Online Gambling in Canada

A look at how Canada has left the U. S. behind as an online destination for gamblers.  

‪The border between the U. S. and Canada can be looked at in many ways, as the two countries have different attitudes in many areas. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of Canadian Online Casinos.  

What is the big difference here? While the U. S. has revealed its puritan roots as it does everything possible to stamp out online gambling sites, Canada has taken the opposite approach. While the U. S. government sees these sites as a threat, perhaps to its own legalized gambling endeavors, Canada has taken the open and tolerant approach.  

‪If you need evidence, just look at Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba and soon to be Ontario. These provinces have all formed their own online gambling portals so that residents can play on officially regulated websites.  

The nation’s largest province, Ontario, is also moving in the same direction. They are on their way to creating an online gambling presence, to be overseen by the OLG. While this prospect isn’t thrilling to everyone, Canadians at least have the freedom to make their own choices when it comes to gambling online.  

‪Why Did Canada Decide to Bet on Gambling?  

‪What was responsible for this decision? Why are we giving online gambling a chance to flourish while so many American states are cracking down on it?  

‪As with many issues, a lot of it comes down to demand. To put it simply, the demand for gambling in Canada is astronomical –to the tune of $16 billion. That is correct -not million but billion.  

‪While American authorities are worrying about the moral implications of gambling, Canada is taking a more pragmatic approach and looking at the potential profits. Gambling is bigger than even the transportation and hotel industries and it can be seen as a major part of the hospitality industry.

The Role of Kahnawake

It’s still not a simple matter to start a gambling website in Canada. In fact, it’s illegal for anyone but the provinces –which is why you see so many offshore gambling sites.

At the same time, many of the actual servers for online casinos and poker sites are located within the borders of Canada, even if they are also on a Native reserve. It’s very common to see the name Kahnawake on gambling sites, which indicates that the site is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The Canadian government is reluctant to oppose First Nations, which is why we are seeing many servers on Native land.

This goes beyond the government keeping a blind eye to gambling, however. Consider how pervasive gambling ads are at NHL games and in other sports and entertainment related activities. This is something you no longer see in the U. S. following the crackdown on major poker sites.

Important Details Overlooked

No doubt the Canadian government has been heavily lobbied by the large provincial monopolies to allow online gambling. In the face of heavy lobbying it appears the Canadian government failed to set a policy in the public’s best interest. Best information shows that (slots and table games only):

No Loyalty – 90% of online gamblers will play at 3-4 online casinos at any given

No Loyalty – 95% of online casino players will play at any given casino for less than 6 months. Then move to another online casino. This is an empirical and inherent truth. As any affiliate manager and ask anyone who consistently loses at anything.

Churning out Players – current estimates suggest 2% of the Canadian adult population will place some type of a bet online. While in the UK it is as high as 20%. Keep in mind the #1 reason why Canadians don’t gamble online is: lack of trust and security. The perception of trust and security is something the provincial monopolies have. So the provincial monopolies will churn land based gamblers into online gamblers. This is something offshore casinos have struggled with.

The UK Extrapolation – online gambling is 100% legal in the UK. The UK government had the great idea of regulating online gambling in an effort curb off shore casinos. I guess the Canadian government didn’t learn from history as online casinos regulated from the government of the UK account for less than 25% of bets placed in the UK.

This is what happens in free and democratic societies where lobbyists have direct access to politicians and think tanks are controlled by big interest. Hopefully Canada legalizes and through the medical system subsidizes marijuana this ought to be good for big business as well.

More Opportunities Opening Up

In both online and offline gambling, Canada is far more lenient than the U. S. when it comes to gambling. Aside from gambling websites, actual casinos are enjoying unprecedented growth.

At this time, Ontario is scheduled to build a number of casinos in various parts of the province. This is in addition to the ones already in existence, such as the Native casino in Orillia and the resort casinos in Windsor and Niagara.

As you might expect, the government has an ulterior motive for allowing all this. They aren’t simply interested in letting Canadians enjoy their penchant for gambling. No, a lot of this has to do with the massive amounts of revenue generated by gambling dollars. Just like any other province, Ontario needs money for civic improvements and various activities that require money.

It really doesn’t matter what the motive is. The real point is that Canada is giving people what they want. While the U. S. is good at talking about freedom, it seems that in some ways Canada is better at allowing it.