Best Sites of 2016 for Canadian Gamblers.
Cities such as Toronto and Montreal are large and modern but Canada has vast expanses of uninhabited territory. In fact, it’s the second-largest country on the planet in terms of total area.
While isolated cities such as Yellowknife and Whitehorse may not be meccas for gaming, there are enough urban and developed areas to allow for online gambling in Canada. In this article, we’ll be looking at our top choices for Canadian online gamblers, the laws regarding Internet casinos, as well as some basic demographics about the people who play them.
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Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada?
Prior to the rise of the Internet, laws regarding gambling in Canada were much simpler. Each province determined individual policies, whether they involved bingo, casino gaming, or lotteries (horse racing was the lone exception). The Internet crosses such boundaries, however, making regulation a trickier situation.
The legality of a Canadian resident placing a wager at an offshore gambling site that accepts Canadians is still unclear. While the providing company might be in violation of some law, there’s yet to be a private citizen prosecuted for such activity. As of this writing, well over 1,000 gambling websites make their services available to residents of Canada. (Although there’s a bill in Quebec that, if it goes through, would prevent Quebecers from online gambling sites without the government’s approval.)
Federal law has also determined that provinces may operate their own gaming sites as long as residents from neighboring regions are prohibited. This has led to lottery tickets being sold online and limited forms of sports betting conducted by state-run organizations such as Proline.
In 2004, the first entirely legal casino was launched within the borders of Canada. Owned and operated by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, PlayNow.com is available to residents in the provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia. A few years later, Quebec got in on the action by launching a similar endeavor named Espacejeux.
Popularity of Internet Gambling in Canada
The following information comes from a study designed to determine the overall popularity of Canada gambling sites. Participants in the poll were asked to name the forms of gaming they had taken part in during the previous calendar year, and this is a percentage breakdown of their responses.
- Lotteries – 92.9%
- Instant win tickets – 67.5%
- Electronic gambling machines – 33.9%
- Bingo – 10.4%
- Sports betting – 8.9%
- Table games at casinos – 8.1%
- Poker and games where players bet against each other – 8%
- Betting on horse racing – 5.1%
- Online gambling – 3%
- Trading stocks and futures– 2.8%
As the above information indicates, online gambling has a long way to go before it’s the most popular option for Canadians. It should come as no surprise that the two most successful choices—lotteries and instant win tickets—are sold in land-based locations where customers go to buy common items such as food and beverages.
Details about Canadian Online Gamblers
Another study was recently conducted to provide insight into the demographic makeup of Canadian gamblers. While this information is constantly changing and evolving, it does paint a vivid picture.
For starters, the average income of a Canadian citizen who engages in online gambling is $74,600, which is about $20,000 higher than their non-gambling countrymen. This amount is also greater than the income of the average international gambler, which says something about the strong economy of Canada.
The average age of an online gambler in Canada is 35.5. This is along the same lines as land-based players in the nation, but it tends to be much younger than the average international online customer. As a nation, it appears that all types of gambling appeal more to the younger generation; according to another study, 10% of Canadian teens gamble online.
An online gambler in Canada is likely to be male, and the study indicates that this gender accounts for 82.4% of Internet players within the nation. This is in sharp contrast to gamers on an international level, where females participate at a much higher rate.
Within the nation’s provinces and territories, the popularity of online gambling varies wildly from one place to the next. The lowest was Prince Edward Island, where few gamblers appeared to be interested in playing online. Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan also had low rates of interest. New Brunswick and British Columbia, meanwhile, has higher levels of participation than average.
Canadian online players tend to have a higher education than their countrymen. This comparison does not hold up on an international level, however, as the average player has a slightly better education than their Canadian counterparts.
Kahnawake Gaming Commission
The Kahnawake are an Indian tribe of around 8,000 that live on territorial lands in Quebec. They’re also one of the leading names in online casino licensing, as they formed the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in 1999.
By receiving a license from the commission, an online gambling site may provide services from an approved hosting facility, as well as relocating equipment and personnel to the Kahnawake lands. A rigorous background check must be passed in order to obtain a license, as well as an annual fee of $25,000 (plus an additional $5,000 for each employee listed as a key component on the application).
Four types of licenses are available, although only three apply to the average Internet casino. The commission currently maintains almost 30 licenses for online gaming, with leading names including Bodog and Intertops.com. The services available from these clients include everything from bingo and sports betting to poker.
In addition to providing a license for online gaming establishments, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission helps resolve player disputes. A yearly report on these deliberations is posted on their website, providing a degree of transparency not shared by most of their counterparts. For example, 2013 saw the commission handle 252 valid complaints, with 110 rulings in favor of the player.