Canada's Gaming Culture

Gambling in Canada is deeply rooted in the history of the culture, which is one of the main factors contributing to its popularity. In fact, local indigenous people were dabbling in gambling even before Canada was created.

John Cabot discovered natives engaging in games of Luck and chance more than 350 years before Canada was founded. After doing more research, Cabot learned that the tradition dates back to 6000 BC and that these games assisted in their mental and spiritual development. The tools used back then were very different from those used today in casinos. There were no tables, dice, or cards, of course. However, the fundamentals remained the same regardless of the fact that Canadian gamblers used objects like sticks and stones instead.

The culture did, however, appear to shift a little at the end of the 19th century despite the extraordinarily long tradition of gambling.

The 1892 Gambling Ban

Gambling was completely banned in 1892, but it did not take long for some forms to be resumed because of the deeply ingrained traditions. Bingo-style games and raffles were once again permitted in 1900, only eight years after the original ban, if only for charitable purposes. Soon after, placing bets on horse races was once again recognized as a legal activity.

By 1969, gambling had become even more pervasive as the government began to recognize the enormous value of lotteries. Later, they amended the law to permit both the provincial and federal governments to operate lotteries to finance regional and governmental initiatives. When a lottery was held in 1974 to raise money for the Olympic Games in Montreal, this idea was first adopted.

Online Gambling in Canada 

Online and mobile casinos are now widely used across the great white north, and they are altering how players interact with and enjoy games as well as the type of players they attract. However, gambling has a long history in the great country.

What is it about gambling that makes it so great? Canada has a long history of being a great country for casinos, and there is a growing interest in online gambling with speculations of regulations happening in different provinces. Canucks are known for having a "work hard, play hard" mentality, which is one of the main reasons why a majority of Canadians actively participate in gambling on the regular. It is the obvious choice for both online and offline entertainment because they have always loved gaming in all its forms.

The fact that some of the first online gaming websites to obtain licenses in Kahnawake were Canadian is therefore not surprising. In fact, since most of North America still forbids online gambling, many players seek entertainment on Canadian websites.

However, Canada is not only the birthplace of the first casinos; it is also the birthplace of the BEST online casinos, which explains why many of the sites you have already encountered are Canadian. Those who live here should consider themselves lucky to always have simple access to the best of the best because discerning players from all over the world know this to be true.

  1. Canadians can play at online casinos without fear of legal consequences, whether for recreational purposes or as a source of income.
  2. No Canadian has ever been prosecuted for playing at online casinos, poker, or sportsbook sites.
  3. Operating an online casino within Canada without a license is illegal, but our recommended casinos are located offshore.
  4. Winnings from gaming are not taxable unless they are considered a form of employment based on skill, frequency, and expectation of payout. Casual online casino players will not be taxed on their winnings.
  5. The Criminal Code of Canada does not explicitly prohibit playing at online casinos.
  6. As of April 4th, 2022, online gambling has been legalized in Ontario. While playing at offshore casinos is still legal and safe, residents now have the option to play at locally legalized casinos.

What is the legal gambling age in Canada?

The minimum legal gambling age in Canada varies by province, with the majority requiring a minimum age of 19. However, Manitoba, Quebec, and Alberta have a lower age requirement of 18.

Where can I gamble legally in Canada?

In Canada, you can legally gamble at land-based casinos located throughout the country. For those interested in online gambling, access to offshore-based online casinos is available as long as the minimum age requirement for your province or region is met.

Is Online Gambling in Canada legal?

In Canada, online gambling is considered legal and safe, including betting on sports, casino games, and horses. Depending on your location, you may have access to regulated betting options within your province, or if unavailable, you may choose to use offshore sites with caution.

When was online gambling legalized?

Online gambling in Canada was legalized in 1994, although the initial offerings from the first online casinos were limited in terms of game selection.

Are winnings from gambling in Canada taxable?

