Renowned for its developed economy, high quality of life, and inclusiveness, Canada has adopted an open-minded approach to gambling activity.
Having said that, it still remains something of an enigma in terms of gambling, where its nearest neighbor, the US, has fully embraced the potential of betting for generating revenue and supporting strong economic growth.
The Canadian market has remained like its legislative outlook in as much as it is a patchwork of provincial markets, each with their own legislation and challenges in operation.
According to a research paper by ResearchandMarkets.com the Canadian gambling industry is characterized by a shift from land-based to online gambling activity. Moreover, brick-and-mortar betting establishments have seen decreasing revenues as the online gambling sector takes root.
Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, and Gamehost Incorporated are active in the Canadian gambling market.
Since 2012, the industry, encompassing traditional casinos and online casinos, sports books, and lotteries has experienced moderate growth. This has been tempered to a degree in recent years as a slowdown has taken place.
According to H2GC, the gambling industry in Canada generates revenues of approximately C$15 billion with an annual growth rate between 2013 and 2018 of 0.4%. The direct gambling market of Canada employs approximately 40,967 people across 790 businesses.
Between 2013 and 2018, there was a sharp stagnation in gambling activity overall. Reduced gambling demand is a global phenomenon, and not specific to Canada. During the post-recession period, chance-based games like slots, roulette, bingo, keno, and others saw a decrease in expenditure.
While casinos are feeling pressure from other entertainment sectors, many are incorporating multiple fun-filled options to attract clientele. The unprecedented interest in online gambling is siphoning players away from land-based casinos and helping to fuel a burgeoning online gaming market.
The gambling activity in this country can be characterized as clustered, and it is highly diverted towards specific areas. In terms of revenue, the most inhabited provinces also account for the lion’s share of the gross gambling revenue (GGR). These include Québec at 20.3%, British Columbia at 24.6%, and Ontario at 28.1%. Other provinces like British Columbia account for 13.1% of GGR in Canada.
One of the strongest years in Canada gambling was 2017. According to Fantini Gaming Research, Toronto, Ontario, comprised 43% of all gambling revenue generated in the country. It was also reported that Ontario province saw a 12% year-on-year growth.
Québec generated C$3.6 billion in revenues for 2018. That represented a 2.12% year-on-year increase. Third in line was British Columbia with C$3.14 billion and a year-on-year increase of 1.36%.
According to the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA), gross gambling output of C$31 billion is generated by the industry, with goods and services purchases valued at C$14 billion.
Since, online betting became legal in 1995, it has shown a 300% increase in GGR.
It is the most important source of revenue in the entertainment industry. Multiple charitable initiatives and government functions are supported by gambling revenues.
Of paramount importance is the safety, security, and regulation of gambling activity in Canada. The sector is fully committed to socially responsible gaming practices, with no underage gambling permitted. With just 2% of Canadian gamblers considered problematic, the country also boasts a generous budget of C$100 million earmarked specifically for annual problem gaming awareness, research and prevention.
It has been considered that the entire Canadian entertainment industry hinges upon gambling revenues to drive employment and economic growth.
Due to increased liberalization of online gambling legislation in the US and elsewhere, Canada is also enjoying booming online casino activity. However, the topic of legislation remains opaque.
From a social perspective, betting is acceptable, but from a legal perspective, things are different. Current legislation in Canada, specifically the Criminal Code, indicates that non-state licensed operators may not accept online wagers. However, Canadians are not prevented from accessing foreign-based sports books, online casinos, online bingo rooms, online poker rooms etcetera.
Official Government of Canada Statistics provide further insight into the Canadian gambling market. Thus, there are over a thousand businesses that were considered iGaming market players, with close to 90% of such outfits employing between 0 - 99 employees. Also, the figures indicate that those enterprises generate average revenues of C$617.7 thousand, and 80.8% of them report profitable earnings.
The scope of betting activity in this country is certainly impressive. With dozens of land-based casinos in operation, including sports books, and horse racing facilities, Canada’s gambling market has plenty of promise.