The Provinces Leading the Way at the Canadian Gaming Summit

Exploring the Provinces Leading the Way at the Canadian Gaming Summit

Boasting a population of over 40 million and being the second-largest country in the world by total area, Canada is easily one of the most promising and exciting global markets. 

Yet, with each province having its own unique and distinct gambling regulations, some view the Canadian market as presenting as many complexities as it does opportunities.

In this blog post, we will provide context to some of the Canadian provinces leading the way for the industry and explore how the Canadian Gaming Summit’s conference agenda can equip you with the knowledge to successfully navigate the dynamic and intricate regulatory landscape.

Context and Complexities


Much like its bordering neighbor, the United States, Canada is a country that is divided into distinct provinces. 

In 1970, to combat the growing social pressure to legalize gambling within the country, the government passed a bill that would allow each of the ten provinces to self-regulate its respective gambling infrastructure.

However, what was first viewed as a victory among many in the industry soon offered a host of unforeseen complexities, mainly due to the fact each province was overseen by different regulatory establishments, resulting in varying regulations.

In April 2022, the province of Ontario took a significant stride forward by passing a bill that allowed online gambling and sports betting operators to begin offering their regulated games and betting platforms to eligible Ontarians.

While this step marked a positive development for the industry, it also initiated a reassessment in other provinces, adding to the complexity of navigating the regulatory landscape in the country.


An Exploration of Key Provinces

With Canada comprising ten individual provinces, it can often be challenging to understand which province permits specific types of gambling. In this exploration, we will delve into several provinces that are at the forefront of the industry, examining the offerings to players and spotlighting key topics slated for discussion at the forthcoming Canadian Gaming Summit.

Ontario 


Ontario has spearheaded the online gaming movement in Canada, embracing online casinos and sportsbooks. Having self-regulated online gambling, Ontario is the only province that licenses and regulates third-party online gambling sites.

  • Online: Prior to offering games to players in Ontario, private gaming operators are required to complete registration with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and establish an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario (iGO). iGaming Ontario has issued more than 70 licenses (October 2023 data) to major casino and sports betting operators. Notable operators include; 888 Casino, Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook & Casino, FanDuel,  and more!
  • Sports betting: Online sportsbooks only offer single-market betting while Land-based sports betting is restricted to parlay-style wagers through the Pro-Line system.
  • Casinos: Ontario has 28 land-based casinos (January 2024 data) spread across the province, including the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, Caesars Windsor, Casino Rama, and Casino Niagara. 
  • Horse racing: For decades, pari-mutuel betting on horse racing was the only form of legalized gambling in Canada. In 2015, Ontario introduced the Horse Racing Licence Act to integrate horse racing into the province’s gaming strategy. This included moving horse racing responsibilities to the AGCO. As of 2024, Ontario features numerous race tracks throughout the province whilst also offering a host of off-track betting facilities.
  • Lottery: Both provincial and national lotteries are accessible under the oversight of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).


You can expand your educational prowess on the Ontario market by attending the following panels at the Canadian Gaming Summit:

Fantasy Sports in Ontario: Less Than Just a Fantasy?
While many states south of the border consider paid fantasy sports wagering to be games of skill, the Ontario regulators have hitherto been firm on their opposing stance. Aligning to the same regulations as traditional online sportsbooks means the likes of FanDuel and Underdog have still not offered paid fantasy in the province; is there a future for DFS in Canada?

Charitable Gaming (Ontario): The Value, The Impact, and The Partnership
The Revitalization of Charitable Bingo and Gaming has been built on a unique partnership between the critical players, hear the panelists talk through, the successes and challenges of developing this partnership and how they work co-operatively to keep it relevant in a changing gaming environment.


Quebec


The province of Quebec has allowed legal gambling since 1970. Since then, the industry has flourished under the regulation of the provincial crown corporation
Loto-Quebec and the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) (Alcohol, Racing, and Gaming Commission). 

In recent years, there has been much discussion about the potential blocking of access to offshore gambling websites, however no concrete action has been taken. As the second largest province in Canada, there is hope that the local government will open its doors to third-party online gambling sites soon. 