According to Canadian gambling laws, if you're not a professional gambler and don't profit from gambling, your winnings are not subject to taxation. However, if you are a professional gambler, your winnings are considered a form of income and therefore, taxable.

In a world filled with countless gambling opportunities, the Canadian gambling industry has managed to set itself apart from the competition. The number of casinos in Canada is increasing, and there are millions of gamblers there. There is no denying that gambling is widely popular across Canada.

The fact that Canadian gambling websites provide a secure and safe gambling environment is the primary factor in their popularity. You want to make sure that your financial and personal information is secure when you gamble. You should also check the fairness of the games you are playing.

Government agencies regulate the majority of gambling establishments in Canada, ensuring that they adhere to strict security and safety standards. The MGA and Curacao eGaming are two of Canada's top regulatory agencies. This means that you can gamble with confidence knowing that your money is secure.

Many platforms are certified by eCOGRA in addition to being subject to legal restrictions set by governmental agencies. This independent and unbiased group verifies the security and fairness of games. Additionally, they safeguard your data using the most recent encryption techniques, and their random number generators undergo regular testing to guarantee accuracy.

These gambling websites must also have policies in place for responsible gambling. This indicates that they provide resources and assistance to help you maintain control over your gambling. You can self-exclude from a website or limit how much you can deposit and lose if you ever feel like you're out of control.

Numerous promotions are also provided by Canadian casinos to both new and current customers. These bonuses can increase your bankroll and provide you with more funds to use for wagering. A list of some of the most typical promotions is provided below:

  • Welcome Bonus. It’s common to offer casino welcome bonuses to newcomers. This bonus usually matches your first deposit, giving you extra funds to gamble with.
  • No Deposit Bonus. A no-deposit bonus is a small amount of free cash for new members when they create an account at a casino. You can use no-deposit bonuses to play any game you want, including slots, table games, and more.
  • Free Spins. Free spins are commonly offered as a welcome bonus or promotional offer. They allow you to free spin the reels of a slot game and win real money with free spins.
  • VIP Bonuses. You can take advantage of VIP bonuses if you’re a high roller. These offers are tailored to players who deposit and gamble large amounts of money. You can get VIP Casino Bonuses for your continued loyalty or cash back on your losses.

As you can see, Canadian casinos offer a wide variety of promotions. There is a deal for everyone, whether you're a regular customer or a newcomer.

More than 96% of wins are returned by online casinos, which is almost 50% more wins than land-based casinos.

Canada is not an exception to the worldwide popularity of online casinos and sportsbooks. There are no restrictions on players' enjoyment of this form of entertainment because it is legal in the nation. Since about 75% of Canadians engage in some form of gambling, they require dependable and quick banking options to top off their accounts and increase winnings. What forms of payment are the most preferred by Canadian gamblers, and why? Let's read this article to learn more about that.

Instant Banking Options

The most popular banking option in Canada is instant banking methods. They allow connecting a bank account to the online casino site using third-party intermediaries and transfer funds quickly and securely with minimum fees. The number-one company operating in Canada for over 30 years is Interac. It has partnered up with over 250 banks to guarantee almost instant and low-fee transactions to Interac e-Transfer casino sites

  • Interac has been around for more than 30 years and has connections with more than 250 different banks, making it the most popular choice.
  • It has over 15 million active users per month.
  • The total value of transactions made in 2019 was over $132.8 billion. 

Other famous banking methods used by players are echeck, InPay, Instadebit, Idebit & more.

Credit and Debit Cards

There is hardly any Canadian who doesn’t possess Visa or MasterCard. These worldwide accepted cards remain a popular payment method in online casinos being issued by over a dozen of Canadian banks. There are three types of cards distinguished including prepaid, debit, and credit cards and any of them can be used for casino deposits. It is worth noting that MasterCard does not support casino withdrawals. 

