What Types of Gambling Exist in Canada?

Published: 15 April 2020

Written by: BryanL

types of gambling image

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of the term “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 far more types of gambling methods than meets the eye.  For those wishing to wager their money, the options go far beyond the limits of local in-house or online casinos.

Types of Gambling

Although gambling games haven’t changed that much over the years, the way 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 take a look at the four of the most prominent types of gambling that you can access in Canada and how they differ from one another:

1. Casino Gambling

If you wish to take gambling back to the basics, then a visit to your local brick-and-mortar casino or a login to an online casino website should do the trick.  From all-time favourites such as slots machines to table games like craps, roulette and blackjack, a comprehensive casino will have a broad offer of games for you to choose from and take a lucky shot to walk away with pocketfuls of cash.   

There are a few subtle differences between playing at an online as opposed to an in-house casino:

  • At an online casino, you can change venues faster than Speedy Gonzales. All it takes is to close an online casino website and go to another, without ever leaving the comfort of your sofa.  In an in-house casino, you are pretty much tied to the casino building and going to an alternative casino will require you physically transporting yourself there.
  • Although not always the case, minimum bets, in general, 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 usually lower than for the operators of in-house casinos.
  • Physical space restrictions limit In-house casinos. Once the floor is filled up with a certain number of slots machines and gaming tables, no further additions can be made, unless some features are taken out and replaced.  On the other hand, cyberspace is limitless and online casinos can often offer a much broader selection of games than their in-house competitors, offering as many as thousands of slots titles alone.
  • 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 very 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 offer a great deal of convenience, many players still prefer the allure of a real casino, where they can enjoy the classic casino vibe, good food, side drinks and the hustle and bustle of the masses.

2. Sports Betting

From the times of 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 stars, with popular ones being horse racing, combat sports, soccer and basketball.  These bets can now be done either while attending a live game or electronically.

There are a few types of sports bets that exist:


The simplest form of betting, where you pick a team or sportsperson you expect to win and place your wager 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 will then 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 simply gamble on the outcome of this game segment, instead of on the entire game.

3. Poker

We usually associate poker with smoky saloons of the Wild West, where strong characters test their luck around a poker table, clenching a cigar in their mouth and a whiskey glass in their hand.  Although the times have changed, the rules remain the same.

There are several different types of poker games that can be played, and you can partake in these either through an in-house casino or via an online casino or a poker betting website.  There are also live TV tournaments that you can follow, during which you can place your wagers.  

4. Lottery Games

We’ve all likely played the national lottery at least once in our lives.  Lotto games are notorious for offering the worst odds ever to win, but for those lucky few that are fortunate enough to walk away with the prize, the cash amounts can be dizzying.  There’s no technique or strategy here to follow.  Every game that you play boils down to chance and 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 a matter of seconds.  The modus of these is to select what is usually a set of six numbers and see if they come up in a draw.


With these, you would purchase a scratch card and scrape off a silver film to reveal the symbols underneath.  If you get a combination of the same symbol, you will win the designated prize.  For online versions, the scratching is done by clicking a button.


The first image that comes to mind when one thinks of bingo is a congregation of elderly ladies raising their bingo cards.  Although the demographics of bingo players might have changed over the past few years, 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 mark off a winning pattern wins, as long as they scream out the word “bingo” on time (to our relief, this requirement is not required for online play!).

While the above list does not form a definite catalogue of all the types of gambling available in Canada, it gives a clearer idea of the most popular methods of wagering.  One can add to this mix some more unconventional methods of proverbially “gambling with your money” like the stock exchange and even school raffles, although this is left to interpretation.  In the end, the choice is yours how you wish to strike it rich, and we hope you select a method that will be most providential for you. 

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