Toronto Mike

A brief history of gambling in Canada

Gambling in Canada has been around, in some form or another, for centuries. Since the first evidence of gambling in Canada, the industry has evolved massively. Nowadays, there are many land-based casinos and online casinos to choose from, and the gambling industry is worth billions. But where did it all begin? In this article, we'll briefly examine the history of gambling in Canada.


Games of chance have been around for centuries. For example, the indigenous people played Slahal with animal bones. It essentially involves swapping a striped and unstriped bone between two hands, and the opposing team must guess which hand hides which bone. Singing or drumming usually occurs during this game, and spectators can place bets on which teams they expect to win.

Native tribes and card games

In 1497, John Cabot landed on the eastern coast of Canada where he discovered native people playing card games. These games were very simple games of chance, and far less developed than the types of card games we play today.

First horse race

In 1767 there was a horse race near Quebec City, and it marked the first official gambling event. Captain Prescott's mare Modesty won it for a purse victory of $40.

Big changes for the gambling industry

From 1989 onwards, land-based casinos began to appear in Canada. It was in 1989 that the first brick-and-mortar casino opened in Canada, in Winnipeg. In the following years, casinos began to open across the rest of the country. Sports betting companies began to appear in the mid-1980s.

Online casinos

For Canadians, online casinos became popular during the 1990s, with the first Canadian online casino platform launching in 1995. Since then, the online casino industry has grown rapidly.

Expectedly, technology for online casinos was limited in its infancy. However, rapid technological advancements have made online casinos increasingly immersive and appealing to gambling lovers.

Features such as mini-games in slot games differentiate online slots from traditional slot machines, such as those found in land-based casinos.

Additionally, improved payment technology means that punters can use a myriad of different payment options to deposit and withdraw money, such as cryptocurrency, e-wallets, debit and credit cards, or bank transfers.

Recently, VR and AI technology has begun to be used by online casino platforms. For example, AI technology has allowed for chatbots, which makes the customer service experience more straightforward for the customer.

If you're interested in checking out an online casino, but don't know where to begin, then this is a great place to start your research to find what's available to Canadians.

The future of online casinos

Since the launch of online casinos, technology has advanced massively. Whereas before slow internet speeds and clunky computers limited punters, online casino games can now be easily accessed through a mobile device. The advances in technology mean that developers of online casinos are continually making changes to games and the user experience of the website. We expect the future of online casinos to increasingly make use of VR and AI technology to provide a more immersive experience for gamblers.

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