Although gambling in Canada is prohibited under federal law, exceptions are made for provincial governments to conduct and manage commercial gaming in their own province. This means that there is potential for growth in the industry, especially given there are 19.3 million commercial gaming accounts in the country.
This level of popularity has opened the door for the launch of several new casinos in Canada that provide access to games, including online slots and table games such as blackjack, roulette, and baccarat.
A closer look at the 2018 CCHS–GAM RR gives more insights into the appetite for commercial gaming in Canada. The report reveals that around two-thirds of Canadians said they had gambled at least once in the previous twelve months. Further to this, the most likely group of people to gamble were identified as those aged 45 to 64. In this age group, 73.3% of those asked said they had gambled at least once in the previous year.
These figures are from 2018. Since then, the value of commercial gaming in Canada has increased from $0.91 billion to a projected $2.17 billion in 2023. This increase has been driven by factors such as the global pandemic and the launch of the regulated market in Ontario. Given the higher revenue figures, it’s safe to predict that the figures from the 2018 report would also increase if people were asked about their gambling habits today.
In Ontario, regulation seems to be a driving force for the growth of commercial gaming. Since the market launched, 85% of people in the province who participate in commercial gaming do so at sites that are part of the regulated online casino sector. The sector, which is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and managed by iGaming Ontario (iGO), is now one of the strongest in North America.
The industry is also recognized as being a leader in responsible gambling measures, and it has raised around $2 billion in tax revenue for the province. It’s possible that other provincial governments will follow the lead of Ontario at some point. If this happens, it’s likely to benefit a Canadian commercial gaming market that is already expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.51% in the coming years, resulting in a projected market volume of $4.99 billion by 2027.
By this time, predictions suggest that there will be 20.4 million people participating in commercial gaming in Canada. The actual number of participants in commercial gaming in 2027 could be higher if regulation takes place in provinces outside of Ontario and attracts more people to commercial gaming.
This regulation is likely to be tempting for provincial governments that see the opportunities it has created in Ontario. Not only have commercial gaming enthusiasts embraced regulatory measures, but these measures have also enabled operators from the European market to extend their enterprises into Canada. All of this is good news in Ontario and could lead the way for other areas of the country to follow the province’s lead.