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A Legacy of Gambling in Canada: How Online Casinos Are Changing Canadian Culture


Everyone loves to take a break from their daily rigours, which is why gambling is famous worldwide. A considerable percentage of Canada's population above 18 years old now play games at online casino real money platforms daily to relieve stress and even enjoy lucrative winnings. However, things have not always been like this on the country's gambling scene.

Before 1985, all forms of gambling were banned in the country. But since the ban has been lifted, this industry has grown into one of the largest entertainment sectors. Online gambling has dramatically influenced the everyday life of the average Canadian, evidenced by the participatory percentage. Punters can now gain instant access to casino sites via mobile phones at any location.

So, about 1/3rd of the country's population plays casino games for fun or to win real money daily. This article provides information about online casinos changing Canadian culture.

History of Gambling in Canada

In June 1497, John Cabot landed on the eastern coast of Canada and brought playing cards with him. However, this is not the first record of gambling on North American soil, as the natives had previously played Slahal, a game with spiritual importance, using sticks and bones. The colonisation by Europe brought about a more conservative attitude approach to gambling. During this time, several dice games became banned under the law, mainly because they were thought to be distracting for soldiers.

However, many people still played casino games illegally until the 1985 amendment, which adjusted the Criminal Code of 1897. The first physical casinos opened in the early 50s but were considered illegal by the authorities. Finally, in 1989, the first commercial casino was launched in Winnipeg, followed by another in Montreal in 1993. Online gambling became popular in the late 90s and is still a current trend in the industry, albeit with ease of mobile access due to recent technological advancements.

In essence, gambling has been a consistent part of Canadian culture from the time of the natives to this modern world. Nowadays, the average smartphone daily screen time worldwide is 3.7 hours, a large part of which is spent on online casinos. Everyone loves to enjoy their favourite games, whether online slots, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, poker, or live dealer titles, at any location.

How Popular Are Online Casinos in Canada?

If you are wondering how popular online casinos are in Canada, here's a detailed expose to help you understand. The Great White North is usually freezing many months of the year, so citizens are used to activities like:

  • Spending time indoors;
  • Playing board games;
  • Watching TV.

But these have been replaced by online casino gaming. Indeed, gambling is popular among Canadians because it is ingrained in the culture of the people. Moreover, the introduction of mobile gaming is causing a shift from the old patterns due to the ease of access.

In 2021, 26% of the world's population had visited a casino site, with 4 billion remaining as casual players. On average, there are 1.6 billion regular players at online casinos yearly. In Canada, one-third of the population above the age of 18 years play casino games for entertainment and real money winnings. Online casinos are popular because they offer instant access, multi-device compatibility, a diverse game selection, and lucrative bonuses. As a result, punters now spend more time on their mobile devices playing free slot games, table games, and live casino titles.

How Online Casinos Have Changed the Canadian Gambling Landscape

A lot has changed in the Canadian gambling industry since the once strict laws from the Criminal code were made more lenient. Physical casinos were in vogue in the late 70s, allowing players to interact with other gamblers at the venue. But many players found this stressful because they spent hours on the road going to the venues. Then came online casinos offering the following:

  • A diverse collection of casino games;
  • Generous bonuses and promotions;
  • Excellent customer support, and more.

All of these are available irrespective of the location. The introduction of online gambling was a turning point for the Canadian gambling industry, and casino sites gradually caused several casino establishments to close. What made this more instrumental was its timing.

Microgaming launched the first online casino in 1994, years after the Criminal Code amendment. So, the government was able to play a role in regulating the industry while receiving a portion of the massive revenue it generated. Presently, the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario provides licences to local online casinos in the various provinces of Canada. However, punters can also access offshore casino sites to play mobile slots, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and other titles. So, you can make real money winnings on your favourite games without leaving the comfort of your home. Indeed, online casinos have shaped the gambling industry significantly over the years.

How to Access Online Gambling in Canada

It is important to understand Canadian Gambling laws if you want to play games within the territory. The legislation is peculiar because it varies per province; however, there are three main options:

  • Locally licensed operators;
  • Offshore casino sites;
  • Physical gambling establishments.

While some allow players to access locally licensed gambling websites, others allow visits to offshore gambling sites. Whichever means you choose to play the game at the best dollar deposit casinos, you can expect a fulfilling gaming experience with generous casino bonus offers like a no deposit bonus, free spins, and more.

Learn more about accessing the best online casino sites in the section below.

