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The online gaming sector in Canada has undergone a renaissance in recent years with an influx of talented developers, designers and investors helping to deliver a product which is safer, more enjoyable and incredibly rewarding. So popular has online gaming become that it is now one of the premier entertainment options amongst those aged 23-35 with some that fall within this bracket playing between two and six times a week.
Best Online Casino
So, the big question is how we classify online casinos and, most important for you, how should you act about selecting the best online casino among the ones available? And there are lots of them out there. We set quite a few criteria and so should you! Let’s take a look at some of the aspects we consider:
- First, it’s the available choice. Does the online casino have a good selection of games? Or, if you know what you want to play, does this or that online casino have a variety of different options for roulette, for example? This is important when looking for the best online casino, even if you’re a seasoned player, as once you’ve found your best online casino, you’ll likely want to try a few different options with it.
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- Promotions and bonuses. If you’ve gone to all the effort of finding and exploring a new online casino, then it’s not unreasonable to want it to give you something back for all your efforts. So, it’s only fair if it gives you some decent promotions for signing up. And bonuses, too. The latter go beyond the sign-up stage, so maybe look out for any no-deposit bonuses, regular bonuses that give you payback for loyalty and, definitely worth looking for, if you’re considering finding the best online casino for more than just one play, see what VIP or exclusive offers they’ll give you.
- We’ve already mentioned security, looking at deposit methods. You should be safe with regulated online casinos, but steer clear of the unregulated ones – this can be a dangerous ground. So, keep safe and stay only with the best online casino which is ruled by the competent authorities.
- Customer support. Look for 24/7 support. After all, aside from any issues, you might have with the play, you’ll want to be able to access winnings as soon as you can! Email, phone and live chat are all options to look out for when you’re looking for a decent casino online.
Online Casino Canada
Globally and in Canada particularly, online gambling has seen a massive increase in the last two years which is great for players, with more people to compete against and the potential for more game variety.
According to Statista.com, the current size of the global online gambling market is immensely growing: it reached about $59 billion in 2021, and it is expected to be valued at more than $92.9 billion already in 2023.
The total Canadian gambling market size was estimated at around $12.5 billion in 2021 which showed a decrease as compared to the-year-2020 figure due to the reduced land-based casino sector size.
Total Canada’s gambling industry earned $2.64 billion in revenue in 2021, with $1.2 billion in revenue reached in online gambling, online casino gambling included, which accounts for almost 50% of the total sector’s revenue and which is in line with the global trend of online gambling spread.
Actually, there should be no surprise that such a spread is happening currently. According to the 2022 report revealed by the CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), more than half – 54% – of the survey respondents say they spend more than five hours per day online which is 19 points up as compared to 36% in 2016. So, definitely with the growth of time people spend on the Internet the increase in online gambling is understandable and clearly explainable.
While the land-based casino sector in Canada is showing a steady decrease in the market size during the past three years, online gambling, on the contrary, is prospering. Starting from 2020 and on players are gaining more interest in online casino Canada. That’s why, when it comes to which country used most money on online gambling, Canada is ranked eighth in the world due to a significant amount of $824.68 a year that its citizens spend on online casinos in Canada per capita, which is more than gamblers from the US and the UK taken together.
The evident shift to online gambling that has happened in Canada recently, can be justified, on the one hand, by the strengthening of lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic years of 2019 through 2021 when Canadians had to stay more home and, thus, started looking more for the online casinos in Canada to play at.
However, on the other hand, this trend is not going to change in 2022 either, vice versa, it will increase due to:
- enhanced internet penetration;
- adoption of mobile gaming;
- increased need for convenience and safety of transactions which includes the appearance and growth of bitcoin online casinos;
- the improved way online gambling sites promote themselves;
- further legislation to be enacted;
- better address of problem gambling.
In fact, from just an average of 2,000 internet searches per month for online casinos in Canada in 2015, monthly visitor queries shot up to 16,000 in 2021.
Though, this trend, starting from February 2022, is slowly but steadily decreasing and the search results are now balancing at a 12,000-figure, as backed up by the search volume trend data.
However, this can be explained by the gradual lifting of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. From February through April 2022 the restrictions have been lifted in most of the provinces in Canada. Thus, re-opened gyms, restaurants and clubs started pulling people away from their computers and cozy chairs.
