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Online casino in Canada

Even though Canada is not considered to be the world’s gambling capital, such as Las Vegas or Monaco, the gambling business is flourishing here. The Canadian authorities are very flexible in regulating the industry, and therefore gambling in the country is becoming increasingly popular.

History of gambling in Canada

The history of gambling in Canada goes back centuries. Even before the Ice Age, Canadians played Slahal with sticks and bones. GURU Slots mentioned this game for a reason: in the culture of Canada it is not just entertainment, but a game with great spiritual and social significance. And if we go back to our days, we will see that the majority of Canadians still enjoy gambling. But what are words to us? We suggest reading the article and looking at the numbers.

The indigenous people played various gambling games even before the British pioneers came to Canada. However, having settled here, they banned this entertainment. The laws were somewhat softened after a few hundred years.

In 1900, they were allowed to play bingo for charitable purposes. Since 1970, other types of games have been gradually introduced. In 1974, the first lottery was held to fund the Montreal Olympic Games. And in 1989, the first commercial casino was opened in Winnipeg.

Gambling in Canada today

Today, almost 20 million Canadians play in them. It should be borne in mind that the country’s population is 37.59 million. With this number of players, Canada is ranked 8th in the global online gambling rankings.

The gambling business in Canada has an uncertain status, although there are some peculiarities. The industry’s gross revenue is CAD 31 billion annually. Over the past 20 years, the volume of the online gambling market has quadrupled.

The gambling business employs over 160,000 people. Revenues to the government budget and various social programs – up to 11 billion CAD annually.

Canadian provinces spend about 110 million CAD on protecting players from addiction – this includes research, preventive measures, and treatment. The percentage of gamblers depending on the province ranges from 0.7 to 1.4 percent of all players.

The legality of gambling in Canada

Casinos in Canada have been legalized since 1999. For example, gambling is now legal throughout the country, but online gambling laws are defined locally in each province.
Online gambling was banned until 2009. In 2010, the Province of British Columbia opened an official online casino, and Quebec opened an online poker room. In the years that followed, several more states opened their online casinos or commercial lotteries on the Internet. But in Canada, there are still provinces in which these entertainments are prohibited.

Often so-called “legal representatives” are involved in online gambling. Typically, this role is played by the Royal Corporation. Thus, online gambling in Canada is a government monopoly.

At the end of 2014, the Quebec government published a report justifying the need to change the Criminal Code regarding online games. An amendment to the Code should allow provinces to grant online gaming licenses to individuals. In 2016, Quebec banned access to illegal websites.

To operate legally, a Canadian casino applies for a license with the local government. Online casinos are now available in every province, except for Saskatchewan. However, by law, a license for this format of gambling is allowed to be issued only in British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. Without documentary evidence, online casino sites can only operate locally. Games can only be played across provincial borders if there is a special agreement between the local authorities of specific provinces.

Unlicensed offshore casinos fall into a gray legal zone and can operate more or less freely in the country. According to Canadian criminal law, only regular casinos can be punished. In simple terms, if you do not physically operate a casino in Canada, the lack of a license will most likely get away with you. Officially, online casinos should not target a Canadian audience, but there is no law prohibiting residents of this country from playing on offshore sites.

Following the example of the United States, gambling laws can vary significantly in each of the Canadian provinces. Also, each of them has its gaming commission, which regulates gambling entertainment.
The minimum age for gamblers and the types of gambling allowed vary from province to province. So, in most Canadian states it is allowed to play in casinos from the age of 19, but in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, the age limit was lowered to 18 years.

Interesting fact! According to Canadian law, player winnings are not taxed unless they are a form of earnings. This is determined by 3 factors: the skills of a professional player, the regularity of payments, and the expectation of the next payments. That is if you do not play at the casino professionally, but only from time to time, you can receive your winnings in full without deductions to the budget.

Also, depending on the legislation, the province allows or prohibits the work of offline and online casinos, lotteries, sweepstakes. Lotteries operate legally in most provinces of Canada. But there are restrictions on bets and casinos in many of them.