Bank Wire Transfers

Despite being a rather old-fashioned payment method, many people still prefer to contact bank representatives and complete wire transactions with their help. One of the reasons it is still used is no need to share your banking details with the casino, but you should come to terms with the fact that your funds will travel to the balance longer and it may take up to several business days to use this method.

Prepaid Cards

If a player doesn’t want to have his bank account or e-wallet associated with gambling, the best alternative is prepaid cards sold by popular retailers. This deposit option allows getting strict control of the bankroll and doesn’t require sharing personal details to top up the account balance. It is enough to select the banking option from the list offered in the Cashier section and enter the PIN code provided on the card for the money to arrive. The most popular prepaid card service providers in Canada are Revolut, Paysafecard, and Neosurf.

E-Wallets

The speed, affordability, and ease of transactions attract many Canadian gamblers to the electronic payment system available online. Being a gateway between a bank account and a merchant, e-wallets allow sending funds to the casino without revealing any banking details. The range of e-wallets in Canada is not as extensive as in Europe but such popular options as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, EcoPayz, WebMoney, and MuchBetter do exist.

Mobile Payment 

Purchases made with the help of mobile devices get more frequent every day, so players don’t mind utilizing mobile banking too. 

There are two operators in Canada that support Boku-pay by mobile including Bell Canada and TELUS Mobility. This option is usually used when you need to make a deposit quickly and for a quite low amount, but gamblers can’t withdraw funds in this way.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has been incorporated as the most cutting-edge banking option in Canadian online casinos. Due to the novelty and volatility of crypto assets, not all casinos currently accept digital money as a form of payment. But there are some undeniable advantages that this payment method has over others. It is distinguished by the transactions' high speed, security, and cost-effectiveness. Players who already own cryptocurrencies can transfer money anonymously and make instant withdrawals without losing any money during conversions! Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple are among the cryptocurrencies that Canadian casinos accept. However, as their number continues to rise, stay current with fashion!

To make a general idea about payment methods & their restrictions, we have created a list with the most encountered deposit and withdrawal limits:

PAYMENT METHODMIN DEPOSITMAX DEPOSITMIN WITHDRAWALMAX WITHDRAWAL
DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS15-20 CAD4,000 CAD – no limit10 CAD4,000 CAD – no limit
E-WALLETS15-30 CAD6,000 CAD – no limit30 CAD6,000 CAD – no limit
PRE-PAID CARDS15 CAD1,000-6,000 CAD
BANK TRANSFER30 CAD4,000 CAD – no limit30-50 CAD6,000 CAD – no limit
INSTANT BANKING15 CAD5,000 CAD – no limit30 CAD4,000 CAD – no limit
CRYPTOCURRENCY0,003 (BTC), 0,1 (ETH), 0,1 (LTC)No limit0,004 (BTC), 0,2 (ETH), 0,7 (LTC)No limit
Payment Options for Online Casinos in Canada

How Much is the Online Gambling Industry worth in Canada?

Over $1.2 billion of Canada's $2.65 billion in gambling revenue came from the online market last year. Despite the fact that this is an impressive number, it is estimated that a significant amount of money is being lost as a result of the complex gambling laws that mandate that each online gambling provider obtain a license from the relevant provincial government. Because of this, many offshore casinos are able to take advantage of the fact that the online gambling market is not as developed and substantial as it could be. If Canada followed the same strategy as their British counterparts, annual revenues could increase by up to $4 billion, according to estimates.

Gambling On-Premises in Canada

The various provinces have gradually been given more autonomy to plan and manage their own events, including horse races, slot machine games, and even casinos. With casinos in almost every province and visitors traveling from miles away to take in some of the best entertainment in North America, if not the entire world, gambling in Canada is as popular as it has ever been.

The local scene is so beloved by many players in North America and around the world that they frequently travel further or for longer distances to play at the best casino venues in Canada than they would to destinations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City.

Numbers of Gambling in Canada

At least 76% of Canadian adults, according to estimates, indulge in gambling. That percentage represents nearly 30 million Canadians as of 2017. The government considers the gambling sector's revenues to be sizable and gambling is widely accepted in the culture. In other words, Canada is a paradise for gamblers.

