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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 ages 23-35 with those that fall within this bracket playing between two and six times a week.
Online Gambling Industry Numbers Revealed
Gambling in Canada is an industry with a turnover exceeding CA$14.5 billion a year according to the official statistics. The country houses 70+ casino houses, 100k+ slot machines and about 25k+ temporary casino and bingo-type establishments.
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In Ontario, there is one slot machine per 350 citizens, while the growth rate equals 15% per year approximately. On average, each Canadian over 19 years (not counting tourists) spends from CA$600 to CA$900 on gambling annually. Gambling, roughly speaking, regulated by the state like a franchise where license is acquired through the Commission on alcohol and gambling; provincial governments 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.
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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 regulation starts from CA$80 million.
Online Casinos Of Canada: The Regulation Point Of Reference
Conducting gambling business in Canada is illegal until it is not legally regulated in accordance with the statements indicated in the country’s Criminal Code as well as sanctioned by the authorities of all the Canadian provinces. The legislating responsibilities have been delegated to provinces, considered to be the main stakeholders when it comes to casino or poker room legalization. The full powers have been granted to local powers 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. Despite the fact that 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.
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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 carries the governmental policy into effect through the triggers under its control. The organization elaborates the strategic directions and policies as well as delivers the implementation in conjunction with the largest financial institutions of Canada. AGLC is empowered to ensure the compliance of local gambling businesses with the fundamental principles indicated in Criminal Code as well as the documents adopted by the organization itself.
In fact, the organization holds the power to license, regulate and monitor games of chance activities located in Alberta. The province occupies the second position in the list of the major Canadian gambling provinces, ceding the leadership role to Ontario. The organization is characterized by a relatively loyal (by the standards of Canada) attitude towards gambling activities and/or enterprises, looking forward to conduct 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 year of 2004 heralded the era of new attitude towards gambling organization and virtually all the stakeholders involved in gambling activities. A large cohort of non-profit establishments, gambling providers and regulators united their efforts towards transparent and responsible gambling in Canada within the framework of CPRG, or the Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling.
Initially, the organization aimed at gathering comprehensive info on a broad variety of gambling aspects across Canada, and the result of the effort was the release of the gambling digest, now published annually. The digest includes statistical data on the state of affairs in each Canadian province: from overall revenues and quantitative characteristics on gambling businesses to revenue distribution and highly specialized data.
The digest itself represents a nicely crafted document with dozens of tables, charts and trends that characterize the development of the industry. The Gambling Digest is released publically, and available for download on the official CPRG website.
Casino Online And Brick & Mortar Establishments in Kahnawake
Kahnawake is a Mohawk Indian Reservation in Canada. Due to the special status granted to Indian lands, many of them legally allowed to host gambling, which provided a good supplement to the local budget. Kahnawake Gaming Commission, responsible for the regulation in this area, was established in 1996, and within as little as 3 years it began to issue licenses for this type of business on the Internet. Being the pioneer of gaming industry niche, the jurisdiction has become one of the most well-known among phenomena of the kind.
The Canadian KGC consists of three organizations assigned by Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. They are mandated to deal with all the regulation issues of online gambling, including licensing. A system of rules and standards that guides the commission is based on the experience of Australian colleagues. The basic principles of KGC are aimed at reduced to fair business conduction, transparency, data security and timely payouts.
The Commission has developed the requirements, ensuring high reliability and excluding the possibility of fraud in online gambling business. When considering an application the agency examines the following aspects:
- the formal grounds for issuing the license
- the reliability and integrity of software
- the capital adequacy for timely payouts
How Online Roulettes Appeared In Ontario
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With an eye on the successful experience of Quebec, Ontario government raised the question of further legalization of online gambling in the province. Taking drastic measures was dictated by Toronto budget deficit of CA$24.7 billion.
Dalton McGuinty, the former Prime Minister of the province, proposed to fill 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 neighboring Quebec earned about CA$50 million annually from online gambling enterprises, Ontario, the largest Canadian province, could count on even larger revenue.
‘Legalization of gambling sites will benefit the entire province. Ontario residents annually spend up to CA$1.9 billion on gambling online, though the funds go to other regions and offshore sites’, Paul Godfrey, head of the Committee on gambling in Ontario, commented on the situation.