Until 2009, gambling sites in Canada were banned, but this did not stop Canadians from gambling on a variety of offshore sites. The Canadian Criminal Code does not make gambling illegal. Currently, any province in Canada can authorize, license, and regulate its gambling sites. The Canawag (Canada) Gambling Commission is another online casino regulator in the country that also operates its servers. This commission is one of the most preferred regulators of online casinos in other parts of the world.

A March 2010 survey by Ipsos Reid concluded that nearly 77% of Canadian respondents consider online gambling legal, while 55% of Canadians support the idea that gambling can be allowed but regulated. state laws.

In July 2010, British Columbia, through the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), became the first Canadian province to open an online casino to its residents. British Columbia launched online poker in early 2011 and now intends to introduce mobile games as well.

In December 2010, Loto-Quebec introduced online poker as well as casino-style games to its residents, while in January 2013, Manitoba began to regulate online gaming, namely poker and other casino-style games. BCLC, Loto-Quebec, and Manitoba Lotteries have joined the Canadian Poker Network, the first regulated poker network in North America, allowing players from these provinces to play at a single online table.

Since August 2004, Atlantic Lottery has maintained its online gaming site, which offers a variety of gaming solutions for Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia residents over the age of 19.

Young people tend to gamble at higher stakes. A report from the Alberta Alberta Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC 2005) allowed gambling for Alberta youth: A 2002 review of youth experiences in Alberta reported that earlier studies of young people in grades 7 through 12 in 8 Canadian provinces showed: Over the past 12 months, only 41% in Alberta and as much as 78% in Manitoba of young people have taken part in gambling.

Young people also tend to gamble on the Internet at higher stakes than adults. A 2007 study of the prevalence of gambling among middle-aged people in Nova Scotia concluded that only 1.6% of the area’s residents gambled online. Another study was conducted by the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation (2006, Deciphering Risks: Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors in Nova Scotia) and found that young people tried online gambling for real or virtual money. in the following proportions: 19% – between the ages of 15 and 17; 15% – at the age of 18 and 12% – 19-20 years. The same survey showed that the majority of respondents (67%) are neutral or slightly positive about gambling as an activity, 76% believe that “gambling is harmless”, and 54% – that “gambling will not harm anyone.”

So far, not a single person in Canada has been convicted of gambling online – so this is unlikely to lead to legal problems. If you are not sure that a particular online casino is legal, then you will have to do a little research on this issue, or even better check out such a casino on the GURU Slots website. But even if there is a specific law according to which a certain gambling site is prohibited in your area, keep in mind that most of them operate outside the jurisdiction. Thus, shutting down all sites is an impossible task if there is no structured legislation.

The future of online gambling in Canada

The online gambling industry in Canada has indeed recorded significant growth and has generated remarkable revenues over the past decade, suggesting that regulation is more than necessary. The relevant question is whether the federal and provincial governments will take action to regulate the industry, or whether it will be done by non-governmental organizations.

According to the global gaming forecast published by PwC, Canada may lead the United States in regulating the online casino industry at the state level, while cooperation between the provinces continues to gain momentum. These measures will spur further growth and attract even more international and offshore providers in the Canadian region. In addition to local operators, the Canadian online gaming market could attract US land-based casino companies.

Proponents of the idea argue that no changes to the legal status of gambling in the Canadian Criminal Code will be possible without fierce opposition from political actors whose economic interests would be threatened by further liberalization of the industry.

Gaming Regulators in Canada

Due to the existing legislative framework, the authorities of the Canadian provinces are both operators and regulators of the gambling business. Legislative acts have some similar aspects, on which they focus. These include:

  • protecting society from the unwanted consequences of gambling;
  • responsible game;
  • location and size of gambling establishments;
  • the types and number of games offered;
  • financial control;
  • the investigation, security, and surveillance of gambling sites.

Horse racing is controlled jointly with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry has a special department for horse racing – the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA). This agency creates the proper legal framework and regulates horse racing throughout the country.

