as hotel stays, free food and drinks and shuttle services. Online casinos also have well-established loyalty programmes but tend to offer more modest gifts to a larger selection of players.  For example, an online casino might give you a welcome bonus when you register and play at that casino for the first time.  There are also grand prizes like holidays and sports cars, although the focus is on smaller bonuses for a more substantial number of players.
  • Although online casinos are convenient to use, many players still prefer the allure of a real casino, where they can enjoy classic casino vibes, good food at top restaurants, exotic cocktails at glitzy rooftop bars, and the hustle and bustle of the casino floor.

2. Sports Betting

From the times of the ancient Olympic Games and the great Circus Maximus in Rome, betting on sports events has been a favourite pastime of the masses.  Today, you can bet on almost any sport under the sun, with popular ones being horse racing, hockey, football, and basketball.  These bets can be placed while attending a live game or electronically.

There are a few types of gambling on sports:


The simplest form of betting is picking a team or a sportsperson you expect to win and placing your bet on them.


These focus on a combined score at the end of a game.  For example, you might predict a soccer game ending 4:2 in favour of your team.  You will have to predict the exact final score to win.

Point Spread

This betting focuses on a margin of points scored during a match.  If your bet falls within the range that each team scores, you win the bet.

Special bets

Some betting can get creative and focus on certain parts of a single game.  For example, if a soccer match goes into a penalty shootout, you can gamble on the outcome of this specific game segment instead of on the entire game.

3. Poker

We often associate poker with smoky saloons, where rough-around-the-edges characters tested their skills around a poker table, clenching a cigar in their mouth and a whiskey glass in their hand.  Although times have changed, the rules remain the same.

There are several different types of poker games, and you can partake in these either at an in-house casino, online casino, or poker betting website.  There are also live TV tournaments during which you can place your bets.

4. Lottery Games

We’ve all likely played the national lottery at least once.  Lotto games are notorious for offering the worst odds to win, but for those lucky few who are fortunate enough to walk away with the grand prize, the winnings are enormous.  There isn’t a technique or strategy to follow in a lottery, and every game boils down to luck.

There are three main types of lottery games:

State lotteries

These are the most popular lottery games, offering instant wins that can take you from pauper to millionaire in seconds.  The modus of these is to select a set of six numbers and see if they come up in a draw.


Here you purchase a scratch card and scrape off the silver film to reveal the characters underneath.  If you get a combination of the same symbol, you win.  For online versions, the scratching is done by clicking a button.


One might associate bingo with a throng of elderly ladies shouting “bingo” every few seconds.  Although the demographics of bingo players might have changed over the past few decades, the rules have remained the same.  Your task is to mark off a set of numbers on your card as the bingo host calls them out.  The first player to predict a winning pattern would win, as long as they shout out “bingo” on time (to our relief, this requirement is not necessary for online play!).

While the above list does not form a complete catalogue of all types of gambling available in Canada, it reveals the most popular methods of wagering.  One can add to this mix some more unconventional wagering methods, like the stock exchange and even school raffles, although this is left to interpretation.  In the end, you choose how to strike it rich, and we hope you select the most profitable method.

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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