Online Casino Statistics by Provinces in Canada (2023)
According to Google Trends data, in 2022 online casino has a popularity score of 100 out of 100 in Nunavut, the newest and the largest territory of Canada with a population of only 38,000 people most of whom actually love to gamble. Nunavut’s interest in online gambling far outweighs other provinces and actually, this phenomenon can be easily explained.
In Nunavut, the Department of Community and Government Services is responsible for monitoring all land-based and online casino gambling activities. This authority is also in charge of issuing licenses to casino operators, but up to now, there are none of the land-based casinos operating in the territory. That’s why no wonder that gambling-loving residents of Nunavut look forward to playing the casino online.
The 2021 year’s outsider, Newfoundland and Labrador, whose 2021 least online casino popularity (only 19 out of 100) still decreased (14 out of 100) finds itself right in the middle of the 2022 statistical chart together with such other provinces as Saskatchewan and Ontario.
The most minor popularity of online casinos in 2022 demonstrate Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia showing a score of 10 and less (out of 100). Such a decrease in online gambling interest can be, most probably, justified by Canada’s re-opening of all its gambling establishments after the coronavirus pandemic with most of them concentrated exactly in these provinces.
So, online casino gamblers, tired of lockdowns and longing for live communication and live music started preferring good old land-based casinos to online casino platforms.
Gambling Preferences of Canadians
According to the most recent gambling statistics available for Canada, 65% of Canadians prefer playing the lottery. As well, 36% prefer the so-called lucky scratchies, and 22% of gamblers indicate casinos, online casinos in particular, as their favourite gambling activity. More than half of the latter, around 70%, prefer playing slot machines. Roulette games attract 13% of players, and just 5% of gamblers are playing blackjack.
A recent 2022 report on ‘Gambling during Covid-19 in Ontario’ carried out by the Responsible Gambling Council of Toronto shows that Ontario bettors under survey preferred lotto or raffle tickets in their majority – 60%, followed by instant lottery lovers – 23%.
Players heading for the online slots accounted for around 21% with politics and novelty events hooking in 6%.
With more Canadians coming to the world of online casinos, poker becomes one of the fastest-growing online casino games. About 17% of players choose table games competing with electronic gambling machines (EGMs) preferred by 14% of gamblers. Sports, eSports betting and virtual sports entice 16%, 5% and 3.8% of the Ontarians, respectively.
The spending potential of the surveyed shows that most of the money is spent on slots. Lottery tickets follow, and then such card games as blackjack and poker bother the gamblers’ pockets.
We can see that a lottery slip is a thing mostly relied on and paid for by Canadians. Why so? The fact is that the lottery is so embedded in the nation’s mentality that the majority of people just don’t even see it as gambling similar to online casinos, for instance. Besides, lottery tickets bought on average once a week involve less spending and less stress as it is a less intense and slower-paced type of gambling.
Online Gambling Industry Numbers Revealed
According to the 2022 Canadian statistic report, Canada’s arts, entertainment, and recreation sector increased by 13.5% in March, which is the largest growth rate since July 2020. This can be explained by lifting the lockdown measures after COVID-19 so that many sports venues, recreation centres and casinos could open their doors for clients to attend their facilities.
Amusement, gambling and recreation industries contributed the most to the growth in March with 14.7%, mainly thanks to higher activity at casinos, bingo halls and other gaming terminals.
In 2021 Canada’s gambling industry gained around CA$3.34 billion in revenue, including CA$1.52 billion from online gambling. Around 75% of all Canadians participate in some form of gambling. On average, each Canadian over 19 years of age (not counting tourists) spends from CA$700 to CA$1000 on gambling annually.
Nowadays Canada is home to 200+ licensed gambling institutions that operate over 76,000 slots and 2,200 table games. In some provinces, gambling prevails in form of government operated VLTs (video lottery terminals), which are similar to slots in their functionality.
Gambling, roughly speaking, is regulated by the state like a franchise where the license is acquired through the local regulating authorities. Provincial governments also determine the type of games allowed in their territory. For example, Ontario and British Columbia allow casinos, horse racing and slot machines, while video lottery terminals and similar gaming machines are prohibited.
The cost of building and equipping a permanent casino is estimated at 40-50 million Canadian dollars, approximately. Establishing a temporary casino (including ships and hotel rooms) is cheaper (40 – 60%). The price of a legal Canadian casino operating in full accordance with the provincial regulations starts from CA$80 million. To establish an online casino canada, you might need from CA$500,000 to CA$2 million, approximately.
An authoritative license will cost at least CA$45,000 and may reach up to CA$250,000 per year. Plus, it will also be necessary to pay several fees and duties, provide financial reporting, and pay taxes every year.
