How popular is gambling?
Online Casino Industry Canada: There can be no denying that online gaming and gambling, in general, are popular leisure activities among Canadian citizens. Over sixty percent of the population say they partake in some form of gambling activity. A recent survey revealed that there were nineteen million active online gambling accounts held by Canadians. Therefore, there can be no denying that the industry significantly impacts the economy. While economy per capita of Canada is growing at a snail’s pace, online casino is bounding ahead.
Sixty-three percent of men and fifty-seven percent of women say they gamble regularly. An increasing number of those gambling are now playing at online gambling sites. Forty-three percent of women and fifty-six percent of men report spending money at online gambling sites.
While the numbers of gamblers are high as a proportion of the population, there are relatively few high spenders. The amount spent at sites is an average of $6.75 a month. Only 3% say they spend more than $100 per month on gaming, while forty-three percent spend between $1-$20 per month. However, if you look at the figures, the overall spending is sizeable.
Online Casino Industry Canada: What has fuelled the growth?
The online gaming industry has grown significantly in recent years and significantly contributes to the country’s economy. Online gaming first became popular in the country in the late 1990s with games like online poker. The legalization of the industry in the early 2010s helped boost growth. This was hypercharged by a combination of factors, including the advent of the smartphone, improved connectivity, and the introduction of a fully regulated marketplace in Ontario.
In addition, while sports betting was legal in the country, single-game wagering was not allowed. However, new legislation was enacted in 2021, which allowed bettors to place single-event wagers. The Covid-19 Pandemic also impacted the online gambling industry. With bricks and mortar casinos closed due to lockdowns and sporting events cancelled, many people tried out online locations for the first time.
Smartphones have been a game changer
One of the most significant trends has been the rise of mobile gaming, with more and more people choosing to play and wager on their smartphones and tablets. Casino operators like Leo Vegas, who saw that the future was mobile, have been able to benefit from this trend. While many people might have been introduced to online gaming while bored at home during lockdowns, they can now take the games with them wherever they go while out and about.
Fintech applications have been developed to ensure that people can access online casinos safely, securely, and conveniently. New and existing payment processors integrate their software with online casino and sports betting apps. Interac has always been a popular choice for Canadian consumers making online payments.
While plenty of challenger payment processors are coming to market, Interac remains a firm favourite. The brand is a mark of trust for many Canadians. There are many Interac casino in Canada and it is possible to compare them on a site like CasinosCanada.
An industry on the up
The impact of the online gaming industry on Canada’s economy cannot be understated. While gamblers are subject to the whims of Lady Luck, the companies behind the online platforms seem to have made a sure bet. The industry generated over $643 million in revenue in 2021, which is predicted to rise to $2.13 billion by the end of 2026. And it is not only the gambling companies who earn from the industry. Where the markets are regulated, the provincial governments collect revenues from licenses and corporate levies. The sector has contributed billions of dollars in tax revenues to the Canadian Government.
The industry is also a significant employer across Canada. In 2019 it was reported that it supported over 200,000 jobs nationwide. The industry employs a wide range of professionals and often pays attractive salaries to attract and retain the best people. Job roles included game developers, graphic designers, marketers, IT professionals, customer service representatives and security experts.
An in-depth look at Ontario
Ontario is an interesting case study of the economic impact of the online gambling industry, as it is easy to track what happened before and after the opening of the regulated market. A report published by Deloitte for iGamingOntario said that the province’s fledgling online gambling and sports betting industry employed around 10,000 people directly and indirectly. It generated $761 million in government revenue in its first year of operation.
The report, published earlier in June, looks at the broader economic effect other than just the money spent on wagering. It includes money spent on advertising and media, professional fees paid to accounting and legal firms and revenues collected by companies involved in the supply chain to the online gambling platforms. According to the report, the industry contributed $1.6 billion to the province’s gross domestic product. The figure is projected to be $4.7 billion in 2033.
At the end of the first year, forty-five licensed operators were offering a choice of seventy-six gambling websites. While many of the casino operators are big international names, one new operator, NorthStar Bets, had been set up by the then-owners of the Toronto Star. It has since become a publicly traded company. Together, the operators made $1.4 billion in revenue, and the tax rate of twenty percent means that around $250 million was paid to the government. The official figure has not been released.
Despite the positive economic picture, online gambling is not without controversies. There is concern that gambling harm can have an enormous negative economic impact. However, this was why Ontario argued in favour of market regulation, to ensure that only reputable companies could operate and to move people away from the gray market of offshore sites. There have been challenges from First Nation communities as online gambling could negatively impact bricks and mortar casinos.
There is also concern that the proliferation of gambling ads, particularly during sports events, could harm young people’s and problem gamblers’ mental health. There is now a proposal to change the rules on gambling ads. The regulator in Ontario is considering whether to ban athletes (active and retired) from marketing or advertising gambling products. The ban could extend to cartoon figures, role models, social media influencers and celebrities who appeal to minors.