Where the Canadian Online Gambling Industry is Headed

London, Ontario, Canada - February 26 2021: A lotto 649 ticket booth in Sherwood Forest Mall with a stack of Plinko cards in front.

The global online gambling industry is projected to reach over 123 billion USD by 2027, and some of the countries where it is popular are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Canada’s online gambling has been one of the biggest industries in the country for the last few years.

Statista has released a report that in 2021, the whole Canadian gambling industry will be worth 14.03 billion USD. Chad Beynon, a senior analyst at Macquarie Group, believes that the industry is worth around 5 billion CAD. Around 2.2 million CAD is from the sports betting market and 2.4 billion CAD for 24kCasino Canada or iGaming. This is the estimate for the legal market. 

Canadian laws are quite lenient regarding online gambling, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is legal in all territories. The Canadian government allows provincial authorities to decide on whether forms of gambling should be regulated locally. This means that the country has a diverse market for legislation, but generally, Canadians aren’t prohibited from placing their bets offshore.

On a national level, it is still illegal to operate online casinos within the country. Although, there are government-ran gambling sites like PlayNow.com, which is the first legal online casino launched by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation in 2004. With not many options when it comes to the local online gambling market, Canadians easily turn to offshore sites. After all, they are completely allowed to do so.

Current Situation of Online Gambling in the Country

Canadians have a plethora of options when it comes to online gambling, thanks to offshore sites. Thousands of these platforms accept bets from the locals, but Canada seems to be heading towards finally allowing more online casinos to operate within the country.

In 2019, the government of Ontario had announced that they intend to legalize online gambling in the province. Fast-forward to September this year, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has finally released the application guides for iGaming operators. They found that the locals are already spending a lot of money on this activity, and the province is losing around $500 million to offshore operators. 

The launch date of iGaming in Ontario is still unannounced, but this is a big step that the country is taking towards having more progressive gambling laws. It’s no longer impossible that eventually, all Canadians can play at online casinos based in the country.

It is expected that private online sports betting and casino operators will operate in Ontario before the year ends. Ontario could very well be the province to execute a gambling market model that other provinces could follow.

Based on the discussion paper released by the Ontario government earlier this year, they found that private companies and AGCO sharing revenues is the best way to go about the province’s online gambling scene. The agreement is that the firms will pay a share of their revenues to the AGCO instead of taxation.

While Ontario is getting ready to launch its bigger iGaming industry before the year ends, British Columbia is also planning on improving its betting market. Reports suggest that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation has plans to add more betting markets on its PlayNow website. This may mean that the locals here will be able to bet sports bets locally.

The same can also be said for Alberta. Like British Columbia, Alberta also has a government-run gambling site called PlayAlberta. There are also reports that the site is planning to add more betting markets before the year ends.

Conclusion 

With how the industry is doing in the country, we can say that Canada’s iGaming market is set for growth in the coming years. This is especially now that Bill C-218 has received Royal Assent. Single sports betting can then be legalized throughout the country, which could only boost Canada’s online gambling industry.

So far, Ontario is ahead of developing progressive gambling laws in the country. If the province can pull it off and gain its expected revenues, more territories may follow. When done properly, a regulated local online gambling market can bring in revenue shares to the local governments. 

Locals can also be properly protected when playing at online casinos. There are risks when playing at offshore casinos, and Canada could have more specific regulations to ensure responsible gambling in the country. 

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