The slow evolution and growth in prevalence of Canadian land-based casinos may be traced back to 1892; just one quarter-century after Canada’s confederation as a nation, amendments to the Canadian Criminal Code resulted in a ban on all forms of gambling throughout the country.
Just eight years later, however, new laws resulted in legal bingo games and raffles were introduced and Canada’s slow acceptance of legalised gambling had begun. By 1969, the national government legalised both national lotteries and provincial governmentally-licensed gaming halls/casinos. The first beneficiary was Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall in Dawson City, Yukon, which opened for business with a nationally-issued license in 1971.
Gertie’s still does fair business today, as do about 100 more Canadian land-based casinos, many of which were established in the Canadian casinos’ boom days of the 1990s and 2000s. Seventeen of Canada’s casinos currently operating are on First Nations land.
We cannot yet tell what effect Pierre Trudeau and his National Liberal Party government may have on the state of Canadian land-based casinos or gambling law – as of this writing, he’s within his first 100 days of office – but with nearly all prevailing laws and regulations on gambling have been left to the provinces since the legislative changes in ‘69, we shouldn’t expect much radical change here.
Except for Newfoundland and Labrador, each of Canada’s provinces have at least one gaming outlet. Below runs a few notes on Canadian land-based casinos by province.
As Canada’s most populous province, it’s no surprise that Ontario is tops in number of land-based casino outlets in the country with 29 currently operating. The great majority of these are located within “racino”-type surroundings under the OLG Slots franchise banner (such as Toronto’s massive OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack with over 2,500 slot machines and dozens of electronic table games) or are hosted in tourist locations, such as the pair doing business in Niagara Falls (the Casino Niagara and the Niagara Fallsview. Two notable exceptions here would be the high-end Casino Windsor resort and the Vegas-owned Caesars Windsor, both located in (you guessed in) Windsor.
Despite the widespread placement of casinos in Ontario, though, only Calgary and Edmonton could realistically lay claim to the title of “gambling capitol of Canada.” Of Alberta’s 27 casino gaming operations, Calgary and Edmonton host a total of 13. Happily, neither city has saturated its market despite both well outdoing all other Canadian towns in number of casinos. Starting with Calgary’s Cash Casino in 1980 and the Casino Edmonton in 1986, both burgs have consistently erected one (or sometimes two) in steady five- or six-year increments; the most recently opened casino in either was the 2007-founded Grey Eagle n Calgary. One further note: Though one Edmonton spot is called the Baccarat Casino, lots of table games and slots are in play there.
British Columbia places third on our list, with 17 casinos doing business I the westernmost province. As in most areas of casino, these casinos are well spread throughout the area; Vancouver has both a classic-style gambling hall (the Edgewater Casino) and a racino with full gaming at Hastings Park Racecourse. Located just outside Vancouver proper, Richmond’s Rive Rock Casino Resort is said to be BC’s most popular gambling spot and is certainly one of the tops in all of Canada, having drawn an average of 10,000 visitors daily across two decades.
Saskatchewan hosts some eight casino operations, with six located on First Nations land. Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw are government-owned gaming halls which do a pretty decent job in staying up-to-date with promotions, entertainment and the games themselves.
Quebec has seen its list of operating land-based casinos decline a bit, going from nine in the mid-2000s to just five 10 years later. Only the Casino Montreal has managed to survive in the big city, although Montreal does have the 15-table heavy-action Four Aces Poker Club as well. is probably your best bet for gambling in Quebec, with two casinos (Casino Montreal doing business there. The Salon de Jeux de Quebec Casino is a long-standing casino in Quebec City owned and operated by the “Casinos de Quebec” group, i.e. the same folks who run the Montreal; Casinos de Quebec also runs Canadian land-based casinos in Mont Tremblant and Trois Rivieres.
Finally, in Manitoba, casino-goers have a choice of six spots to play – though four of these (the Crystal Casino, McPhillips Street Station Casino, the Club Regent and the Club West Gaming Lounge at the Assiniboia Downs.Elsewhere, Canadian land-based casinos may be found dotting the landscape in Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia; in Moncton, New Brunswick; on Prince Edward Island; and, of course, at good old Gertie’s up there in the Yukon.
Any question regarding the rules of playing at Canadian casinos online is, naturally, determined province by province and is therefore as complicated as you’d imagine. Check out CasinoCanada’s other pages for more detailed information on this. And please note that playing at any casino featured on these pages is safe and secure.