Many people enjoy the excitement of gambling now and then. What makes it even more attractive in Canada is that the government doesn’t impose taxes on gambling wins so you get to keep 100% of them. Unless you are a professional gambles and win consistently.

In recent years, there has been a shift towards online casinos. This shift was speeded up with the closure of land-based casinos during the pandemic. With 60% of Canadians reporting they spend some money on games and gambling every month, it is certainly a lucrative business.

Read on to find out more gambling statistics in Canada.

Gambling Statistics for Canadians

  • At least six out of then Canadians have spent money on gambling.
  • The average Canadian spends $6.75 per month on gaming and gambling.
  • 63% of men and 57% of women report they spend some money on gambling every month.
  • Ontario reported revenues of $3.8 billion in 2020.
  • There are over 19.3 million active online gamblers in Canada.
  • 43% of women and 56% of men say they have gambled online.
  • The revenue from Canada’s online gambling industry was $1.2 billion in 2021.
  • 73% of Canadians said problems associated with gambling have increased in their province.
  • 83% of Canadians believe it is up to the individual to control their gambling habits.
  • 2% of Canadians aged 15 or older have a gambling problem.

How many Canadians take part in gambling?

Overall, 60% of Canadians report they spend money on games and gambling. However, there is some variation across the provinces and territories, and depending on age, gender, and household income.

How much do Canadians spend on gambling?

Just 3% of Canadians say they spend over $100 per month on gaming and gambling. 43% of Canadians say they spend between $1-$20 per month and 14% spend between $20.01 and $100 on games and gambling in an average month. The average Canadian spends $6.75 per month on gaming and gambling.

If the data is broken down by, for example gender, region or economical background, there is more variation in the proportions of non-players and those who spend up to $20 per month. The over $100 per month group does not seem to be affected by region, gender, age, education, income, or employment status.

Gaming and gambling in different regions of Canada

There is little regional variation in the amount spent on gambling across Canada. The $20-$100 and over $100 per month groups, in particular are very similar across the country. The variation in the $20-$100 group is between 12% and 17% and in the top spending group between 2% and 4%.

People living in Quebec are most likely to gamble at 69% and residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the least likely to gamble with only 50% of the residents reporting to spend money on gambling. However, even in these provinces, the percentage of people spending over £20 per month is consistent with the national data.

Gaming and gambling in different age groups

Younger Canadians aged between 18 and 34 are less likely to gamble than those in the 35-54 age group. 45% of those aged 18-34 report they don’t spend any money on gambling compared to 36% of people in the older age group.

The older gamblers are also more likely to spend more when gambling with 45% saying they spend between $1 and $20 per month. Again, there is little variation in the top spenders group. 3% of the people aged 18 to 54 and 4% of those over 55 spend more than $100 per month on gambling.

Is there a difference between genders?

Men are slightly more likely to gamble than women with 63% of men and 57% of women reporting they spend some money on gambling every month.

Women are more likely to spend between $1-$20 per month on gambling, 44% compared to 41%. However, men are more likely to spend up to a hundred dollars per month: 18% versus 10%. In both genders, the proportion of people spending over $100 is 3%.

Does income affect gambling habits?

Households with an income below $25,000 are among the least likely to gamble. 45% of those on a lower household income say they do not spend any money on gambling compared to 39% of those where the household income is more than $25,000 but less than $55,000. 38% of people with a household income above $55,000 say they spend money on gambling regularly.

Households in the middle income group are most likely (17%) to spend between $20-$100 per month on gambling compared to the higher (14%) and lower (9%) income groups. The proportion of people spending more than $100 is 3-4% across all income groups.

What are the most popular games in land-based casinos?

Slot games are the most popular games in land-based casinos. In 2019, there were over 67,000 slot machines in the country. 23,750 of those slot machines were in Ontario. British Columbia and Alberta had around 13,700 slot machines each. However, the allocation of slot machines per population is much closer in all provinces.

Gambling online is one of the fastest growing industries in Canada and across the world

Canada ranks eight among countries that spend the most money gambling online. There are over 19.3 million active online gamblers in Canada who spend more than $4 billion on offshore gambling sites every year and $16 billion in local casinos.

The rising popularity of online casinos

More and more people are turning to online casinos in Canada especially following the pandemic. They are easier to access, convenient and pay generous bonuses. Because of the increased popularity of online casinos, the revenue from land-based casinos has been declining over the years.

The shutdowns during the pandemic sped up the decline. For example, the revenues from Alberta’s land-based casinos have dropped by 24 per cent. As a result, the provincial government in Alberta launched its own online casino and other provinces soon followed suit.