  • Online: Quebec has a single government-owned platform/regulated casino, Espacejeux, for its residents. 
  • Sports betting: The only way to participate in sports betting is through the platform Mise-O-Jeu, offering betting options on individual sports markets.
  • Casino: Quebec is home to eleven land-based casinos (October 2023 data), among which are Casino de Montréal, Casino de Charlevoix, and Casino du Lac-Leamy.
  • Horse racing: There is only one racetrack in Quebec, where individuals can place bets on races, however, off-track betting establishments are also available.
  • Lottery: Quebec hosts several lotteries with daily and weekly draws, supported by hundreds of retail locations for ticket purchases.

You can find out more about the Quebec betting landscape by attending the following panel at the Canadian Gaming Summit: 

Gaming in the belle province: Quebec in question
Culturally and historically, Quebec remains a distinct entity within the Canadian gaming landscape – but its population size generated an estimated $400MM for Loto-Quebec in 2023. With a coalition of commercial operators seeking to change the status quo, can the lottery position themselves to capitalize on the increasing popularity of online sports betting and iGaming, while maintaining responsible gambling standards and protecting the province’s integrity?

Alberta

While Alberta is the most populous province in the Prairies, there is only one company that has gained a legal Alberta license for online gambling; PlayAlberta. All gambling is regulated by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).

  • Online: PlayAlberta stands as the only online gambling site in Alberta.
  • Sports betting: Online sports betting is legal but limited. Although single-event sports betting is not permitted in the province, residents can engage in sports betting through the Sport Select service, a sports betting game provided by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (apart from thre PlayAlberta site). There is however a daily limit of $250 imposed on bets.
  • Casino: Alberta has 24 establishments (January 2024 data) spread across the province (River Cree Resort and Casino, Cash Casino Calgary, Cowboys Casino, Grey Eagle Casino Calgary etc.) operated by the government and First Nations
  • Horse racing: Alberta hosts several racetracks, all of which offer opportunities for betting on horse races. Additionally, the province hosts multiple gambling locations that provide facilities for horse racing bets.
  • Lottery: The Western Canada Lottery Corporation manages daily lottery draws in Alberta (the same goes for Saskatchewan and Manitoba). Moreover, the province is home to six thousand video lottery terminals (VLTs) conducted and managed by AGLC. 

For more information on PlayAlberta and the future state of play in the province, make sure you attend the following panel: 

Wild West of iGaming: a new gold rush in Alberta?
Operators eyeing a reform of gambling regulations in Alberta may have seen their hopes put on ice for now, as conflict between the provincial governments and Ottawa eat up the legislature’s time.

In the meantime, updates to PlayAlberta allowing props and same-game parlays are tiding sports bettors over – but for how long? With brick-and-mortar casinos, major sports teams, and operators such as Ontario’s PointsBet waiting in the wings, will we be seeing a new gold rush in the second half of 2024?


British Columbia 


British Columbia has a rich history of embracing gambling, boasting over 30 years of providing diverse gaming options. It has also emerged as a central hub for eSports in the country, pioneering its development and growth.

  • Online: PlayNow is the only licensed online gambling platform in British Columbia, overseen by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation
  • Sports betting: Online sports betting remains restricted to the platform PlayNow.
  • Casino: British Columbia has 33 land-based (BCLC data) casinos situated across the province.
  • Horse racing: Although there are only two horse racing tracks, Fraser Downs Racetrack and Hastings Racecourse (March 2023 data) in British Columbia, players can participate in off-track simulcasts across the province.
  • Lottery: British Columbia has been offering lotteries since 1985, regulated by the crown corporation BCLC.

British Columbia’s role within the burgeoning Canadian eSports scene is explored during the panel:

Esports hubs: where Canadian entertainment meets business
Unlike fantasy sports, esports is booming in Canada, positioned as it is at the intersection of betting, entertainment and business. Vancouver is staking its bets on branding itself as an esports hub, Toronto is going all in on a new venue dedicated to the vertical, and homegrown operators such as Rivalry are global names and launching a brand new app.  As esports momentum grows, will it run into regulatory roadblocks like those up for DFS – or will it build bridges with the world of iGaming and even bricks-and-mortar entertainment? 

You can purchase your super early bird ticket, gaining you access to all 3 days of the event for the discount price of CA$695! (US$519), here!

Operator? Apply for your free pass!

Affiliates can also submit an application for a complimentary ticket.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news, speakers & exhibitor additions, and conference content by subscribing to the bi-weekly LinkedIn Canadian Gaming Summit Newsletter

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