Statistics of gambling in Canada

Gambling as an industry is not a novelty in Canada. It is a striving business, permitted and regulated by law, a form of entertainment enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Due to its liberal stance towards gambling, the country has profited from gambling activities for years and we’ve been curious about the statistics of gambling nationwide. How do the Canadian betting appetites translate to numbers and what tendencies do these data reveal? Sure, looking at percentages and pie charts is not always fun (it rarely is, honestly), but we’ll try to look beyond the figures and flush out some of the most interesting conclusions regarding casino statistics on this page.

Page contents

Essential Gambling Statistics Canada

Why is statistical info important? Well, because experts gather around and investigate something for everyone to understand it better. And since our passion is gambling, we look at casino industry statistics to unveil some of the curiosities that hide behind the numbers. On this occasion, we will not tackle online casino statistics, just offline data gathered by relevant surveys and authority reports.

  1. Gambling is the largest entertainment industry in Canada, which creates an estimated annual revenue of over $16 billion (CA$17.3 billion) and $1.2 billion in taxes.
  2. The latest survey shows that there are about 19.3 million active Canadian gamblers.
  3. The most popular form of gambling in Canada is the lottery. However, this may vary between different households (depending on the household income) and regions.
  4. The largest gambling revenue is in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. The populations of these provinces experience rapid gambling response and have sites adapted to the region in terms of language and other factors.
  5. On average, Canadians spend about $6.75/month on gambling and gaming.
  6. There are more than 2,000 active online casino sites in Canada, and this list is increasing in equal proportion with the number of new players.
  7. The most popular markets include a selection of gaming machines, but there are lots of fans of the sportsbook as well.

Essential Gambling Statistics Canada

Game Preferences

The most popular gambling activity by far in the Great White North is betting on lottery tickets. The participation rate is 65%. This is followed by instant scratchies (36%), while 22% of all Canadian gamblers visit casinos. An Ipsos Reid Lottery & Gaming study from 2013 reveals that 49% of all participants said they always play slot machines when they visit a casino.

Gambling statistics - games preferences

Combining the spending potential of the respondents, it turns out that most of the money is spent on slots. Lottery tickets follow, and then card games such as blackjack and poker. Of course, these reports do not include sports betting, something that’s extremely popular among Canucks. Nevertheless, a lottery slip is the god most Canadians pray to. The lottery is so popular and embedded in the nation’s mentality that most people don’t even consider it gambling.

The Legality of Online Gambling

Gambling in Canada is legal and has been since 1985, but you need to keep in mind that each province has its own specific regulations regarding gambling. In Canada, gambling is an activity which is only legal when it is fully regulated and managed by the provincial government. To be specific, all legal gaming sites in Canada must have a government-issued license, but individuals are allowed to play online.

Keep in mind though that even though gambling is legal in the country, not all operators will accept Canadian players, because it's illegal to offer them gambling services if this online gambling site is not licensed in their province. In order to check whether the laws allow gambling sites in certain territories (eg. Ottawa or Alberta) and whether it’s not a crime to gamble when it comes to these authorities, you can read the casino’s terms, contact the manager, read the local laws, or find an alternative information source.

Age Distribution

The legal gambling age in Canada is either 18 or 19, depending on the province. And according to many polls, statistics, and results of surveys, young adult people are actually in the minority when it comes to gambling, as most gamblers are usually between the age of 35-55. Younger people do play, but not as much, and they mostly prefer more active gambling, while those a bit older like more relaxed activities like lotteries. Interestingly though, slots are equally popular among both younger and older Canadian gamblers.

Overall, the majority of the Canadian gaming community includes the age groups of bettors in the range of 35 to 50. Bingo players are usually older than 40, which creates a separate age group, and slot players are normally between the ages of 55 and 64. Interestingly, all other age ranges cannot compete with the senior slot players in terms of quantity. Are we even surprised? Didn’t think so.

Gambling statistics - age distribution

Provincial Stats

Casino gaming industry statistics can be filtered by the province in Canada. That’s exactly what we did and we’ve got an interesting landscape of provincial cultural preferences. It also becomes obvious how accessibility to particular types of gambling affects provincial participation rates.

Enough “I-know-science” talk, and let’s review the numbers! VLT’s are allowed in Manitoba, but not in Ontario. Participation rates for these two provinces are 21% and 2%. When we look at bingo, we can see that it is generally played more in the Canadian Atlantic region.