Offshore Sites

These are gambling websites that are not licensed. However, players can register if the platform allows customers from their region. They are licensed and regulated by top gambling authorities, such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, and Gibraltar Gambling Commission. So, Canadians can enjoy their favourite titles and claim no deposit bonuses at legitimate offshore sites.

Locally Licensed Sites

The online gambling market in Canada was launched in 2022, and now a few local online casinos are available in the country. However, these gambling sites must hold a licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Physical Gambling Establishments

Gamblers can still visit physical gambling establishments in the selected provinces. So you can decide to dress up and spend a day out with your family playing fun games. However, only individuals above 18 years are allowed to participate in any form of gambling in Canada, though 19 years is the cutoff in some provinces. A fair percentage of Canadians still prefer traditional land-based gambling establishments.

Gambling Demographics in Canada

Presently, gambling is more accessible than ever. Most people own a smartphone, so playing games online is no longer tedious. Instead of spending hours in front of a desktop, you can enjoy thrilling games on the move at the best online casino sites. This has dramatically influenced the lifestyle of many Canadians who love to gamble. Knowing the gambling demographics is key to understanding the impact of these activities on the country's culture. A few facts about gambling include:

  • The majority of gamblers are men.
  • Canadians love playing the lottery and scratch tickets.
  • The most significant gambling revenue in the country is generated in Ontario.
  • Most gamblers are between the ages of 35 and 50 years.
  • Gambling revenues keep increasing yearly.

The Majority of Gamblers Are Men

Like many cultures, statistics show men are more drawn towards gambling in Canada than women. A school of thought proposes that men are more interested in activities likely to cause addiction, such as alcoholism and substance abuse. This reflects the fact that the majority of gamblers in the country are men. Generally, women are more likely to develop a mood or anxiety disorder than addiction.

Canadians Love Playing the Lottery and Scratch Tickets

Based on 2019 gambling statistics, 65% of Canada's population play lottery tickets, 36% choose lucky scratchies, and 50% go for free slot games. This means that lottery and scratch tickets are the most expected gaming options, followed by slots. So, lotteries form the backbone of the country's gambling culture.

The Most Considerable Gambling Revenue in the Country Is Generated in Ontario

Ontario generates the most considerable gambling revenue, with C$3.8 billion. The next province is Quebec, with C$2.73 billion, followed by British Columbia, with $1.2 billion. This fact is based on the population of Ontario, which is the highest of any other province in Canada. So, more people visit physical gambling establishments and play online casinos daily.

Most Gamblers in Canada Are Between the Ages of 35 And 50 Years

This demographic might make it seem like young people do not have a gambling culture in Canada. However, most punters in the country are between the ages of 35 to 50 years. Therefore, you will find the younger generation playing eSports betting more often, while Bingo players might even be older than 40.

Gambling Revenues Keep Increasing Yearly

According to 150 Stat Can, Canadian gambling revenues have kept increasing gradually in the various provinces. Now, the market is worth over C$18 billion, which has attracted more customers to the platform. Moreover, the revenue generated contributes considerably to the changing culture of gamblers and others within the population.

Gambling Then vs Gambling Now in Canada

There have been drastic changes in the gambling culture over the years, owing to its increased availability via smartphones and tablets.

You can learn more about the differences between the past and present of Canadian online gambling on our page. We will be comparing what gambling was like then and what it is now in the table below:

Gambling Then

Gambling Now

Land-Based casinos were the most popular among gamblers, even if they had to travel long distances.

Punters can now access quality games via mobile devices.

Players could not claim bonuses to bankroll their accounts, as this was unavailable at physical casinos.

There are numerous bonuses and promotions, such as a no deposit bonus, to reward their old and existing customers.

Only a limited supply of games was available at the land-based casinos, mostly slot machines.

The best online casino platforms offer various games across popular categories.


Like other countries worldwide, gambling has a deep history in Canada and significantly influences players' behaviour. Many people who spend time doing other activities have replaced them with gambling because it is highly entertaining and rewarding. The number of gambling establishments has increased from 78 to 147 between 2002 and 2018 due to technological advancements in the industry.

Spending long hours on a gambling website does not mean you have developed an addiction. Many enjoy playing various available games and claiming promotions in their leisure time. So you can maximise this period by registering at the best payout online casino in Canada. The culture of the modern punter in the country is quite different from that of the past, all thanks to online gambling.

Source: limnews

All business articles on 2023-02-10

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