Players are not bothered by the numerical data while they are playing. Putting certain habits in perspective may require taking a step back and getting a handle on the numbers. If you approach gambling statistics correctly, they can be both entertaining and helpful.

The gambling market in Canada reached its peak in 2011 at USD16.09 billion. The industry stood at USD14.04 billion in 2021.

size of canada's gambling economy in billions
Size of Canada's gambling economy in billions
overview of gambling in canada
Overview of gambling in Canada

How Does it Compare

The gambling industry in Canada is the eighth-largest in the world. There seems to be a record-setting 19.3 million gamblers in Canada who are currently active.

Gambling regulations that require every provider of online gambling to be licensed by a provincial government are believed to be causing a large amount of revenue loss. Due to the small size and diversity of the online gambling market, many offshore casinos are taking advantage of this.

If Canada took the same approach as its British counterparts, its annual revenues could increase by up to $4 billion. An impressive $824.68 a year is the amount of money Canadians spend on online casinos per capita, more than gamblers from the US and UK combined.

Game Preferences

The majority of the money is spent on slots, according to the respondents' combined spending potential. Next, come lottery tickets, then card games like blackjack and poker. Of course, sports betting, which is very common among Canadians, is not included in these reports. Nevertheless, the majority of people worship a lottery ticket.

The majority of people don't even consider the lottery to be gambling because it is so widely played and deeply ingrained in the culture of the country.

survey about gambling in canada
Survey about gambling in Canada

Age Distribution

Depending on the province, Canada's legal gambling age ranges from 18 to 19. The majority of gamblers are typically between the ages of 35 and 55, and numerous surveys and statistics indicate that young adults are actually in the minority when it comes to gambling. While older people prefer more laid-back activities like lotteries, younger people still participate in gambling, albeit less frequently and with less passion. However, it's interesting to note that Canadian gamblers of all ages enjoy playing slots equally. 

The majority of Canadian gamblers are generally between the ages of 35 and 50. Slot machine players are typically between the ages of 55 and 64, while bingo players are typically older than 40. It's interesting to observe that no other age group can match the senior slot players' volume of play.

Who Bets More: Men or Women?

Without knowing any gambling demographics, one would assume that men are more into gambling than women. That is completely true if we just look at online gambling, where more than 80% of gamblers are male and barely 17.6% are female.

Non-internet stats paint a different picture, a more balanced one. While 43% of women claim they take no part in gambling, 37% of men say they do not spend any money on placing bets. Bottom line, more men gamble than women, but the difference is not as nearly as high as one would expect.

real money gambling games preference men vs women in canada
Real money gambling games preferences men vs women in Canada
lottery tickets sold in canada per province
Lottery tickets sold in Canada per province

Lottery Ticket Sales in Canada

Statistics on the Canadian casino gaming industry can be filtered by province. We did precisely that, and the result is an intriguing landscape of regional cultural preferences. It also becomes clear how the availability of specific gambling options affects provincial participation rates.

Let's review the numbers now and stop talking about how much science we know! Ontario does not permit VLTs, but Manitoba does. These two provinces have participation rates of 21% and 2%, respectively. When we examine bingo, we can see that the Canadian Atlantic region is where it is typically played more.

Quebec has over 10,000 gambling establishments (casinos, lottery outlets, etc.). It is probably safe to say that this province has the most gaming options. Quebec has a 66% gambling participation rate, while Ontario has an 83 percent rate. 43% of the $17.3 billion that the Canadian gambling sector made in 2017 was made in Ontario. The province is the most populous in Canada, after all.

Regulations per Province

Gambling oversight: Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (AGLC)

Commission established: 1996

Alberta gambling legislation: The Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Act

Legal gambling age in Alberta: 18

Gambling oversight: British Columbia Lottery Corp.