Usually, lottery commissions are created in the provinces – for example, The Western Canada Lottery Corporation, British Columbia Lottery Corporation. In others, the Alcohol and Gambling Commissions become regulators – for example, Manitoba Liquor and Lottery Corporation.

Some provinces outsource some of their regulatory issues to the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch in British Columbia.

Conditions for obtaining a license

There is no concept of a license in Canada. Gambling is usually offered by the authorities through Crown corporations. The state works through the Commissions and Corporations mentioned above.

In many provinces, lottery corporations sign agreements with private operators to provide the required services. This contractual framework removes the concept of licenses.

Service providers work with private businesses and government regulators. They supply services, equipment, goods, and products. Service providers are required to be registered with provincial regulators.

Each province forms its conditions and requirements for the issuance of permits and contracts. For example, British Columbia offers four types of permits, which differ in the amount of gambling revenue they offer. The permit is valid for up to 12 months.

Apart from the provinces themselves, only charitable or religious organizations can offer bingo and lotteries. Charities do not offer slot machines or casino games.

Most Popular Online Casinos in Canada

The provinces that receive the most income from the gambling business: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta.

The most popular types of gambling in Canada are sports betting, lotteries, bingo, slot machines, and online and offline casinos.

Land-based casinos are gradually becoming less popular: all legal gambling establishments in Canada reported a drop in revenue even before the quarantine began. For example, casino revenues in Alberta for 2018-2019 confirm this trend with a 24% decrease in profit from offline casinos. After the introduction of quarantine restrictions, the provincial government decided to launch its online casinos to somehow stay afloat and continue to earn money. The same thing happened in other provinces.

Popular slot machines in the country

The most popular slot machines in Canada:

  • Nordic Heroes;
  • Cleopatra;
  • Power Hits;
  • Wheel of Fortune;
  • Triple Diamonds.

Nordic Heroes is a 5-reel, 30-pay line slot from IGT. The slot has a chance to get free spins, bonus games, and a progressive jackpot. As the game progresses, the user advances through the levels.

Cleopatra is a 5 reel IGT slot with 20 pay lines. The device has the opportunity to get free spins with win multipliers.

Power Hits is a 5-reel slot machine from IGT. There is a chance to hit the progressive jackpot by opening one of three bonus games.

Wheel of Fortune is a 5-reel progressive slot from IGT with 720 ways to collect winning combinations. The bonus game allows you to get the jackpot.

Triple Diamonds is an IGT slot with 3 reels and 9 pay lines. A jackpot of up to x1199 line bets is available.

Demography gamblers in Canada

It is generally believed that only men are attracted to gambling, but this is not the case in Canada: the statistics of gamblers is 54% among men and 46% among women. It is worth noting that women are more likely to use mobile devices than men: 55% of all women play from their phones. Canada is the only country to see this trend.

One of the reasons gambling is so prevalent in Canada is because almost all casinos allow online gambling. It is cheaper and more convenient for Canadians to play on the Internet than in a regular casino. It should be noted that the percentage of winnings in online casinos is higher (over 96%) than in offline ones (less than 60%) – and this is also an important aspect in choosing a game format.

Forecasts for the future of the gambling industry in Canada

As offline casinos close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players around the world are switching to online betting and casinos. Canadians are no exception. But we must not forget that the shift began long before the pandemic, so at the time of its completion, it is unlikely that anything will change.

Fast, cheap, and almost universal Internet access from a mobile phone makes online gambling in Canada open to almost everyone.

There are already alternatives for those players who miss the real casino atmosphere. Users can interact with a real dealer online via video streaming. Looking ahead, it can be said without exaggeration that more and more VR technologies will be introduced into online casinos in the future. And external events so far only contribute to this.


Canada’s gambling business has been successfully developing since the 1990s, the market volume is gradually increasing. However, Canadians spend a lot of money on overseas online sites and casinos in the neighboring United States. Therefore, the Canadian authorities are trying to modernize their gambling systems to be competitive.

At the same time, Canada has one of the best programs to protect society from the harmful effects of gambling. Therefore, the percentage of addicted players is minimal here.