Gambling has evolved significantly in Canada, with the first laws governing the industry going back to 1892. Since then, the nation has gone from permitting pari-mutuel betting in horse races to allowing different types of online gaming. Compared to its neighbour, the United States, Canada has lenient iGaming regulations. It’s why many professional gamblers, especially streamers, choose to access Canadian online casinos. The government has always believed that citizens should have the freedom to decide if to gamble or not. Since illegal gambling is a victimless crime, the government doesn’t believe it’s a significant threat.
The relaxed approach Canada has towards online gambling is one reason the sector has flourished as much as it has. iGaming was reported to be worth $77 billion in 2020 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.7%, and Canada contributes a significant chunk of this revenue. Currently, the country’s online gambling market is regulated provincially, letting provinces develop their own laws. Most regions even have government-sponsored gambling options, which speaks to a bright future for the industry. If the nation continues its stance on iGaming, the sector is set to become one of its biggest revenue earners.
Present State of iGaming
The Canadian Gambling Commission is responsible for the oversight of the entire industry in the country. It provides all the relevant information and assistance regarding gambling to interested parties. The commission ensures the government, media and public know how the sector operates. Although this organisation oversees overall gambling activities, provinces are responsible for enacting and enforcing laws on online gaming, casinos and sports betting. Therefore, where you live or gamble from determines the rules to adhere to. Currently, iGaming exists mostly in a grey area, which is why the nation has seen an exodus of gambling enthusiasts coming in from the U.S. for the same reason, Canada is one of the biggest poker markets in the world. Professionals who can’t access gambling websites easily in the U.S. prefer to move.
In Canada, you can use most of the international casinos operating in the country. In the last few years, the number of offshore operators offering services in the North American country has increased exponentially. Many international gambling outfits target Canada for its expanding market. So, Canadian gamblers have more than enough options for casino gaming. Whether you like virtual slots, baccarat, video poker, bingo or live games, you won’t have trouble finding an online casino in Canada that provides suitable alternatives. Resources for beginners are also readily available, enabling players to prepare themselves before betting. You can quickly learn about Crazy Time on Stakefans.com before spending cash on the game.
When it comes to the legal gambling age, this varies from one province to another. Some set the minimum age requirement at 18 and others at 19. Hence, players should know the relevant provincial laws beforehand. Although gaming on an offshore site is allowed, gamblers must still ensure it is regulated.
The Move Towards Regulated iGaming
Recently, Canada has been making progress on how it handles online gambling by promoting regulation. The revenue potential of iGaming is proving to be too big to ignore, and the nation hopes to tap into it. Canada is heading towards the legalisation of internet sports betting and gambling. In 2021, through Bill C-218, the government legalised single-event sports betting. This move lets international iGaming merchants explore the Canadian market fully. Ontario is one province that has been quick to jump on the bandwagon. The provincial government agency, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), set up its own sportsbook – Proline+. British Columbia has a similar platform.
Having provincial gambling sites sets precedence and makes it easier for offshore operators to extend their operations to Canada. One study indicates that the number of adults registered on private gambling platforms is almost the same as the proportion of registered players on OLG. The average Canadian online gambler is also said to be on 3-4 websites. The Atlantic Canada region – British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba/Saskatchewan – posts the highest number of online players. Every province in the region, except Quebec, favours private over government gambling websites.
Why is Ontario’s regulated market important? The biggest reason is that it has led to a large volume of iGaming advertising that is spilling to the rest of the nation. Even individuals who might not have been aware of the situation will soon know.
Expectations for the Future
The trend of provinces establishing their own online gambling websites bodes well for the sector. So far, provincial regulators have avoided imposing major restrictions on players, providing them with more gaming options. If this continues, then the number of players using internet casinos will keep rising. With province-controlled gaming websites competing with outfits operating in the grey market, players continue to win as they get enticing promotions from both sides. Canadian gamblers seem to view government and private platforms with an equal amount of trust. Thus, it’s difficult to say which operators will come out on top in the next few years.
Another element working in favour of the gambling industry is the flurry of critical partnerships being formed after the shift towards regulation. International iGaming operators began collaborating with local sports teams and publications. Deals between gambling companies and the sports industry, although controversial, have been going on for years. They allow operators to connect with players, and the same is set to happen in Canada. In the next several years, international gaming merchants are expected to take over the Canadian iGaming market.
Canada has always been for the freedom of players to decide where they gamble. The country is one of the friendliest when it comes to online gambling. With its recent decision to create a regulated industry, gamblers should expect to have more gaming alternatives. In the not too far away future, Canada will be the most popular internet gambling region in North America.