Canada is one of the most developed and liberal countries in the world, and many consider it the best place to live. It is also one of the top places for gambling enthusiasts as they have probably the best lottery, slot games, and horse race wagering markets. Yet, it wasn’t always like this, as Canada had its fair share of restrictions when it comes to gambling. So, let’s do a historic overview of Canada’s gambling market. 

Gambling and Casinos

Right now there are lots of land-based casinos in Canada. However, it’s illegal to have an online casino that is based in Canada. Meaning that all of the online casino canada platforms are actually sites that belong to foreign operators. Yet all of these sites are optimized for Canadian citizens and operate in Canada’s native currency. Therefore, the government has no issue with the act of online gambling, it just doesn’t allow for those types of business to be incorporated there. Which is overall a decent arrangement. 

How It All Started 

The development of the gambling industry started even at the end of the 15th century. John Cabot actually found native tribe members who were playing luck-based games, and the settlers started to mimic that behavior. This is what eventually led to the development of different gambling businesses. 

Gambling activities persisted all the way to 1892, at which point they brought the Canadian Criminal Code, and with it, gambling and all of its forms were no longer permitted. This did not last very long as around 8 years after or in the early 1900s playing bingo and raffles were once again legal. This was for a good cause though as proceeds from these activities were given to charity. Furthermore, there were events like fairs that also had games of luck available to the visitors. 

Government and Regulations

In the late 60s’ government started to rely more on the lottery and similar gambling activities to secure funds, and then they decided to expand this source of income. From the mid-’70s to the mid-80s the Canadian government slowly started introducing laws that allow casino games and other forms of betting, like horse racing, to exist within its borders. Today, this is one of the most widespread hobbies among the citizens and they really enjoy the possibility to wager on sports. That being said, there are still some restrictions on the types of bets that they can place.  

Land-based Casinos

So far we talked about Canada in general, but the reality is that each province has its own governing body. Meaning the laws and restrictions pertaining to gambling are not the same across the board. One of the most progressive provinces in terms of casinos is definitely Ontario. 

Across the entire state, the province with the most land-based casinos in Ontario. It has more than 20. There are also 4 big resorts and one of them called The Caesars Windsor is known for being one of the best casinos in the world. Other notable resorts can be found in Niagara Falls, they are called Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara, and 

there is also The Lake City Casino in British Columbia.   

Current Gambling Laws and Online Casinos 

When the first online casino appeared it really seemed like a poor imitation of a low-tier gambling joint, so nobody took it seriously. However, as web development technology improved and as web designers nailed down what a quality user experience looks like things started to turn around. Today this is one of the most popular forms of entertainment. 

Current gambling laws in Canada aim to protect the users from problematic behavior, so the government is fine with the profits that go to foreigners. Even sports betting wasn’t too entertaining compared to what foreign operators offer. Luckily, Canada decided to form more regulatory bodies and allow for single event bets to become legal, which is definitely great news.

Right now, players from Canada play on the platforms from Malta, the UK, Sweden, Isle of Man, and Gibraltar. That being said, we saw many countries re-evaluate their position on online gambling in the wake of the recent pandemic. Each economy was severely affected by lockdowns, and taxing profitable businesses like online gambling companies could help each state recover. So, we will have to wait and see if Canada plans to do the same in some of its provinces. 


Judging from everything that happened it would seem that Canada is stuck in a tug of war with gambling. At first, it was fully legal, then completely illegal, and now it seems that bit by bit gambling is winning. Of course, it’s always important to play and spend responsibly,  and if people show that they can do so, then there would never be these sorts of issues.