Quebec sports 10,000+ gambling venues (casinos, lottery outlets etc.). It’s safe to say that it is the province with the most gambling opportunities. Gambling participation in Quebec is 66%, while in Ontario the percentage reaches 83. Out of CA$17.3 billion that the Canadian gambling industry generated in 2017, 43% was generated in Ontario. It is, after all, Canada’s most populous province.

Problem Gambling and Addiction

Do you know how people that have a problem often claim that they don’t? With problem gambling, many people are in denial, or feel like they can’t stop even if they want to. A small 2% of all gamblers in Canada admitted having occasionally thought about themselves as problem gamblers. On the other hand, 15% of them never thought they were being excessive with their gambling privileges. Some of the typical signs of gambling addiction are:

  • Preoccupation with Gambling: A person becomes consumed by thoughts of winning and losing money and prefers gambling rather than doing something he/she used to enjoy.
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: A person may be constantly late for work, school or neglect responsibilities at home.
  • Financial Problem: A person with a gambling addiction may experience mounting debts, resort to illegal activities to finance their gambling, or struggle to pay bills and meet basic needs.
  • Relationship Difficulties: A person becomes distant from friends and family.
  • Increased Bet Amounts: One of the signs of gambling addiction is when an individual starts increasing bets over time. They may feel the need to bet larger sums to experience the same level of excitement or to recover previous losses.
  • Gambling to Escape Problem: People with gambling addiction become easily bored when they don't gamble.
  • Other Types of Addiction: Alcohol problems and mental health problems.

The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario reports an estimated 3.2% of Canadians are dependent on gambling. These gambling problems seem quite serious, so operators are doing their best to minimize these levels, mitigate risks, and help players who face unpleasant consequences.

Gambling statistics - problem gamblers

How much money do Canadian players spend on gambling?

Now let’s get to the fun part. In reality, how much money do Canucks spend on their favourite casino games? National data claims that 60% of the nation’s population partakes in gambling. Out of this number, 43% spend between C$1 and C$20 per month. Approximately 14% will spend between C$20.01 and C$100 on a monthly basis. No more than 3% will stake over C$100 per month.

That’s not so bad. What’s interesting is the spending potential of Canadian millennials. This was investigated in 2014, and research shows that millennials will spend C$123 on average playing card games, namely poker. That’s just what they reported about their last visit to a casino.

Men vs. Women: who gambles more?

Without knowing any gambling demographics, one would assume that men are more into gambling than women, so let’s find out whether it’s true about males and females in gambling. That is completely true if we just look at online gambling, where more than 80% of gamblers are male and barely 17.6% are female. Non-internet stats paint a different picture, a more balanced one. While 43% of women claim they take no part in gambling, 37% of men say they do not spend any money on placing bets. The bottom line, more men gamble than women, but the difference is not as nearly as high as one would expect.

Men vs. Women in gambling

Overview of Canadian Online Casinos

The gamblers in Canada have steadily shifted their attention from land to online casinos, and for a good reason. Not only are online casinos a lot more convenient, but they also return more than 96% of the player's wins, compared to land casinos where this RTP is only set at 60%. So, the more people started to shift their attention to online casinos, the more of them started to pop up, allowing Canadian players to select among a huge number of good places to play in.

ICE Casino logo
ICE Casino Review

Welcome Bonus: Up to C$1,500 + 270 Free Spins

spinfever logo
SpinFever Casino Review

Welcome Bonus: 250% up to C$2,000 + 200 Free Spins

Leon Casino logo
Leon Casino Review

Welcome Bonus: up to C$4,500

Canada’s sustainable growing gambling industry

Estimations say that at least 76% of Canadian adults engage in some form of gambling. As of 2017, that percentage stands at almost 30 million Canadians. The acceptance of gambling is culturally widespread and the government sees gambling sector revenues as substantial. In other words, Canada is gambling heaven. While in it, players are not bothered by the numerical data. Taking a step back, getting a handle on the figures may put certain habits in perspective. Statistics of gambling can be fun and useful, if you look at it the right way.

Gambling Industry Trends in Canada

As well as in other countries in the world, here in Canada, the gambling race is definitely fast, which means that the industry is evolving and gamblers enjoy new trends and events. Even the COVID pandemic didn’t change this due to the rapid growth of online technologies. Let’s find out more details and track the future of these trends!