Online Casinos of Canada: The Regulation Point of Reference
Conducting gambling business in Canada is illegal unless it is established and regulated in accordance with the country’s Criminal Code as well as sanctioned by the authorities of all the Canadian provinces.
The legislation responsibilities have been delegated to provinces, considered to be the main stakeholders when it comes to an online casino or a poker room establishment authorization. The full powers have been granted to local bodies in 1985, and since then the sphere of influence remains untouched (therefore, only the provinces are eligible to authorize a gambling establishment).
The Criminal Code contains two sections that represent core appropriations that regulate the country’s gambling industry. Although all the provinces take part in the national lottery program, the provincial or regional authorities are entitled to permit or prohibit the activity.
Therefore, the senior officials of Alberta may ban the particular game of chance on the territory of the province, while the same activity can function in Ontario at the same time.
Ontario residents in 2022 got the ability to place legal wagers with over a dozen provincially regulated sports betting sites.
It happened so, that Canada’s most populous province brought to life its new competitive iGaming market on April 4, 2022. As of June 2022, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has approved 36 online gaming operators (22 sports betting sites), and 18 of these sports betting sites have already launched their operations in Ontario.
It’s evident that there are still more to come until the end of the year given the promising internet-gambling market volume of the province totalling around $500 million per year.
How Online Casino Appeared in Ontario
As of the end of April 2022, Ontario’s 2021–2022 budget deficit is projected to be $13.5 billion which is $19.6 billion lower than the outlook published in the 2021 Budget. The 2021 outlook publication was likely one of the reasons that made the Ontario government raise the question about the further legalization of online gambling in the province.
Dalton McGuinty, the former Prime Minister of the province, proposed filling in the gap by raising taxes on the sale of alcohol. However, armed with a calculator and enlisted with the support of like-minded people, the Prime Minister gave the green light to local online gambling resources.
The Ontarian gaming-field officials, like Paul Godfrey, former Chair of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., a long time ago highlighted the fact that legalization of gambling sites would benefit the entire province. Industry figures indicate that Ontarians spend about $500 million a year on internet gambling, though the funds head for other regions and offshore sites.
Thus, on April 4, 2022, the major country’s holder of land-based casinos (currently 71 establishments), Ontario, finally launched a new internet gaming market.
So, now internet gaming operators willing to participate in Ontario’s market will first need to get registered with AGCO. All registration applications can be submitted through iAGCO, AGCO’s web portal.
As well, online gaming operators, holding online casino betting sites in particular, must sign an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario, a set-up subsidiary of AGCO, in order to offer their games on behalf of the province and always stay in compliance with the new requirements.
As of June 2022, AGCO has approved 36 online gaming operators (22 sports betting sites), and 18 of these sports betting sites have already started their operations in the province. It’s absolutely evident that this number is still to grow, and we’ll witness more iGaming market players appearing in Ontario by the end of the year.
Online Slots Regulation in Alberta
The responsibility for supervising and regulating gambling businesses in Alberta lies on the local Gaming and Liquor Commission (also known as AGLC). In its turn, the organization is comprised of two departments: the Corporation and the Board.
The Corporation represents the functional mechanism of the system, while the Board puts the governmental policy into effect through the triggers under its control. The organization elaborates the strategic directions and policies as well as delivers their implementation in conjunction with the largest financial institutions in Canada.
AGLC is empowered to ensure the compliance of local gambling businesses, including online casinos, with the fundamental principles indicated in the Criminal Code as well as the documents adopted by the organization itself.
In fact, the organization holds the power to license, regulate and monitor game-of-chance activities located in Alberta. The province occupies the second position on the list of the major Canadian gambling provinces, ceding the leadership to Ontario, which demonstrates the highest number of casino players, with online casino gamblers among them. The organization is characterized by a relatively loyal (by the standards of Canada) attitude towards gambling activities and/ or enterprises, looking forward to conducting their business in Alberta. Therefore, AGLC adopted a far-famed charitable license model that helps dozens of organizations to raise funds for a particular project.
Online Casino Canada: Responsible Gambling
The problem of responsible gambling started being addressed in Canada back in the 80ies of the past century. Since that time there have appeared various organizations both on the national and provincial levels tackling the problems of online casino canada gambling in particular.
Among the well-known and major country-scale organizations is the Canada Safety Council, a non-government, charitable organization dedicated to safety. Gambling addiction is treated among the safety issues of the organization.