Jeff Derevensky, the head of the International Centre that strives to limit gambling activities in Canada, indicated the young population was not ready for such global changes. However, the head of the center saw no particular obstacles to legalization: he offered to introduce a special course in local schools to protect the younger generation from the dangers of Internet gambling.
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The anthem of Canada sounded in Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas again and again as the six weeks poker season ended with a triumph of Canadian players, who managed to win 10 bracelets. In addition, Daniel Negreanu, a resident of Toronto, was so good in Australian and US competitions that earned the WSOP 2013 ‘Player of the year’ title.
When in late June Kristen Bicknell from Ontario won the women’s tournament, it a new achievement has been recorded: the bracelets have been awarded to ten players from Canada, which is a huge progress after three bracelets received in 2012. The previous record of the country was six bracelets won in 2010.
As usual, the majority of players represented at the WSOP were the U.S residents: 57,040 out of a total number of 79,471. Thus, 71.8 % of American players was more then enough to secure the leadership, as Canadian representation equaled as little as 5.2% (4,118 poker players). No surprise that the U.S. won a better part of WSOP bracelet in 2013 (41), almost two-thirds of the total number of awards and is slightly less than its percentage of participation. At the same time, ten Canadian bracelets represent 16.1% of awards, which is three times higher than the percentage of participation of the country.
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In his address on Twitter, the Canadian resident, Daniel Negreanu, ranked the best poker player of the decade, wished his fans all the best and gave a little advice: ‘I hope that you will fulfill your dreams. Dream – declare – execute. The formula really works!’
In the life of 39 -year-old Canadian pro this formula really works as clockwork, especially recollecting about his goals for 2013. Negreanu planned to enter the tournaments and win at least CA$1.5 million, grab his fifth WSOP bracelet in career and a find himself in the Top 10 race Player of the year Bluff.
It’s unbelievable, but Negreanu not only achieved his goals, but also exceed them dramatically (and yes, he managed to be ranked the player of the year by Bluff Magazine).
The famous player won his bracelet in April, when he triumphed at the WSOP Asia-Pacific (APAC) Main Event and earned CA$ 1,087,160. In October, he was able also to duplicate the result, winning the competition of a high roller at the WSOP Europe, and get over CA$979,955. Along with other payments, during the year Negreanu one of the best players of Canadaso far collected winnings of CA$3,208,630 and the amount of his winnings throughout the career increased to CA$19,549,209.
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 no 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 ‘reformers’.
Prominent market research company, eMarketer, estimates 4.5% increase in 2019 e-commerce global market and net value just under C$33 trillion. A continuous growth of 4.1% to 4.5% in sales each year will magnify the net market value to C$39.13 trillion by 2023.
According to recent publications by Statista, out of 4.388 Billion internet users globally in 2019, a staggering 3.986 billion were unique mobile internet users. Due to the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, the concept of mobile commerce (m-commerce) has gained immense traction.
This trend has had a significant impact on the online gambling industry. Oddly enough, there doesn’t appear to be a universally accepted definition of what the ‘online gambling market is. Different companies refer to online gambling in various ways and this causes some confusion. H2 Gambling Capital and iGaming Business, for example, refer to it in terms of the entire online gaming market while First Gaming distinguishes it from the mobile segment. The European Lotteries Association and industry giant Scientific Games exclude online lotteries from their definitions. We can debate the meaning, but there is no arguing the fact that the industry is booming.
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Research and Markets projects the worldwide gambling market will generate revenues exceeding C$690 billion by 2023. That represents a compound annual growth rate of about 10% between 2017 and 2023. Online casinos have a lot to do with this. Revenues in that sector are expected to reach over C$115 billion by 2024. Sports betting, horse racing, lotteries, poker, eSports, and other segments will only add to it. Pug spinning around to blender. Don’t forget about those who provide the hardware and software.
North America remains the fastest-growing market as more and more American states continue to legalize online gambling. Asia and Europe are not far behind. The industry has also seen an increase in corporate mergers as market leaders try to claim a bigger slice of the market share while improving their bottom lines. Paddy Power Betfair and Ladbrokes Coral Group are two recent examples. Some companies are even developing their own software, which limits their reliance on third-party suppliers.
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The runaway train that is online gambling continues to gain momentum as it barrels down the track. With expanding internet penetration, increased usage of mobile devices, and other innovations like cryptocurrency, it won’t be slowing down anytime soon.