Toronto Mike

A Brief History of Casinos in Ontario

As one of Canada’s most liberal states, Ontario has plenty to offer when it comes to entertainment. Ever since laws in 1985 made it possible for each province to regulate its gambling industry independently, the state has welcomed a wide range of casinos – both online and off.

According to research, games of chance have been enjoyed in Canada as far back as the fourteenth century. Today, Ontario is carrying on that long tradition with the world-famous Casino Windsor, and even a full-blown casino resort – not to mention the ever-growing selection of online slots casinos like Omni Slots.

If you’d like to know about the fascinating history of casinos in Ontario, read on. This post will explore the past behind one of our most famous forms of entertainment.

1892 to 1969

Before 1892, gambling in Canada – which took place anywhere from people’s homes to unofficial gambling houses or casinos – was unregulated. This all changed with the enactment of the Criminal Code, which introduced the first gambling legislation to the country.

On a federal level, the Criminal Code outlawed gambling and betting in any form. This included betting on horse racing, fights, and sporting events. Section 201 of the code specifically outlawed casinos, making it illegal to keep ‘a common gaming or betting house’.

Although amendments to the code later legalised charity raffles, bingo games, and (in 1910) horse racing, it wasn’t until 1925 that significant change came.

1925 Amendment

The amendment of 1925 made it legal for fairs to organise gambling events. This was the first time a law had explicitly legalised a gambling site – progress which would soon lead to the legalisation of casinos.

1969 Amendment

Another amendment in 1969 legalised lottery games, which included slots and gambling machines. As these machines became more popular, it became clear that specialised establishments – casinos – were needed to satisfy the demand.

1985 to today

In 1985, each Canadian province was given the power to regulate its own gambling industry. Canada’s first casino opened four years later in Winnipeg – and it wasn’t long before Ontario was following suit.

Casino Windsor

Casino Windsor, which has been known as Caesars Windsor since 2006, was opened in 1994. The casino is publicly owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Before moving to its current site overlooking the Detroit River in 1998, Casino Windsor was opened in the temporary location of Windsor’s old art gallery on Riverside Drive. It attracted millions of visitors from all over Canada and America, crowding the gallery completely.

Today, the casino has benefited from a staggering $400 million refurbishment project, with a 27-story hotel, an entertainment centre, multiple bars, and high-definition TVs for sports betting.

Fallsview Casino Resort

Overlooking the Horseshoe Falls, Fallsview Casino Resort opened ten years after the Casino Windsor. It reflects the increasing acceptance and growing wealth of the gambling sector, offering more than 2.5 million square feet and 3,000 slot machines!

Online casinos

As more and more people choose to visit casinos from the comfort of their own home, the Ontario government has turned its sights to the world of online gambling. Its one of the few states to have opens its own, government-run online casino –

This was a move to “repatriate” the millions of Canadian dollars which gamblers in Ontario were betting in foreign casinos – showing that the government has fully embraced the financial (and fun!) potential of casinos in Canada.

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