The other national institution is the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) of Canada. RGC – or the Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling, as it was called in 1983 through 2001 – operates independently. Board members of the Council include those who experienced gambling problems, representatives of treatment providers and gaming operators as well as professionals in non-gaming sectors from across Canada.
Several other centres and initiatives have been created under RGC. Among them are the Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling and the Centre for the Advancement of Best Practices whose activities include research, sharing, collecting, and analyzing data about gambling aspects as well as the production of various reports and surveys on responsible gambling.
On the province level, there are also various both independent and government-supported institutions dealing with responsible gambling issues.
For example, the Addiction and Mental Health Help Line of Alberta provides 24/7 confidential support, information and referrals to the Albertans experiencing addiction and mental health concerns, including problem gambling related to online casinos.
British Columbia’s organization called the Gambling Support BC is administered by the Community Supports Division within the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The institution’s mandate is to develop and offer health promotion, prevention, and support services to help B.C. residents make the best decisions regarding gambling, such as playing at an online casino Canada.
Still another type of organization treating problem gambling in Canada is a fellowship. One of such fellowships is Gamblers Anonymous, a community of men and women who share their experiences with each other, hope that they can solve their common problem and help others to get back to a normal life after recovering from gambling addiction.
Enhanced capabilities of information technology and personal gadgets are continually fuelling innovations in the e-commerce sector. New opportunities drive radical changes in all areas of businesses, and gambling is not an exception. Natural infiltration of these changes into the online segment redistributes power and influence in the global gaming sector and foments the inevitable clash between “conservatives” and “reformists”.
According to the February 2022 Statista report, in 2021, the number of unique mobile internet users in the whole world was estimated at 4.32 billion, indicating that more than 90% of the global internet users prefer mobile devices to go surfing on the Internet. Based on the official calculations, mobile internet traffic currently accounts for about 55% of the total web traffic.
When speaking about Canada, we can say that the country is among the biggest online markets in the Americas with over 33 million internet users. Moreover, this number is projected to increase totalling 35 million by 2023, which equals nearly 90% of the Canadian population.
According to the 2022 Report on ‘Trends in Internet Use and Attitudes’ made by the Strategic Counsel of Canada to CIRA, in 2022, internet access via mobile amounted to 75% in total which almost doubled the previous figures as compared, for instance, to 32% in 2013. 44% of the survey respondents said that they use other easily portable devices – tablets and iPods – for Internet surfing.
Mobile Internet Use Increase by Age looks like this:
- 18–34-year-olds: 86% against 57% in 2014
- 35–54-year-olds: 80% against 34% in 2014
- over 55 years of age: 61% against a poor 11% back in 2014.
Seeing this evident trend for mobile users’ growth, the game software developers cannot but take the advantage of it creating more games for mobile devices and inventing more mobile apps to play through.
According to the NPD Group’s 2022 Mobile Gaming Report, 2021 saw 63% of Americans and Canadians playing mobile games, which was equal to 228.7 million active mobile gamers across the two countries. This figure demonstrates a 4%-decline from 2020 but a 6%-increase from 2019.
Still, with the reduction in the total number of gamers, active players showed more involvement in mobile gaming than ever before, with an average weekly gaming time growth of 27%, and a revenue contribution increase of 16% as compared to 2020.
This 4% decrease in 2021 can be explained by the fact that the U.S. and Canadian mobile gaming markets started to normalize after easing the pandemic restrictions: mobile game consumers stopped downloading new titles in favour of focusing on titles they have already been playing due to spending more time on outdoor activities and real-life communications.
The mobile games market in general, and the mobile online casino market in particular, still bear an enormous potential for growth in Canada in the next years to come. Thus, the revenue in the mobile games segment is projected to reach $0.75 billion in 2022 with the revenue growth reaching 13.4%. The total projected Canadian market volume is expected to value at $1.10 billion by 2026. As well, the number of users in the mobile games segment is forecast to amount to 14.1 million users by 2026.
What does such a trend owe to? Well, first of all, there are evident things like smartphones becoming more affordable. Then, of course, it’s convenient: you can always play on the go which is important in our dynamic everyday life.
Secondly, the smart online casino providers try to increase the number of gamers by creating really user-friendly mobile applications for gadget lovers. Besides, these applications can interact and get easily connected to other apps, such as payment apps, for instance, installed on mobile devices.
And since the technologies do not plan to stop developing this trend in mobile gaming is not going to diminish either, involving more and more customers in the sector.