The History of Gambling in Canada: How It All Began

December 5, 2022

Now people gamble at the best online casino Ontario and have fun. But gambling in Canada can be traced back to the early 1800s when Montreal was a central trading post for fur. After that, gambling gradually became more popular, and by 1892, there were six casinos in operation across the country.

Betting on horse races was also popular, with wagers placed at the trackside or through bookmakers. While gambling is legal in most provinces, it has not always been that way. Here we look at the history of gambling in Canada and how it has evolved.

The Early Days of Gambling in Canada

In the early days of gambling in Canada, it was only available to the wealthy. The first casino in Canada opened in 1892 in Niagara Falls, and it was only open to those who could afford the expensive membership fee. The first legal gambling venue in Canada was the Quebec Club in Montreal, which opened its doors to the public in 1894. Gambling was also popular among the upper class in Ottawa, with the opening of the Rideau Club in 1898.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that gambling became more accessible to the general public. The first government-run lottery in Canada was established in Québec in 1910, and it wasn’t long before other provinces followed suit. By the mid-20th century, gambling was more widespread and available to people of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Gambling is a popular pastime for Canadians of all ages and backgrounds. According to a recent survey, nearly 60% of Canadians gamble at least occasionally, and casinos are now found in all major cities across the country. While gambling has some risks, it can be a fun and exciting way to spend your free time.

The Introduction of Gaming and Casino Licenses in the 1970s

The 1970s were a time of change in Canada. The introduction of gaming and casino licenses began a new era of gambling in the country. This was a welcome development for many people, as it meant they could now enjoy their favourite pastime without worrying about the law. However, there were also some drawbacks to this new system:

  1. The licenses were costly. This meant that only the wealthy could afford to gamble at the casinos. This created a two-tier system where the rich could gamble freely while the poor had to stick to illegal gambling dens.
  2. The licenses were only issued to a limited number of people. This meant a lot of competition for the licenses, and only the most successful gamblers could get them. This led to much corruption, as people tried to influence the decision-makers to get a license.

Despite these problems, the gaming and casino licenses were a welcome change for many people. They allowed gambling to become more mainstream, and they also helped to generate revenue for the government. In addition, the licenses also positively affected the economy, as they created jobs for previously unemployed people.

The introduction of gaming and casino licenses was a watershed moment in the history of gambling in Canada. It marked the beginning of a new era where gambling was more accessible and less taboo. The licenses also positively impacted the economy, as they created jobs and generated revenue for the government.

The Growth of Online Gambling in the 2000s

Online gambling has seen rapid popularity in recent years, with more and more people flocking to the internet to place bets on their favourite games. This growth can be attributed to some factors:

  • Including the increasing accessibility of the internet;
  • The introduction of new and more user-friendly gambling platforms;
  • The increased marketing of online gambling sites.

In Canada, the growth of online gambling has been particularly pronounced. According to a report by the Canadian Gambling Association, the number of Canadians who gamble online has increased from just over 2 million in 2001 to more than 4 million in 2015. This represents a growth of almost 100% in just over a decade.

There are many reasons why online gambling has become so popular in Canada. One of the most significant is the fact that it is now much easier to access gambling sites than it was in the past. This has made it much more convenient for Canadians to gamble at the best online casinos, as they no longer have to wait for slow dial-up connections or deal with other technical issues.

The Future of Gambling in Canada

There’s no doubt that gambling is a popular pastime in Canada. Canadians spend billions of dollars annually on lottery tickets, casino games, and online gambling. And it’s only getting more popular. According to a recent Canadian Gaming Association report, Canada’s gambling industry is worth an estimated $17 billion.

This popularity is likely because gambling is a fun and easy way to make real money. But it’s also a risky venture that can lead to financial ruin.

However, it seems likely that gambling at the best payout online casinos will continue to grow in popularity. This growth will be driven by the increasing availability of online gambling, the continued expansion of casinos and other gaming facilities, and the launching of sports betting by casinos.


In Canada, gambling has been around for centuries. From the early days of horse racing and lotteries to the more modern forms of casino gaming and online betting, Canadians have always had a love affair with wagering on games of chance. As a result, gambling has played a significant role in Canadian culture since its inception centuries ago. The first gambling establishments in Canada can be traced back to the early 1800s.

While it has faced periods of prohibition, it has always managed to survive and thrive thanks to the ingenuity of Canadian entrepreneurs. With the advent of online gambling, Canadians can now enjoy casino games from anywhere in the country without leaving home.

Photo: Courtney Snow, Past The Wire

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