Anyone who has visited the Niagara Falls area of Ontario or the Casino Montreal in Quebec will know that Canadian’s share the same love for gambling as the Americans who travel to Nevada for the thrills of Las Vegas. But much like it has been in America, so the gambling market in Canada has operated under many restrictions for the last century or more according to wetten.com USA.
All that is about to change.
The big moment for the US came in May 2018 when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which prevented sports betting businesses from operating within the country was repealed. This has paved the way for the opening up of the online sportsbook market in the US, something which has happened at speed in the last three years.
And now in Canada, with the passing of Private Members Bill C-218, single event sports betting has been legalised. That means Canadian punters can bet on the outcome of any sporting event, from NHL matches to Premier League soccer, tennis, cricket, athletics and NFL. It is expected that the market will open up Province by Province, with Ontario leading the way and expected to grant sportsbook and casino licenses to private betting companies by the end of 2021.
So, why has Canada set about making this change and following in the footsteps of the US? Here are a few reasons, and some pointers on where travellers can experience the best casino action in Canada right now.
The growth of online gambling globally
In regulating the gambling market in Canada, the government is following in the footsteps not just of the US, but many other countries too. Predictions vary, but you can find estimates that across the globe the gambling market will grow from a 66 billion USD in 2020 to 158 billion USD in 2028. Most governments are now accepting that online gambling is here to stay and that taxing it and protecting consumers by setting out licensing conditions is a better situation than allowing offshore businesses to have a free, unconditional hit.
The UK has the most well-established and mature gambling market in the world, licensing thousands of businesses through the UK Gambling Commission. And whilst it is not without its detractors, it’s hard to argue with a gross gaming yield of over 5.5 billion GBP annually through remote betting, and taxes of over 3 billion GBP.
Those kind of numbers are a big reason why the Canadian government wants a regulated market, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic which has led to eye-watering national debt.
Safer gambling for canadian citizens
Gambling has an association with addiction. The advantage of regulating the market is that governments can exercise control over the product, adopting Responsible Gambling policies that try to manage problem gamblers. Typically, the regulators in Canada may make it conditional for license holders to operate with the following features:
- Limits on daily, weekly and monthly deposits to an account
- Minimum of 3 seconds between spins on slot games
- Self-exclusion facilities enabling users to block their own accounts
- No auto-spins in games
- Links to gambling addiction charities on every page
- Limits on amounts of bonus funds paid out to players each moth
- Monitoring accounts to spot patterns of play that correlate with problem gambling
Operational controls like these have been adopted by regulators in markets like the UK as a way to reduce the levels of problem gambling. In Canada it is likely that restrictions on marketing of gambling products will also be introduced with controls on the time of day that casino and sports ads can be televised, as well as what can be said in those ads, with a requirement to mention to the potential harm gambling can cause a likely mandatory inclusion.
Where can you gamble offline in Canada?
The exciting news is for anyone planning to take a trip to any of the beautiful provinces of Canada in the coming months is that you can already play in real bricks and mortar casinos today. Canadian gambling guides like The Casino Heat provide lists of legal online casinos as well as bricks and mortar sites. They show that Provinces like Alberta offer some high-class betting action in casinos like the Century Downs Racetrack and the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary, whilst resorts like the Niagara Fallsview Casino in Toronto provide some of the biggest expanses of slots and tables in the entire country. And of course, the number of licensed gambling sites taxed and regulated within the territory will be growing each year now that the government have given the go ahead for the regulated market.
One thing is for sure, whether you want to gamble online or travel to Canada and play at a real-life casino or sportsbook the future looks exciting right now!