Canada might be a big country, but there are some things we can agree on from coast to coast. From a shared love of hockey and all things maple, Canadians find camaraderie in emblematic pastimes, including gambling! Towering city skylines and tranquil corners of rural towns alike play host to casinos and a variety of gambling traditions.  

person in black shirt sitting at table

Whether you’re a high roller in a Vancouver casino or use online betting platforms in Montreal, gambling is great entertainment, not to mention an essential economic driver for the Canadian economy. Learn all about Canadian gambling and what kinds of games Canadians love most, and discover a new hobby as we embark on this exploration of Canadian gambling culture. 

A Brief History 

Gambling was not fully legalized all at once in Canada. Instead, fits and bursts of legislation occurred over time, with various gambling forms becoming legal across different provinces and territories as time went on.  

Lotteries were the first form of legal gambling with the establishment of government-sponsored lotteries in 1970s Quebec. Modern casinos gradually came onto the scene alongside licensing and regulation in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and the first Canadian casino opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1989.  

Sports betting was introduced in British Columbia in 2002, with the province introducing specific regulations and controls. The latest development, online gambling, is more complex. Offshore online gambling websites cater to Canadian players, and some provinces like Quebec and British Columbia have created their own platforms. These new online casinos extensive selection of games is sure to advance across provinces and bring the joy of gambling to all, even those who can’t access a land-based gambling establishment. 


The lottery has always been a beloved favourite of Canadian gamblers. It’s low risk and potentially high rewards. This thrilling blend of chance that caters to people’s wildest dreams became legal in the ‘70s. Provincial governments used legal lotteries to fund various public initiatives, so you not only have a chance to win big when you buy a lottery ticket, but you’re giving back, too!  

Noteworthy moments in Canadian lottery history include various winners winning jaw-dropping Lotto Max jackpots worth $70 million! That’s a monumental and life-changing amount of money. Players can change their dreams into reality with the right lottery ticket. Luckily, this game is very accessible across the nation. Players can choose their numbers for games manually or opt for quick picks where a computer generates their selected digits. Online platforms have expanded in recent years, allowing players to purchase tickets and even check results from the comfort of their homes.  

The lottery is about more than just winning big—it’s a shared sense of hope, excitement, and anticipation that connects strangers across the nation. As jackpots grow and even make headlines, the lottery remains a popular choice for Canadian gamers. There’s an enduring possibility in the purchase of every ticket! Go ahead, take that chance. 

Sports Betting 

What’s better than watching your team win? Winning some cold hard cash! Sports betting has evolved from a niche pastime enjoyed between friends to a largely legalized industry that now makes up part of Canadian sporting culture. Legalization and regulation began gaining traction in the ‘80s, but the legalization of single-game sports betting in August 2021 really helped this pastime take off. 

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that hockey, Canada’s national sport, occupies a prominent place in sports betting. From NHL matchups to international tournaments, Canadians love to bet on their favourite teams on the ice, adding extra excitement to each slap shot. The Canadian Football League (CFL) and American National Football League (NFL) are also popular sports betting events, with the Super Bowl becoming a major chance to wager. 

Single-game sports betting opened Canada to more diverse options, from individual match outcomes to bets placed on player statistics. Online sports betting platforms have also allowed Canadians to access an array of global events, including soccer, basketball, baseball, golf, and much more. 

Online Gambling 

Online gaming in Canada is a vibrant and dynamic space. This digital realm allows players to win real money and enjoy a thrilling form of entertainment right from their computers or mobile devices. As technology advances, virtual casinos have found a comfortable niche among Canadian enthusiasts. 

Live dealer games like poker, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette provide an immersive and interactive experience complete with real-time video streaming, professional dealers, and the chance to communicate with fellow players. 

Online slots are another big part of online gambling for Canadians. Popular online casino games such as Gonzo’s Quest, Mega Moolah, and Book of Dead all have dedicated followings. Most, if not all, online slot games are visually captivating, intricately designed, and feature fantastical themes for a much-needed escape. 

Online gambling culture in Canada embraces anytime convenience and anywhere access and offers a wide array of payment options and strong security measures. Enjoy the thrill of a casino on your commute, at home, or wherever you please! 

Land-Based Casinos 

There’s nothing quite like the glitz and the glam of a real-life casino. These establishments are hubs for entertainment, luxury, and socialization. 

Casino Niagara in Ontario is a popular choice for Canadian gamblers, and it’s been attracting visitors since 1996 with a rich variety of games and entertainment options. For our West Coast friends, the River Rock Casino Resort in British Columbia is a good choice, with international poker tournaments and beautiful scenery to boot. 

Canadian casinos also tend to be hotels, so you can stay where you play. Most have luxurious spas for a relaxing afternoon away from the casino floor, entertainment options like theatre shows and concerts, and gourmet restaurants. 

Whether nestled in the city or perched against a scenic backdrop, land-based Canadian casinos contribute to the country’s dynamic cultural fabric with a fusion of chance and entertainment galore. 


Canadians love to gamble and have many avenues to explore—from online slots to live sports betting. With virtual opportunities expanding and land-based casinos thriving, gambling is here to stay. Take a chance on yourself and buy a lottery ticket or a scratch-off next time you’re feeling lucky—it’s the Canadian way, after all! 

Published by HOLR Magazine.