Online Gambling In Canada: Year In Review

The past year has been an interesting one for every type of industry. That is because the majority of them had great losses due to closures, capacity limits, lockdowns, and other restrictions that reduced cash flow resulting from the 2020 pandemic. In reality, 2021 was to be the year where everything went back to whatever normal is by today’s standards and provide an income stream that would become part of a grand recovery plan. For some industries, it most certainly sounded good on paper but in actual practice, did not fare as well as expected. For other industries, including gambling, 2021 was a banner year. Here is a look at how the year panned out for casino activity in Canada. If you’re looking to gamble online in Canada, you may also read more about no deposit codes on

Before We Drill A Little Deeper

Gambling laws in Canada are both a little bit vague and very strict. Oh, and also somewhat liberal but direct, if you interpret the nuances of Canadian culture correctly. In other words, gambling in Canada is well, complicated at times. For example, the federal government sets the rules in a historic document known as the Canadian Criminal Code. However, the federal government left enforcement of the CCC laws to each provincial and territorial government. These bodies followed up with the establishment of gaming commissions to monitor gambling activity in their respective provinces and territories. Land-based casinos, bingo halls, lotteries, raffles, and all other games of chance are easily controlled with a polite approach, as one would expect to find in Canada.

But, when the focus shifts to online gambling, things get a bit hazy. That’s because there is nothing really specific in the Canada Criminal Code about online gambling, but there is something in there that often gets taken out of context and used as an online gambling restriction. Essentially, online gambling is legal, if the internet-based casino holds a license to conduct gaming activity within the borders of Canada. Either it is in Canada, or licensed to operate in Canada. But what about the countless offshore sites that flood Canadian internet bandwidth? Technically, those sites are illegal. But Canadians still flock to them because they can. They can do that because there is little if any, enforcement of the grey area online casinos fall into on the pages of the CCC. Got that? We warned you that it was a bit on the complicated side.

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Speaking Of Online Casino Action…

Closures and capacity limits to land-based casinos in Canada went well into 2021 in some parts of the country. This served as a launching pad for gamblers to turn to the internet to get their gambling fix. A handful of Canadian provinces and territories offer online casino games but compared to the offerings of offshore sites, Canadian gamblers who went online usually went overseas as well to drop a few Loonies. That being said, stats collected from Canada Infolink show that Canada is eighth in the world in terms of online gambling. This relates to the number of Canadian online gambling sites which has been increasing annually and saw a spike during the peak of the pandemic. Plus, offshore sites continue to offer great signup incentives such as free spins, match bonuses, and no deposit bonuses.

Land-Based Casinos Continue To Pop Up Everywhere

Stats from OPUS-ULETH show that the number of land-based casinos in operation in the Great White North has increased. Between the years 2002 and 2018, the number of legal brick-and-mortar sites ballooned from 78 to 147. That number has continued to increase to today, although an actual number is not currently available. The restrictions that were in place during the pandemic would have slowed the process somewhat, but casinos are about as visible as Tim Horton’s franchises in Canada and are also found in remote locations where even Timmy’s won’t venture.

Casinos Are Not The First Choice of Canadian Gamblers

Gambling stats in 2019 show an interesting trend. Surveys conducted that year by Casino Canada found that Canadians drop more money on other games of chance rather than sit in a casino all day. The survey showed that 65% of Canadians will play the lottery from time to time. However, 36% of Canadians are fond of scratch cards as their favorite gambling game. Oddly enough, casinos were only mentioned by 22% of the respondents to the survey. Of that total, roughly half of them said they would play a slot machine in a casino instead of anything else on the gambling floor.

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Quirky Canadian Gambling Stats

Considering how quirky the gambling laws are in Canada, it only makes sense that some of the stats released in 2021 about gambling in the country are also a tad on the quirky side. For example, the most serious gamblers in the country are male (NCBI, Core). The typical age group for gamblers in Canada is between 35 and 50. However, sports betting has attracted a somewhat younger audience. The data on this comes from Casino Canada. The gambling age in Canada varies. It depends on where you live as the legal age is 18 in Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec but is 19 everywhere else in the country. Oh, and gambling addiction has not skipped over Canada. Stats show that over 2% of Canadians aged 15 and older possess what is termed as “risky gambling habits” which is the polite Canadian way of saying they have a gambling addiction.

No One Broke The Record For Gambling Losses In A Single Year In 2021

Research Gate provides details on a single Canadian gambler who visited the same land-based casino a total of 294 times one year. The year and location were undisclosed. The bettor spent an average of $2,385 in betting each visit. The gambler ended up recording losses that year of a whopping $701,000. The second-biggest gambling loss in the country was $636,000 involving a different gambler, but oddly enough, the very same gambling venue. This total loss was over just 92 visits which comes to about $6,000 in losses each time this gambler left the casino. Anyway, those two records remained untouched in 2021. There was no information on if all the losses were at once casino game or included several as well as sports betting.

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Final Thoughts

Gambling continues to explode in Canada. With improved internet infrastructure in recent years and the ongoing evolution of technology, Canadian gamblers have more than just land-based casinos, bingo halls, and lottery kiosks in shopping malls to gamble away their hard-earned money. With the drop in activity in 2020, and more online casino sites filling that void, 2021 became a busy year for bettors in the Great White North.

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