Whichever way you look at the numbers, one thing jumps out loud and clear when looking at online casinos in Canada – Canadians love to gamble. You could almost say it is a national pastime. The country has a population of under thirty-eight and half million, but over nineteen million active online gambling accounts are registered to Canadians. Gambling has always been popular, but the shift to online was accelerated by the closure of land-based casinos during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sixty percent of Canadians say they spend some money on gambling every month, with three percent saying they spend more than $100 on gaming and gambling. However, the largest percentile of the population says they spend between $1 and $20 per month, and the average spend among those who like to have a flutter is $6.75 a month. The big spenders come from all regions of the country, and this sector breaks down evenly by age, gender, education, income, and employment status. Greater demographic variations exist in those who spend up to $20 a month.
According to Made in CA, sixty-three percent of men and fifty-seven percent of women say they spend some money on gambling every month. Forty-three percent of women and fifty-six percent of men gamble online. The majority of people who enjoy playing at online casinos and sports betting sites are aged between thirty and fifty.
There can be no denying that online casinos are big business in Canada. In 2021 the revenue from the online gambling industry in the country was $1.2 billion, and that was before Ontario launched its fully regulated market. April 2022 saw the biggest shake-up in online gambling in the country for a while.
Ontario became the first province to have a regulated commercial market, with international casino brands receiving licenses from the regulator. Online casinos in the province come under the control of iGamingOntario. The biggest concern that most Canadians have around online casino gambling is about gambling harms. One of the advantages of the regulated market is that all the licensed operators have to sign up to a legal framework and make safe gambling tools accessible to all users. Most Canadians believe it is up to individuals to control their casino habits, and increasingly all responsible operators are making it easier for players to gamble responsibly.
The most popular games are the slots, and Canadians have the choice of more than 2,000 online casinos at which to play them. Growing in popularity are live dealer games, which allow players to interact in real-time and play alongside other players, without ever leaving home. There are also more casinos accepting crypto coins, but these are generally licensed in other jurisdictions like Curacao. There are a handful of casinos that only accept virtual currencies.
However, the vast majority of online casinos accept traditional payment methods. In order to play at an online casino, you have to convert your money into casino money. In land-based casinos, this meant going to the cashier’s office and exchanging money for chips. If Lady Luck shone on you, you could cash your winning chips in for cash at the end of the evening. The principle with online casinos is the same: you have to deposit funds into a digital wallet at the casino.
There are plenty of options for players when making deposits at online casinos. It is possible to do a transfer direct from a player’s account, but Canadians have a choice not available in other countries. Interac casinos in Canada are top-rated because they provide an extra layer of security for players. Deposits and withdrawals using this method are fast and straightforward. By choosing a casino that accepts Interac, players have the added reassurance they are playing at a reputable site, as the brand is a trust mark in its own right.
Other popular forms of payment include debit and credit cards, PayPal, ApplePay, and GooglePay, and there are even options for people who do not want to link a bank account to a casino account. For example, it is possible to use a method like PaySafeCard, with vouchers available in retail outlets. The vouchers can be bought using cash, and then their codes are entered at the checkout stage of the payment process. Having a wide variety of payment methods allows online casinos to appeal to as many potential customers as possible.
Another factor affecting the popularity of online casinos in Canada is how easy they are to play on smartphones. When online casino sites were first developed, they were designed to be played on large desktop computers and smaller laptop screens. However, the introduction of smartphones changed everything. Just as games like Pokémon transitioned from console to smartphone, so did online gambling.
Games needed to be easy to play on the much smaller screens without a misplaced digit accidentally making an unintended bet. The influence of mobile technology on the sector cannot be underestimated. The founders of the online casino Leo Vegas, Gustaf Hagman and Robin Ramm-Ericson, say that the spinning icon on the original iPhone screen inspired them to develop their casino platform. The spinning reminded them of a roulette wheel; the rest is history. Their site is now one of the most successful and popular in the world, and they have always developed everything with a mobile-first approach.
Online casinos are incredibly popular in Canada, and increasing access to fast, reliable internet connections using 5G and optical fiber cables will mean that even more people can access this form of entertainment.