🔒 Fair & Safe Gambling

Whether they are bookmakers or a platform dedicated to casino table games and slot machine titles, customers should access a variety of responsible gambling tools. For example, the availability of a self-exclusion option and other options like a cooling-off period. Licensing (eg. UK Commission) for a fair outcome of each game is also essential. Due to this approach, users in Canada can avoid a gambling problem, get relevant help in time, and regulate the risk level.

🕶️ Focus on VR and Live

The gambling habits of Canadian players have evolved since technologies turned video lottery terminals into easy-to-play online games, while the progressing solutions available in 2023 impact the industry even more. In addition to the standard gambling machines, the amount of live software has definitely increased. Moreover, providers add special tools like individual rooms for VIPs, live shows with slot elements, and more iGaming content solutions.

🎁 Bonuses & Events to Be Engaged

When you experience a deposit bonus in your account and can use it to place a bet and win real funds, then, this keeps you engaged. The forms can be very different, including standard promotions like free spins, any raffle event, and no-deposit bonuses, which can be requested even on Instagram. When players have a chance to increase initial deposits and easily wager winnings from such offers, it’s a really good idea.

📚 Well-Informed Players: Gambling Education

Studies show that today, the number of Canadian players are interested in the market where operators display clear information regarding any issue. The work of customer support is essential, but gamblers also need to see and compare all the conditions themselves, including wagering and odds. This trend is reasonable when it comes to real funds. That’s why casinos meet gambling preferences, and our CasinoCanada reviews also cover all these aspects.

📱 Mobile Gaming

The popularity of mobile gambling is rapidly growing, and the reasons for this are the convenience of gambling on the go and the presence of mobile-optimized software. As a result, more than half of CA residents (the same as in the US and other territories) value mobile gambling on iOS and Android devices. The casino can offer an app, a special menu logo for smart mobile navigation, and tons of other features.

💎 Crypto Payments

We use cash in daily life, but cryptos like BTC, LTC, and others provide faster withdrawals which are just as safe, so in most cases, cryptos are accepted as well. The latest gambling news and a report show that at most times, a crypto-friendly casino accepts fiat payments as well. Thus, players access different sources to top up the account safely and with perks like anonymity, a wide choice of cryptos, and a high processing speed.

Video guide to gambling statistics in Canada

Gambling Statistics in Canada with Infographics video preview Full article about gambling statistics in Canada: Don’t forget to visit Best Canadian gambling guide for more interesting info: In this video you will find answers on questions like: What kind of games Canadians prefer to play? From what age they are allowed legally visit casino? Which province has biggest choice of gambling venues? How many people in Canada have problems with gambling? And for desert we will tell you how much money Canadians spend on betting. Find out Interesting and informative data about statistic of gambling in Great North Canada. TimeStamps: 1) N.1) Game preferences 0:52 2) N.2) Age distribution 1:44 3) N.3) Provincial Stats 2:36 4) N.4) Problem gambling and addiction 3:40 5) N.5) How much money Canadians spend on gambling 4:50

Dmitry Rogalchuk
With over 5 years of experience in iGaming, Dmitry Rogalchuk leads a content team at CasinoCanada, ensuring that every article on the CasinoCanada website is informative and engaging for our readers.
Head of Content
The University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia & McGill University degrees, strategic marketing & content leadership expertise, sales strategies development
Expert in:
  • Content Management
  • Latest News in iGaming
  • Gambling Industry Knowledge
Last updated on: 19.03.2024


📌 What are the current gambling trends in Canada?

One of the greatest trends, and one of the most praised ones, is the fact that gambling revenues are used to drive employment and economic growth in the country.

📌 What is the rate of problem gambling in Canada?

The stats of problem gambling in Canada show a range from a low of 0.04% in Quebec to a high of 1.4% in Manitoba. The rate in Saskatchewan is 1.2%.

📌 Is gambling addiction harmful?

It can be. Addiction to gambling may affect a person’s life in a negative way. That’s why, in Canada, problem gamblers are advised to take up counselling. That’s how they can regain control and find a long-term solution to their addiction. There are many national, non-profit charitable organizations dedicated to safety and awareness among gamblers.

📌 What was the total revenue in 2019 of the gambling industry in Canada?

The total revenue of the gambling industry in 2019 was C$15 billion, with annual growth remaining stagnant from 2014 through to 2019.

Related articles

Please turn your device for the best gameplay
By using this website, you agree with our use of cookies to improve its performance and enhance your user experience. More info on our cookies policy page.