British Columbia gambling legislation: Gaming Control Act

Legal gambling age in British Columbia: 19

Gambling oversight: Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba

Manitoba gambling legislation: The Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Control Act of 2018

Legal gambling age in Manitoba: 18

Gambling oversight: New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corp.

New Brunswick gambling legislation: Control Act of 2008

Legal gambling age in New Brunswick: 19

Gambling oversight: Nova Scotia Gaming Corp.

Nova Scotia gambling legislation: The Gaming Control Act

Legal gambling age in Nova Scotia: 19

Gambling oversight: Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

Ontario gambling legislation: Ontario Lottery and Gaming Act

Legal gambling age in Ontario: 19

Gambling oversight: Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission

Prince Edward Island gambling legislation: Lotteries Commission Act and Gaming Centre Control Regulations of 2005

Legal gambling age in Prince Edward Island: 19 for VLTs and casino; 18 for lottery tickets

Gambling oversight: Loto-Quebec

Quebec gambling legislation: Société des lotteries du Québec

Legal gambling age in Quebec: 18

Gambling oversight: Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority

Saskatchewan gambling legislation: The Alcohol and Gaming Regulatory Act

Legal gambling age in Saskatchewan: 19

Gambling oversight: Yukon Lottery Corp

Yukon gambling legislation: n/a

Legal gambling age in Yukon: 19

gambling regulations per province in canada
Gambling regulations per province in Canada
gambling regulations and statistics in canada
Gambling regulations and statistics in Canada

Casino License Requirements

Canada is a federation that is divided into 10 provinces and three territories. At the federal level, the gambling industry is governed by the Criminal Code of Canada, which states such betting and other gambling activities are illegal unless local regulatory authorities decide to manage their own markets.

Gambling is illegal in Canada unless otherwise regulated by a province. Therefore, commercial gaming and betting can be allowed only if it’s conducted or managed by provincial authorities.

Requirements to get a casino license:

  • Information about the owners and parent company
  • Spotless Criminal History
  • Evidence of Background and Credentials
  • Proof of funds 
  • Other necessary documents

There is no requirement for residency.

License applications can come from foreign businesses.

Do you know: 

  • So far, no Canadian citizen has been prosecuted for playing at an online casino or any sort of gambling site.
  • The Criminal Code of Canada does not officially criminalize playing at online gambling sites

The Future Of Gambling in Canada

Most land-based casinos were closed worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Canada was not an exception. But this pattern had already started long before the pandemic. Nearly everyone can play at online casinos as the internet is getting faster, and more reliable while mobile devices have become accessible to everyone.

Live casinos or even VR casinos are an excellent choice if you long for the ambiance of a land-based casino. You can communicate with the dealer in real time by playing live casino games that are offered through video streaming. Virtual reality technologies will likely start to appear in more online casino games in the not-too-distant future.

Conclusion

Canada is one of the nations on the planet with the highest concentration of gamblers. In addition to operators providing online casino and sports betting services, the legalization of the gambling industry in 2009 led to an increase in payment methods used to fund and withdraw from gambling platforms. At the moment, there are many different banking options available, giving players lots of options. But before making a transaction, gamblers should always make sure that their chosen casino accepts their preferred payment method!

Some people might think that the gambling statistics in Canada are absurd when they see them. However, a clearer picture will emerge if these numbers are compared to those from other nations. The Canadian government does a great job managing the problem of gambling across different provinces and territories be it online or offline.

In general, the nation discourages gambling among its citizens. A page outlining the problems with gambling and how problem gamblers in Canada can get treatment is a strict requirement for gambling websites.

Sources:

https://angusreid.org/gambling/

www.iclg.com/practice-areas/gambling-laws-and-regulations/3-a-new-era-in-canadian-gaming

avatar of alexander

Written By Alexander

A Dutchie that likes gambling since the day he turned 18, is a Daddy of 1, a Juventus fan, a site manager since 2020, and works as Business Development Manager for Games Global.