Canada’s gambling market continues to grow each year, with recent legal developments helping to ensure the provinces can properly regulate gaming and cash in on this popular pastime. Coupled with the legal landscape are the technological innovations that are transforming the wider industry. So, here is a look at gambling in Canada and at what the future may hold.
The legal landscape
On a federal level, all forms of gambling are prohibited in Canada. However, gambling is legal when it is regulated by the individual provinces. One of the provinces to embrace online gambling is Ontario, which launched a regulated market in 2022. It is also allowed in Alberta and British Columbia, among others, with most provinces requiring players to be aged 19+. In 2021, the law was changed to permit provinces to also regulate gambling on single sporting events, meaning casinos can offer a sportsbook.
How big is gambling in Canada?
Gambling is a popular pastime in Canada. In Ontario alone, the first year of the regulated market brought in around C$1.4bn in total revenue, with C$35.6bn of wagers placed. Countrywide, there are an estimated 19.3 million gamblers who are active online (of a population of around 35.2 million people).
The future of gambling in Canada
The recent changes that have opened up the Canadian gambling market on a provincial level mean that players in the country can take advantage of some of the wider developments in the online casino sector. These include:
As digital currencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), grow in popularity as an everyday payment method, online casinos have started offering players the chance to deposit, bet and cash out using crypto. In Canada, the same rules apply to gambling at a BTC casino as to a traditional online casino, which means they fall under the control of the provinces. Advantages of gambling with cryptocurrency include added security, potentially faster withdrawals and lower fees.
Alongside online slots, table games and sports betting, more online casinos are bringing in live casino games. These games replicate the look and feel of a bricks-and-mortar casino, with a live dealer or croupier overseeing the action and players offered the ability to communicate in real time through a chat function. Popular live casino games include roulette and blackjack. The popularity of live casino games has led some providers and operators to invest in high-tech equipment and broadcasting studios to bring players a premium experience.
Another exciting development is the combination of online casino play with virtual reality (VR). Through a VR headset, players can virtually walk through a casino, interacting with other players and dealers, hearing the sounds of a physical casino, and becoming immersed in the experience. There are already a few online casino games that utilize VR, but this is a growing area that is expected to gain further traction this year and beyond.
Overall, Canada’s gaming market has undergone significant changes over the past few years, offering players the opportunity to gamble online in ever more innovative ways.