Canadian Gambling Statistics & Trends 2024: Analyzing Betting Habits

Canadian Gambling Statistics & Trends 2024 Analyzing Betting Habits

Gambling in Canada is a popular activity, with a significant portion of the population engaging in some form of wagering, from buying lottery tickets to betting on sports events.

In this post, we’ll examine the habits, statistics, and trends shaping the Canadian gambling landscape. We aim to make the complexities of the gambling industry easy to grasp for everyone, regardless of their prior knowledge on the subject.

Who Gambles in Canada?

Who Gambles in Canada

A staggering 75% of Canadians have dabbled in gambling. With a population of around 40 million people, this is no small number. This broad participation encompasses everything from casual lottery ticket purchases to more frequent casino visits. 

Interestingly, lottery tickets emerge as the favored choice among gamblers, with a 65% participation rate. However, despite this widespread engagement, only a small fraction of the population, 2%, struggle with gambling problems.

How Much Is Spent on Gambling?

The Canadian gambling industry saw its market shrink to $12.54 billion in 2021. Ontario, with its vast population of gamblers, leads in both revenue and losses. Notably, the online gambling market is on an upswing and is projected to see user penetration soar to 51% by 2027.

What Are the Preferred Forms of Gambling?

  • Lottery Tickets: Dominating the gambling scene with a 65% participation rate.
  • Sports Betting: Accounts for 7.9% of gambling activities, with a notable skew towards male participants.
  • Online Casinos: With a user penetration rate of 35.7%.

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Trends and Changes

The gambling sector is not static; it evolves with societal and technological shifts. During lockdown periods, for instance, 17% of gamblers switched to online platforms. This migration underscores the growing appeal and accessibility of internet-based gambling options.

Key Statistics and Insights

Key Statistics and Insights

Gambling Revenue and Market Size

  • Ontario’s Lead: As the gambling hotspot of Canada, Ontario’s large gambler population significantly contributes to its revenue and losses.
  • Market Size: The entire sector was valued at $12.54 billion in 2021, indicating the substantial economic footprint of gambling in Canada.

Sports Betting and Online Gambling

  • Sports Betting Landscape: While it makes up 7.9% of gambling activities, a significant 57% of its revenue in 2019 came from non-regulated entities.
  • Online Gambling Growth: Expected to expand significantly, reaching a 51% user penetration rate by 2027.

The Impact of Gambling

  • Problem Gambling: Affecting 2% of Canadians 15 and older, problem gambling remains a critical issue, with those afflicted losing an average of over $500,000 annually.
  • Indigenous Communities: These communities report higher rates of gambling participation and related problems.

Financial Aspects

  • Casino Revenue: Canadians spent a whopping $17 billion in casinos across the country.
  • Illegal Betting: An estimated $10 billion is spent on single sporting events through illegal channels.

Indigenous Communities and Gambling

Indigenous Communities and Gambling

The higher rates of gambling participation and problem gambling in Indigenous communities call for culturally sensitive and accessible support services. 

Understanding the unique challenges faced by these communities is essential in developing effective prevention and treatment programs.

The Digital Transformation

The digital transformation of gambling has broadened access and introduced new forms of gaming, such as eSports betting and virtual casinos. 

These innovations offer exciting opportunities but also present new challenges, particularly in terms of regulation and the prevention of underage gambling. Ensuring that digital platforms operate within a framework that promotes fairness and protects users from harm is paramount.

The Economic Impact

Gambling is a significant economic driver in Canada, with billions spent in casinos and on other gambling activities annually. The sector’s contribution to the economy is substantial, providing jobs, revenue, and investments in public projects. However, the economic benefits must be balanced with the social costs, particularly the impact on individuals and families affected by problem gambling.

Regulation and the Future

As the gambling industry continues to evolve, so too must the regulatory framework that governs it. Ensuring a fair, safe, and responsible gambling environment requires ongoing collaboration between regulators, operators, and the community. 

The challenge lies in adapting to technological advancements, changing consumer habits, and the growing online market, all while protecting those most at risk.

Economic Contributions vs. Social Costs

Economic Contributions vs. Social Costs

The gambling industry’s contributions to the Canadian economy are significant, from generating tax revenue to creating employment opportunities. However, the social costs of problem gambling can offset these benefits.

A balanced perspective is necessary to ensure that the economic advantages do not come at the expense of individuals’ well-being. Policies and practices that prioritize responsible gambling can help achieve this balance.

Responsible Gambling Initiatives

Responsible gambling initiatives are crucial in mitigating the risks associated with gambling. These include setting limits on bets, time spent gambling, and providing clear information on the odds of winning. 

Equally important are the programs designed to identify and assist those showing signs of problem gambling. Initiatives like these not only help individuals but also serve to maintain the integrity and social acceptability of the gambling industry.


How Does Gambling Affect the Canadian Economy?

Gambling contributes significantly to the Canadian economy, generating billions in revenue. However, it also poses challenges, particularly when considering the losses incurred by individuals struggling with gambling addiction.

Who Gambles More, Men or Women?

Men are more inclined towards sports betting, with 12% participating in 2018. However, lottery tickets, a popular choice among all gamblers, do not show a significant gender disparity in participation rates. 

What’s Being Done About Problem Gambling?

Efforts to address problem gambling include awareness campaigns, support services, and regulatory measures aimed at protecting vulnerable populations. The challenge is balancing economic benefits with social responsibilities.

Are online gambling winnings taxable in Canada?

No, gambling winnings are generally not taxable in Canada. The exception is if you earn interest on those winnings, which is taxable.

Can tourists participate in gambling activities in Canada?

Yes, tourists can participate in gambling activities, including visiting casinos and buying lottery tickets, just like Canadian residents.

How does Canada compare to the United States regarding gambling participation rates?

Canada has a higher percentage of the population participating in gambling compared to the United States, with differences in regulatory environments and available gambling options.

Are there any restrictions on advertising gambling in Canada?

Yes, there are restrictions on advertising gambling in Canada, aimed at protecting vulnerable groups and ensuring advertisements are not misleading.

Concluding Thoughts

Gambling in Canada is at a crossroads, with the potential for growth and innovation balanced by the need for responsible governance and support for those affected by gambling problems. 

As we move forward, the focus must remain on creating a sustainable and ethical gambling industry that benefits the economy, respects the well-being of participants, and addresses the challenges of problem gambling with compassion and effectiveness.

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