A brief history of gambling in Canada

A brief history of gambling in CanadaDid you know that gambling in Canada goes back as far as the First Nations? In fact, some believe that it goes back as far 6000 BC. Here’s a brief look at the dates that shaped gambling in Canada and their effects on the industry today.

In the beginning

In 1497, John Cabot discovered a native tribe who played games of chance. These games apparently had a profound effect on them, and garnered spiritual, emotional, mental and physical development.

A while later

In 1892, Canada banned all forms of gambling. However, it didn’t last very long. By 1900, both bingo and raffles were permitted. Fast-forward to ten years later and horseracing is added as an accepted form of gambling. By 1925, fairs were permitted the right to hold gambling events. A brief history of gambling in Canada

And then?

Enter the 20th century. Gambling was no longer seen as immoral, and legislative changes were recommended. Two of the biggest amendments that took place were the legalization of public lotteries in 1969, and the transfer of gambling control from federal jurisdiction to provincial in 1985. Besides, Las Vegas was founded in the 20th century, which opened the doors to a whole new gambling culture.

By 2001…

By 2001, Canada would become a gambling mecca, boasting:

  • Over 31,000 slot machines
  • More than 1,800 bingo hall permits
  • 59 permanent casinos
  • 32,000 lottery ticket centres

…these would become Canada’s top casino destinations:

  • River Rock Casino Resort – British Columbia
  • River Cree Resort and Casino – Alberta
  • Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino – Ontario
  • Casino Niagara – Ontario
  • Casino de Montreal – Quebec

A brief history of gambling in Canada

What about online gambling?

Today, gambling in Canada is all about choice. As a result, hundreds of online casinos such as Royal Vegas have opened to provide players with something that land-based casino never could – access to casino games from the comfort of their homes. In addition, online gaming sites are fuelling interest in gambling events such as the WSOP. For example, in 2001 (that was long before the online poker boom) there were just over 600 entrants. By 2012 that number grew to over 6000.

What does the future hold?

You can play online, at a government-run casino or head out to your favourite resort. But what exactly will the future hold? Well, it’s hard to say. We are all excited by the prospects of virtual reality technology and gambling, and less so about unexpected changes to gambling laws. All things considered, Royal Vegas will always be here to keep you entertained… and winning.


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