According to recent statistics collected by IPSOS, the gambling sector is thriving in Canada.
A recent poll indicates that around 40% of Canadian adults have engaged in some form of online gambling in the last year, with this figure reaching as high as 47% in certain provinces. This includes sports betting and more traditional forms of online gambling, such as online casino games and online bingo.
The popularity of online casino games is now starting to exceed that of in-person betting. According to this same polling by IPSOS, while 40% of Canadians reported going to an in-person casino at least once a year before the Covid-19 pandemic, this figure dropped to 26% in 2022, and indications are that in-person gambling will continue its downward trend.
If recent reports are anything to go by, business has never been better for all the Canadian online casinos. Not only are their revenues up across the board, but their usage statistics suggest that more Canadians than ever are signing up for online casino accounts.
But what is behind this trend? What factors have contributed to the rising popularity of online gambling platforms in Canada?
Reason 1: The Pandemic
Millions of people were confined to their homes due to Covid-19 lockdown regulations, and we were all looking for new activities to keep us busy and entertained. Many people hit their kitchens to try out new recipes, and many turned to online gaming and gambling.
With in-person casinos forced to close their doors, regular casino goers also had to move their gambling activities online.
As a result, gambling companies and casinos shifted their focus towards developing their online offerings. This helped to boost their operating revenues and to increase their userbase.
Many players kept using these platforms even when in-person casinos reopened, which shows just how much the sector has developed in recent years.
Reason 2: Changing Regulatory Landscape
In the past, Canada has not had the most liberal regulations in place when it comes to the various forms of online gambling, but over recent decades, Canadian legislators have worked to gradually open up the gambling market in response to growing consumer demand.
Online gambling is regulated at the provincial level for the most part, with each of the ten provinces having their own bespoke regulatory regime in place. While restrictions can vary from province to province, the variations between the different provinces’ regulations are gradually diminishing,
In addition to online casinos, other forms of online gambling have also benefitted from lighter regulatory restrictions in recent years. This includes single-event sports betting, which was made possible by the recent passing of Bill C-218. In addition, provinces such as Ontario have launched fully regulated gambling markets.
As a result of these trends, decades-old restrictions on various types of online gambling have gradually been loosened or dismantled completely. This has helped to significantly open up the iGaming sector in Canada, with the sector now being worth billions of dollars in revenue each year.
Reason 3: Changing Attitudes
Another reason why more Canadians are using online gambling platforms than ever before, is due to changing attitudes across the country.
These changing attitudes have been helped by the changing regulatory landscape, which has helped to lessen the stigma that was once attached to the gambling industry.
Rather than having to visit seedy in-person casinos in far-flung locations, nowadays Canadians can access these services directly from their mobile devices or in the comfort of their own home. This has helped to popularise online gambling and make it much more socially acceptable.
Reason 4: Mobile Gaming
If there is one technological development that has helped to revolutionise the online gambling sector, it is the rise of mobile gaming.
This development has been facilitated by the increasing availability of both affordable and incredibly powerful mobile devices, as well as high-speed mobile internet. Online gambling platforms are more accessible than ever, and better technology has enabled a new generation of iGaming fans to play their favourite games on the go.
Mobile gaming has allowed iGaming and other forms of online gambling to attract a new generation of players, particularly those without access to a desktop or laptop computer, and this has had a positive effect on the industry as a whole.
This shift has also been helped by the development of mobile payment-processing systems, which allow for payments to be processed safely and securely on the go.
For these reasons, it is no surprise that iGaming and other online gambling websites are investing so many resources into developing their mobile platforms.
Reason 5: Industry Growth
As a direct result of all of the factors outlined above, the online gambling industry has experienced significant growth in recent times. Not only has the number of operators increased, but also the number of websites run by these operators has grown significantly.
For Canadian online gambling fans, this has meant one thing: an unprecedented level of choice. Whereas the market might have been dominated by a few major players in previous years, Canadian users now have a growing number of platforms and apps to choose from. More choice has helped to tempt more and more Canadians into trying out online gambling platforms for the first time, as well as giving existing players more options. This has increased activity across the sector as a whole.