Over the past 2 years, the number of online casinos in Canada has skyrocketed — up over 70% from before. It is even though the country has strict gambling regulations.
65% of the population has bet at least once at an online casino. As well, 25% of the country’s residents play the lottery every week. Sports betting fans have spent more than $15 million at betting shops. In addition, Canadian players are accepted at casinos worldwide, and there are no bans for them as there are for players in the US or other countries.
However, things are not as smooth as they may seem. There are downs and ups, pluses and minuses. Let’s consider the current state of the industry in Canada, as you can see on https://yoju.casino/ca.
Consequences of the 2024 pandemic
In June 2024, Canadian gambling establishments reopened their doors after an extended lockdown. First, casinos and charity lotteries opened in the states of Alberta and Nova Scotia. Other provinces followed.
Before the pandemic, 114 offline casinos operated in the country. They employed more than 182,000 people. The government received 9.2 billion in taxes and charity from casinos.
The pandemic seriously changed the country’s gambling landscape. Revenue from offline casinos fell instantly by 50 to 70%, according to Concordia University. Players moved online en masse, followed by operators. Lotteries, tables, slots, live casinos saw a dramatic increase in revenue. Some Canadian operators reported a 77% growth in the online sector. The only exception was sports betting because sports events were shut down.
People started gambling more because they were feeling stressed and socially isolated. Gambling became an emotional refuge. Parallel to gambling, online trading in stocks and currencies increased dramatically — for the same reason. The motivation of players included the desire to make money and have a good time.
For example, a survey of 2,000 players in Ontario in April 2024 showed the following:
- 54% of those surveyed played during the lockdown
- 77% of them played exclusively offline before the pandemic.
- Most often played lotteries, instant lotteries and slot machines.
Offline casinos after the pandemic
What changed after the pandemic? After the pandemic, casinos started to look very different. Most tables are closed; there are far fewer slot machines in operation.
Additional services are closed — no more cafes, spas or nightclubs. Casinos now clean all their premises as intensively as the toilets once did. Surfaces are treated with antimicrobial sprays and disinfectant wipes after every visitor.
Most casinos are no longer open 24 hours a day. Several mornings are devoted to cleaning and disinfecting the casinos.
When the casinos opened their doors, visitors were happy to return to them. Casino Regina, for example, experienced large queues on July 9 when it opened its doors after the quarantine. Within 3 hours, the casino was packed to capacity with no vacant seats left.
Offline operators began to invest online. For example, they moved most of their games to the online environment and started making applications for mobile devices.
Online casinos after the pandemic
The peculiarity of Canada is that gambling has been legalized here for quite a long time. Consequently, players are used to offline, and there is no need for them to go online. But with the pandemic, players have been forced to switch to gambling websites, and now online casinos are becoming more and more significant in the country.
Canadian provinces, seeing the popularity of online casinos, are launching their platforms. For example, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan are already operating online casinos. Examples are Espacejeux (Quebec) and PlayOLG (Ontario). Perhaps because of this, Canadians spend more money domestically than abroad:
- Offshore platforms receive up to $4 billion from Canadians
- Local platforms — 4 times as much.
Canadian online platforms accept more men than women. Although access is open to all, still 80% of players are men. Most are young men who are in college or have just recently started working. And women are more likely to use mobile phones to play than men (55%).
There are now more than 2,000 online gambling platforms in Canada. They return 96% of invested money to players (while land-based casinos can afford to return 60%).
Online casino trends in Canada and the world
What trends are becoming more and more significant in online casinos?
- Mobile gambling. Experts predict that this game direction will take up to 60% of the entire industry in 2024.
- Cryptocurrencies. Providers are offering more and more opportunities to play with digital coins. Every year, cryptocurrencies are becoming easier to handle, which means more people are gaining access to them.
- AR and VR Reality. Devices like Oculus Quest 2 are becoming increasingly popular. So, too, gambling platforms should increasingly work with augmented reality.
Online casino risks
Online casinos allow access to gambling without the health risks that are possible offline. The growing trend of online gambling, however, has its risks. The state gets a lot of money from gambling platforms. But at the same time, the state must ensure the safety of its citizens.
Online casinos must strictly enforce a responsible gambling policy. Online provides much easier access to gambling, and players are too exposed to the risk of falling into addiction. Ultimately, this is disadvantageous for the casinos themselves, as they cease to earn a steady income from customers who are forced to forego gaming to avoid harming themselves and their surroundings.
To sustain the industry, customers must maintain a healthy attitude towards gambling.
Legislation in Canada
Today gambling is controlled by two types of laws: the First Nations Law and the provincial law. The rules for aboriginal tribes and communities allow them to organize offline and online casinos. The latter is responsible for controlling the behaviour of players and gambling establishments. Note that provincial laws are often stricter than federal laws.
Canadian platforms generally operate under a Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) licence. Offshore ones supply services under permits from Malta, the UK, Curacao and other international commissions.
In 2024, the Canadian government is pondering how to change legislation to regulate the industry better. Experts predict, in particular, that the province of Ontario will allow private operators to operate in the market. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will issue licences and regulate operations.
In addition, sports betting reform is proposed for 2024. Until now, local players cannot bet on single events. Instead, customers are forced to bet on at least 2 events, which is not always profitable. Lawmakers are going to change this situation.
The gambling industry is thriving in Canada. It has significant growth prospects thanks to legislative changes, online developments and digital trends. Offline casinos continue to play a substantial role, dealing with services combined with resort recreation.
There is no doubt that Canada’s offline and online casinos are looking confidently to the future.