The history of gambling in Canada

Like the old saying “sticks and stones”, just with a bit of a different meaning in the context of gambling, sticks and stones were first used years and years ago with which to gamble. In 1947, John Cabot stumbled across the first inhabitants who participated in “games of chance” in Canada, and the rest as they say is history.

Ok, so there is a lot more to it than that which we will take you through now.

The changing of the law in Canada

Over the course of more than a century, the laws regarding gambling and the industry as a whole have changed and progressed:

  • In 1892: all forms of gambling were banned.
  • In 1900: Charitable forms of gambling, i.e. bingo and raffles were permitted.
  • In 1920: Horse racing became acceptable.
  • In 1925: Certain events were approved to host gambling events.
  • In 1969: Lotteries ran to aid fund raising for special projects.
  • In 1974: A fund raiser in the form of a lottery was hosted for the Montreal Olympics.

Over the years since then, additional activities have been added to the list of acceptable gambling practices. Fast forward to today in 2024 Canada, where gambling is very much legal; with land based casino to be found in most provinces, and of course online mobile gaming is accessible to an even larger group of Canadians countrywide.

The rise of the brick and mortar casino in Canada

With the popularity of its fellow North America country, the US, shining a spotlight firmly on Las Vegas, Canada wasted no time in following suit and developing its own casino complexes countrywide.

All the familiar favourites are offered at these land-based casinos including slots, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, craps and of course, poker, which garners much celebrity attention and has an impressive following on the professional circuit.

Tourists to Canada who like to gamble should definitely check out the Caesars Complex in Windsor Ontario, probably the most famous gambling complex in the country, with millions having just recently being spent on upgrades to it too.

The Canadian government owns and operates many of the brick and mortar casinos in the country; while in other cases, the government may own it but a private enterprise runs with daily operations. Overall, the involvement from the government means that they have more control over the industry.

The rise of the online casino industry in Canada

Unlike its land-based counterparts, online casinos are not controlled by the government; and with online casinos being more accessible to more people countrywide, its popularity is definitely one that can’t be competed against by some land-based casinos – and the more it gains in popularity, the more online casinos we see opening their virtual doors to players.

It is good to note though that only reputable and trusted online casinos are reviewed and presented to you here at

Although the online casino industry may have overtaken the land-based versions in certain ways, the competition between the two is still rife and adds an extra level of excitement to the industry as a whole in the country.

One thing to look out for between the two casino variations is the type of bonuses and promotions on offer to you, as well as the quality and quantity of the games collection you can select from. With no formal laws banning online gambling in Canada, players are free to play online as well as through the new kid on the block, mobile gambling, and claim winnings tax free.