Online gambling demographics in Canada

Most Canadian online gamblers are aged between 30 and 50 years. The gambling preferences vary depending on age. While older gamblers prefer games like bingo, younger players enjoy faster paced games. Overall, slots are the most popular online casino games in Canada.

43% of women and 56% of men say they have gambled online. Women are more likely to use their mobile phones to play online games with 55% using their phones to place bets.

What is the Canadian gambling industry worth?

The revenue from Canada’s gambling industry was $2.64 billion in 2021. $1.2 billion, which represents 45% of the revenue, came from online gambling. The proportion of revenue from online casinos is likely to increase further in the future.

British Columbia disclosed a net revenue of $421 million in 2021 with Ontario, $295 million and Quebec, $244 million in second and third place.

The legality of online casinos in Canada

Casinos in Canada are legal. However, every province and territory has their own laws regarding gambling and the relevant authorities issue licenses to online casinos. Saskatchewan is the only province that does not have at least one online gambling site.

Four provinces, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba issue licenses without a special license, but these online gambling sites can operate only within that province. Online gambling sites that wish to operate across provincial borders need a special agreement.

Foreign operators don’t need licenses to operate in Canada and only land-based casinos are subject to penalties. It is illegal for offshore casinos to target Canadian players but it is legal for Canadians to play at those casinos.

What does the future look like for online gambling in Canada?

Canadians can access over 2,100 online casinos and the overall return on investment for these casinos is 97% of your winnings. The pandemic benefited online casinos as those who had never tried them before explored online gambling.

As the online gambling industry grows, online casinos are implementing measures to help players manage their gaming experience to combat problem gambling. They are creating tools to help users control their experiences and improved checks on players’ age.

Online casinos are extending the availability of live dealer games to provide players a more interactive gaming experiences. More casinos are also allowing payments using crypto coins, and there are already some casinos that only use virtual currency.

Statistics on betting on horses

According to the data from 2019, Ontario had the highest revenue from horse racing with $832 million. British Columbia and Alberta placed second and third with $142 million and $106 million respectively.

The popularity of horse racing has been on the rise in Quebec where the revenues doubled from 2012 to 2013 from $28 to $53 million. They increased again in 2014 to $79 million and have been hovering around that figure since then.

Despite its popularity, most Canadians see gambling in a negative light

In a survey where Canadians were given statements about gambling and asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed, 73% of the participants agreed with the statement that problems associated with gambling had increased in their province or territory.

This view was the highest in the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec where 89% and 88% of the population had a negative view on gambling. The provinces where people were least likely to see an increase in gambling related problems were British Columbia (56%) and Ontario (63%).

Majority of Canadians believe each individual is responsible for their own gambling habits

83% of Canadians indicated it is up to the individual to control their gambling habits. People from Saskatchewan, Manitoba (both with 85%), Ontario (85%) and Quebec (84%) were most likely to agree with this statement. 89% of Canadians with the highest level of education and 87% of those with a household income below $25,000 agreed with the statement.

People who were least likely to agree were from Alberta (74%) and the Atlantic Provinces (77%). People from middle and higher income groups and those with a university degree were among those who were least likely to share this view with an average of 80%.

Health problems linked to gambling

Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey indicates that 2% of Canadians aged 15 or older have a gambling problem.

The potential for developing gambling disorders has been found to be higher in vulnerable groups, including younger people, those from low socio-economic background and among Aboriginals.

Studies have also found that the rates of mental illness and substance abuse are higher among problem gamblers. For example, 57% of the people with a gambling problem were found to have a substance use problem and 38% a type of anxiety disorder. There have also been some studies indicating a higher suicide and suicide attempt rates among those who have gambling problems.

Conclusions

Gambling, especially online gambling, in Canada is on the rise. The statistics show that the average Canadian is playing more every year. Ontario reports the highest revenues from most gambling types. However, British Columbia brings in the highest revenue from online gambling.

Canada has 19.3 million people who regularly spend money on gambling and ranks number eight in the world for online gambling.

However, most Canadians have a negative view on gambling and report seeing a rise in gambling related problems in their region. The proportion of people with an identified gambling problem in Canada is 2%, but this could rise with the easier access to gambling.

To prevent overspending and gambling related health issues, online casinos are leading the way in implementing tools to help players control their gaming habits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Overall, 60% of Canadians report they spend money on games and gambling.

73% of Canadians said problems associated with gambling have increased in their province.

Canada ranks eight among countries that spend the most money gambling online.

Most Canadian online gamblers are aged between 30 and 50 years. 43% of women and 56% of men say they have gambled online. 

83% of Canadians indicated it is up to the individual to control their gambling habits.

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