Canada has an absolutely booming online gaming industry. On a list of countries that spend the most on online gambling, Canada tops the list. But just a few years ago, it was technically illegal to operate an online casino from Canada. What has changed? How did the industry become so popular and why are developers flocking there?
The reasons are many and varied. In short, we can attribute the success to the usual culprits. Factors like the rise of cryptocurrency and, yes, the COVID pandemic have definitely changed the industry's success curve.
It is also the case that many provinces did not allow casinos to operate until relatively recently They were based on Canadian soil. This made the process somewhat cumbersome for large betting companies to get involved.
Obviously, those rules are a bit looser now. Let's go into some detail about the Canadian online gaming scene.
What is the online gaming situation in Canada?
Let's start with a brief overview of Canada's stance on online gaming. It has a difficult history. Previously, it was illegal to operate an online casino if it was based in Canada. But it was perfectly fine to play at online casinos that operated from other regions.
However, the situation changed back in 2020 when the provincial government of Ontario started introducing changes. These changes were designed to end the national lottery's monopoly on online gambling in Canada. Provincial governments still require that any company wishing to operate an online casino in Canada must be licensed through them. Some believe that this is hurting the profit potential of the industry, but as we'll get to in a moment, it's still doing pretty well.
There is no set rule. Each province has its own rules and regulations, but generally it boils down to the provincial government issuing a license. Every province except Saskatchewan has at least one online gambling site.
Licenses were quickly awarded to large companies such as Bet365 and 888, with many smaller operators also participating. As it stands in 2022, online gambling is one of Canada's fastest growing industries. Canada ranks eighth on the list of countries that spend the most money on online gambling.
It's a huge industry. Canadians spent $16 billion on local casinos and more than $4 billion on offshore venues. Among that spending, online sports betting was the biggest piece of the pie - no surprise given the country's penchant for sports like field hockey and soccer.
Sports betting is followed by traditional games such as slots and cards. From the available data, Canadians enjoy the most typical forms of online gambling, but there are plenty of modern innovations as well.
Perhaps surprisingly given the country's relatively strict licensing rules, the government does not tax gambling winnings. This means that everything you win is yours.
Canadian gambling sites are big business now. It's so big, in fact, that the rise of online gambling has begun to diminish the profits of brick-and-mortar venues. As with everything else, the convenience of going online wins every time!
This has definitely been aided by the pandemic that has seen countless physical locations close en masse. Even those that survived lockdown orders were immensely damaged by the disruption. Meanwhile, online casinos flourished.
These sites were closed and online casinos took their place. Online gaming, of course, experienced a huge boom during the pandemic, as it was physically impossible for gamers to pursue their favorite hobby elsewhere. As we can see with literally every other type of online commerce, once this shift occurs, it is usually permanent. Yes, some players may have returned to traditional casinos after the restrictions were lifted.
But once you've been shown the sheer convenience and accessibility of online casinos, especially on mobile - many of which offer better odds and rewards for your input - it's hard to justify going back!
It just shows that the interest was always there - the rules and regulations just needed to be changed to allow it! Now it's making billions in profits, which isn't bad for a relatively young industry. The next few years are going to be a really interesting time for Canada's online gambling industry.
The future of online gambling in Canada
As the industry continues to grow, developers and designers are flocking there to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Canada is a highly profitable region and as such is always up to date with the latest industry trends. Crypto casinos are on the rise. Many casinos with high payouts offer the option to pay or cash out in crypto, with many crypto-only sites dealing exclusively in currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The cryptocurrency factor alone is enough to make it an enticing prospect for developers. The technologies behind crypto are revolutionizing the world of technology and internet security. It's already making betting safer and more secure for end users.
The industry is also keeping pace with Esports, which has also seen a massive increase in popularity. Esports betting is available alongside traditional sports like field hockey, soccer and basketball. It's not quite as developed yet - understandably so.
These are both necessary additions if the betting industry is to remain as profitable as it currently is in Canada. Right now it may be enjoying a massive explosion of interest, but that bubble may not last forever. However, with the presence of the right developers, they can stay on trend and continue to move with the rest of the world.
To remain interesting - and feel more like mimicking a "real" casino - many online gambling sites are now implementing "live dealer" games. However, it's possible that this concept may seem a bit foreign to many Canadians who have only ever gambled online.
The 30-to-50 age group still holds the largest percentage of players, but that doesn't mean there aren't There aren't many younger players either. It's likely that this younger age group will continue to grow over time - especially with the continued success of Esports betting.