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.

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Essential Gambling Statistics Canada

Why is statistic 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 CA$17.3 billion.

  2. There are about 19.3 million active Canadian gamblers.

  3. The most popular form of gambling in Canada is lottery.

  4. The largest gambling revenue is in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

  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.

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. 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, as an activity 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 sites will accept Canadian players, because it's illegal to offer them gambling services if this online gambling site is not licensed in their province.

Age Distribution

The legal gambling age in Canada is either 18 or 19, depending on the province. And according to many polls and statistsics, young adult people are actually in the minority when it comes to gambling, as most of the 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 between both younger and older Canadian gamblers.

Overall, the majority of the Canadian gaming community includes bettors in the range of 35 to 50. Bingo players are usually older than 40, 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 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 more played 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 Canadian gambling industry generated in 2017, 43% was generated in Ontario. It is, after all, Canada’s most populous province.

Problem Gambling and Addiction

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 wanted to. A small 2% off 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:

  • The person rather gambles than do something he/she used to enjoy
  • Constantly late for work or school or other obligations due to gambling
  • Bills start piling up because the person forgot to pay them or spent the money of betting
  • The person is no longer up for socialising with friends and family. He/she would rather watch cards hit the felt or a roulette ball drop
  • Mood swings out of nowhere
  • Boredom when not gambling

The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario reports an estimated 3.2% of Canadians dependent on gambling. Ouch!

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% spends 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 the research shows that millennials will spend C$123 on average playing card games, namely poker. That’s just what they’ve reported for 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. 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. 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 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.

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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 for 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 the 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.

Video guide to gambling statistics in Canada

Gambling Statistics in Canada with Infographics video preview Full article about gambling statistics in Canada:\n\nDon’t forget to visit Best Canadian gambling guide for more interesting info:\n\nIn this video you will find answers on questions like:\nWhat 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.\nFind out Interesting and informative data about statistic of gambling in Great North Canada.\n\nTimeStamps:\n\n1) N.1) Game preferences 0:52\n2) N.2) Age distribution 1:44\n3) N.3) Provincial Stats 2:36\n4) N.4) Problem gambling and addiction 3:40\n5) N.5) How much money Canadians spend on gambling 4:50


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

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