Posted on: 19 September, 2022

Evolution of The Gambling Industry in Canada


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The gambling industry has grown at an astounding rate all across the world. Canada is no different. Not only has the online gambling industry evolved in Canada, but it has also brought in a host of changes that have influenced online gambling platforms in both a positive and a negative manner.

The first official and legalised gambling hubs in Canada were developed in 1969. All these were land based casinos where you could have fun as well as win some easy money. As the years went by, several physical casinos came up in the Canadian gambling world. Soon, with the advent of internet technology, Canadian players were treated to a series of offshore online casinos and mobile casinos that changed the face of gambling in Canada. With the global Covid-19 pandemic, the influence of online gambling platforms has just gotten bigger, although the presence of solid traditional casino buildings can still be seen across the country.

Taking all this into account, the following is a brief history of gambling in Canada.

Gambling in Canada is Older Than Some May Think

The first official document that talks about gambling in Canada is the Canadian gambling criminal code. This document, written down in the 19th century, states that gambling in Canada is illegal. The criminal code was not well-liked back in the 19th century and after years of protests and shows of dislike, the government finally discarded it and legalised all casinos in Canada, including the Canadian online gaming industry. But, until the year 1969, no gambling enthusiast could rejoice in Canada. In 1969, Canada legalised not only online gambling, but all forms of gambling. Gambling and lottery games became legal all across the country. Gambling enthusiasts jumped in to take advantage of the newly relaxed gambling laws and the gambling market boomed with scores of land based casino outlets springing up across the country.

Then, with the advent of technology and advancements in the realm of the internet, online casinos in Canada started to enter the market, leading to the start of a new era in the casino industry of Canada.

Gambling Expansion

Gambling, according to the Canadian government, is a legal pastime. However, even though the Canadian government has legalised gambling activities in physical casinos in Canadian territory, the Canadian online gambling industry has still not been legalised. At the beginning of the rapid growth of the land based casino games industry in Canada, the casino games that were generally in the catalogues included table card games such as roulette, baccarat, poker and blackjack. There were live dealers and many Canadians used to deposit and play directly. Although in the 70s and 80s the equipment used in Canadian casinos was not that up to the mark, the novelty of being able to gamble without legal restraints made up for that.

A major issue that sprung up with the evolution of the Canadian gambling industry in the 70s is the inability of the Canadian government to pass laws and regulate land based casinos. This led to the proliferation of illegal black market betting and casino games (mainly slot games) that were not Provably Fair. Without any official document mentioning gambling or defining what constituted gambling in the first place, Canada and several other countries were soon plagued with unregulated land based casinos that could not be brought into check. The situation soon called for new laws.

21st Century Gambling in Canada

21st century gambling in Canada is mainly online. This is because of a host of reasons, the major ones being that technological advancements in the 90s led to a boom in the gambling sector with the establishment of several online casinos with registered licenses. Even though Canada has still not legalised online gambling, the government has not put any restrictions on gambling started via offshore sites. This means that if you choose to gamble in some of the licensed best online casinos that allow Canadian players but are located and registered outside Canadian provinces, then you can have as much fun as you want and make some real money while you are at it.

With online 21st century gambling in Canada, there are several perks involved. Some of them are as follows:

  1. More and better game variety: From the first online casinos to now, the online gambling market promises high-end games with the best graphics, plenty of fairness and smooth gameplay, right from the comforts of your own residence. In the 90s, you could only play table card games such as blackjack, poker and more, but now software providers such as Evolution Gaming have introduced online gambling venues with live dealers in virtual reality casinos.
  2. Instant deposits and withdrawals: In online casinos, deposits and withdrawals can be made via any online payment method such as debit or credit cards (VISA, Maestro and more) and e-wallets which include Skrill, Neteller, Apple Pay, PaySafeCard, Astro Pay and so on. These ensure instant deposits and withdrawals and let gambling enthusiasts play games without the hassle of handling too much cash.

The Canadian government is also currently holding discussions regarding the passing of a new set of laws which plan to make online gambling and online casino sites legal in Canada. This might make physical casinos take a big business hit, but since a major portion of Canadian gamblers now play online, the government might consider the move.

History of Online Casinos in Canada

In the evolution of online gambling in Canada, history has been witness to a topsy turvy road with several roadblocks, but ultimate victory. Most gamblers are aware of the deletion of the criminal code that stated that gambling in any form was illegal. This happened in 1969. But, the removal of this criminal code did not mean that the Canadian government had legalised online casinos. Where did online casinos in Canada stand then?

In the 90s, with the advent of technology and the increased ease at which personal computers and internet technology could be utilised in Canada, online casinos started to become more popular.

Therefore, gamblers soon found a way to go around this restriction by playing for real money on online gambling sites that were located off the shore of Canada. These include online casinos with registered licenses from Kahnawake Gaming Commission, UK Gaming Commission and so on. With a lot of advantages like welcome bonuses, all day gambling, a great gaming catalogue, loyalty programs and more, online gambling in Canada is a beloved option for all casino enthusiasts now.

Improved Betting Rates

One of the simplest ways in which online casinos have been able to garner such as big fan following amongst gambling enthusiasts in Canada is that they have better betting rates. Most of the best casinos available for Canadian players online have welcome bonuses and special promotional offers that are part of the VIP or loyalty packages. These include cashbacks and match bonuses, all designed to entice gamblers to practise offshore gambling in Canada.

Some of the best online casinos where Canadian players can enjoy a real money game include Jackpot City, Spin Casino, Bitstarz, Casumo and so on.

Fewer Restrictions

Online casinos offer much fewer restrictions to enthusiasts. Even though online casino websites and apps designed for mobile devices are easier to be regulated by gambling commissions and the government of Canada, offshore gambling ensures that players can engage in gambling via websites that are located in the US or the UK. This is one of the major reasons why Canada has such a big gambling population. The internet has quite truly turned the gambling world into a global gaming unit.


With the setting up of land based casinos in Canada from 1969 onwards to the advent of online offshore casinos, gambling activities in Canada have come a long way. Legalizing online gambling is now the talk of gambling town. Canadian gamblers are yet to find out if online gambling will be legal soon or not.