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Canada’s iGaming Landscape in 2019

02-08-2019

Online gambling is becoming more and more popular all over the world. Following the tremendous rise in availability and prevalence of online gambling around the globe, the global iGaming market is estimated to soar to great heights in the recent future.

Although iGaming is one of the most popular entertainment activities in Canada right now with many forms of land-based gambling being legalized by the nation, Canadian iGaming landscape is not yet clearly regulated. To get a better understanding of iGaming regulations in Canada, let’s take a short trip down history lane and see how it all went down.

Forming of the Regulatory Framework

Looking back to nearly half a century ago, all forms of online gambling were prohibited in Canada, including the lottery. In 1969, the criminal code changed, allowing the federal governments as well as the governments of provinces to host lotteries. The law was changed once again in 1985 when most forms of gambling were legalized, and Canadian provinces were given the green light to regulate gambling laws according to their choice and decision. Some provinces used this right and legalized different forms of gambling as well. That’s why the laws are quite different from one province to another.

iGaming and Gambling Laws in Canada

The situation with online gambling is slightly different, and the laws regarding this form of gambling are starting to take shape. There are only four provinces that host web-based gambling sites - Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, and Brittish Columbia. These sites are available only to the residents of these provinces who are of legal age. Although Canada is more open to the various forms of gambling, the nation has a strict attitude towards iGaming and online gambling.

Online casinos are permitted to operate only within Kahnawake Mohawk territory (moderated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission), and this territory is even considered to be legally offshore.



While most providers in Canada aren’t allowed to have an online casino, Canadian gamblers can freely enjoy playing casino games in online establishments that are not based in Canada. Of course, these establishments need to be authorized by commissions of different countries such as the UK Gambling Commission.

Any operator who wishes to offer their services in a particular province needs to approach the provincial government with a proposal. If an online gambling operator reaches an agreement with a provincial government, the operator’s service can then be offered within the borders of that specific province. The service itself is supplied to a provincial operator who will then offer it to consumers within the jurisdiction of the province.

The legislation of iGaming law in Canada has allowed the industry to grow across its various provinces with numerous operators offering their services via this pseudo-licensing method. While a better-regulated system at a national level would provide a better read of the iGaming industry and allow it to expand under more certain guidelines, the current state of play has allowed Canadians to enjoy their favourite casino games.

Canada - The Betting Haven

The online betting landscape is a mixture of Canadian sports and American sports. The most popular betting market in Canada is hockey. The natives have grown very fond of the game, and with seven Canadian teams competing in the National Hockey League, the game is considered a national pastime. Both the NBA and MLB feature Canadian teams, and betting on these leagues is extremely popular.

Football is the next most popular sport, especially in the World Cup years, and the Canadian Football League is a popular betting option for Canadians. Moreover, lacrosse is yet another popular sport that attracts big numbers among the betting population.

Consistent Rises in Gross Turnover

Provincial lotteries and Crown Corporations have also been performing exceptionally well in their online operations, with only a few downswings in revenue experienced over the past year. However, the best way to assume what the industry’s future will look like is to examine past results and try to make accurate predictions.

According to stats from bestcasinoscanada.com, digital and interactive gambling have generated more consistent gross gaming turnovers than local land-based venues. Mobile activity in particular has increased as expected with 2019 expected to see usage rates of over 35%.



Data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Gaming Association have shown exciting developments for those who have significant investments in the industry. According to the latest estimates, wagers earned indirectly or directly from iGaming stand at a national figure of over C$12.5 billion.

Canada’s Most Popular Entertainment

Online gaming revenues have surpassed combined revenues of industries like magazines, books, newspapers, film rentals, movie theatres, and spectator sports. Out of nearly C$16 billion of revenues generated in a year, over 50% goes to government coffers and charities, while 47% of what is returned to provinces goes to First Nations and municipalities.

When asked whether they would approve a new casino in their local communities, over 70% of Canadians responded positively. What’s more, the majority of those people also believe that existing casinos have had a positive impact on their communities.

The BBC’s latest estimates show that the online sector is growing at a tremendous pace, with mobile gaming reaching record gross win rates. While we’re still waiting on the 2019’s financial reports, it seems that this year is going to be an excellent one for the Canadian iGaming industry.

2020 Predictions

The online gambling industry is on the rise worldwide, and Canadian gambling operators are reporting major increases in revenue even at a local level. Unless some drastic changes which would prohibit the existence of offshore online gambling operators offering their services to citizens take place, the iGaming industry economy in Canada will most likely continue to thrive in the future.




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