Online Casino Gaming Takes Canada By Storm

Reviewed by: Andrew Rainnie

Last reviewed: June 5, 2024

At Canoe.ca, our team has done detailed research on the gambling industry in Canada. We found that the industry grows by 5.75% every year, and more than 300 new online casinos start up in Canada each year. We've put together all the important information and statistics in the tables and charts below. We've also carefully selected a list of the best gaming sites across Canada for you to check out.
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Online Casino Canada: What’s Changed in 2024?

Our diligent team here at Canoe.ca has been keeping a close eye on the online gambling scene in Canada during the first half of 2024. Having analysed them and discussed them as a team, we noticed a couple of interesting trends.

The biggest one is that online casinos in Canada are more popular now than they ever have been before. With an impressive C$1.048 billion generated in the first quarter alone, revenue from online gambling is set to hit C$5.55 billion in 2024, and that’s just scratching the surface of these statistics.

By 2029, we’re looking at a market volume of C$7.34 billion, growing at a steady rate of 5.75% each year, according to Statista.com. Online casinos alone are projected to bring in C$3.46 billion in 2024. It’s clear that Canadians are all-in when it comes to playing their favourite games from the comfort of their own homes or out on the go on their mobile devices.

* Note: The figures for 2024 and 2029 are forecasts, predicting future growth in the market.
Year Online Casinos (CAD billion) Online Lottery (CAD billion) Online Sports Betting (CAD billion)
2020 1.82 0.53 0.00
2021 2.25 0.60 0.38
2022 2.70 0.67 0.94
2023 3.16 0.74 1.15
2024* 3.46 0.81 1.36
2029* 4.78 1.00 2.04

The statistics below paint a pretty clear picture of just how much this industry is growing, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

graph a growing of online casino
Source: Statista.com

Increasing Online Presence

But it’s not just about the money – the number of active online casino users in Canada is also on the rise. Statista.com predicts that by the end of 2024, user penetration in the online gambling market will reach an impressive 69.4%. That’s a lot of Canadians jumping on the digital wagering bandwagon. The table below illustrates this huge growth in user penetration (in %).

* Note: The data from 2024 to 2029 are forecasts.
Year Online Casinos

Online Lottery

Online Sports Betting
2017 19.4 1.0 1.0
2018 21.3 1.1 1.1
2019 23.7 1.2 1.2
2020 26.5 1.4 1.4
2021 29.4 1.6 15.9
2022 32.0 1.9 32.0
2023 34.1 2.1 42.1
2024* 35.6 2.1 48.8
2025* 36.7 2.5 53.7
2026* 37.4 2.6 56.9
2027* 37.9 2.7 58.9
2028* 38.3 2.8 60.8
2029* 38.7 2.8 62.7
graph increasing online presence
Source: Statista.com

And the shift is already happening – a study by Université Laval found that during the lockdowns, 17% of land-based gamblers made the switch to online platforms.

Seven out of ten Canadians to bet online by the end of 2024, spending C$204.60 each.

Pandemic’s Effect on Online Gambling

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in accelerating this rising trend. When the various lockdowns hit, land-based casinos had to shut their doors. That meant people started looking for their gambling fix online. However, the statistics indicate that the rising popularity of online casinos reaches beyond the pandemic. When we have discussed it within our team and with fellow players, convenience is often cited as a huge factor. Being able to place bets and play your favourite games anytime, anywhere, is a major draw for many Canadians.

“Online casino” searches skyrocketed to 31K/month during lockdowns.

According to Ahrefs.com, searches for “online casino” have skyrocketed over the past few years. Before the pandemic, these searches were averaging around 4-5K per month. If we look at the numbers for July 2020, which was at the height of the lockdowns, those same searches jumped to 30,941. Even now, in a post-pandemic world, the average search volume remains double what it was pre-pandemic, hovering around 10K per month. This just goes to show how much Canadians are interested in exploring online gambling options, or how much fun they had with it during the lockdowns.

Seasonal and Regional Differences in Interest

From May 2023 to April 2024, online casino interest in Canada fluctuated, showing clear peaks during certain periods. According to Google Trends, the interest reached its highest at a score of 100 on July 30, 2023. This indicates to us that there was significant activity in the summer that year, possibly due to seasonal promotions or holidays. Interest also spiked during the winter holidays in December 2023 and January 2024, suggesting a growing trend where individuals engage with online casinos during holiday breaks.

online casino interest in Canada
Source: Trends.google.com

This interest also varies by region in Canada. For example, Nunavut showed the most significant engagement over this period, scoring a maximum of 100. This suggests that online casinos are particularly popular in this region, likely due to the fact that there are fewer local entertainment options. In contrast, provinces like Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories showed much lower scores, at 14 and 13 respectively, indicating less engagement thanks to the abundance of land-based casinos in these areas.
interest varies by region in Canada
Source: Trends.google.com

On top of the initial search, related topics from Google Trends show an increasing interest in promotions such as “free spins,” reflecting a growing trend in specific casino promotions. Online search queries for real money casinos and new platforms like Betty Casino have seen a steady increase, highlighting a broad interest in exploring various online gambling options.

Who’s Playing? Psychological Portrait of Canadian Gambler

Imagine Dave, a guy in his forties with a steady job. After work, he unwinds with online gambling, seeking fun and a rush more than money. Like many, he gambles to ease stress, representing the typical Canadian gambler today – educated, employed, and in search of excitement.

A 2024 Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) survey found that the typical Canadian gambler is male (63%), aged 35-54 (51%), employed full-time (71%), and has a post-secondary education (59%). Women are increasingly engaging in online gambling, particularly in the 25-34 age group (45%).

The primary motivations for gambling are entertainment (74%), excitement (59%), and winning money (62%). However, 41% of Canadian gamblers use gambling to cope with stress and anxiety, a concerning trend given the higher-than-average prevalence of mental health issues, with 26% reporting anxiety disorders and 18% reporting depression.

More than 70% of Canadian gamblers are employed full-time.

A 2023 study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies found that online gamblers scored higher on impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and risk-taking compared to non-gamblers. Those engaged in live dealer games and peer-to-peer betting scored higher on competitiveness and social interaction.

Ontario iGaming Market

Ontario’s online gambling market has been on a wild ride since the province decided to legalize and regulate iGaming in April 2022. While it would be easy to once again point to the pandemic as the driving force here, upon careful analysis of the data, we believe the real game-changer was the government giving the green light to private operators.

So, just how much has the market grown? The figures are nothing short of staggering. In its first year, Ontario’s legal iGaming market raked in $35.6 billion in wagers and $1.4 billion in revenue, according to iGaming Ontario. That put the province in the top 5 North American markets right out of the gate. Those who thought the sophomore year might show some slowdown would have been wide of the mark. Wagers jumped 78% to $63 billion in the second year, while revenue shot up 72% to $2.4 billion. This market really hit the jackpot.

rise legal iGaming market Ontario
Source: iGaming Ontario’s FY 2023-24 Full Year Market Performance Report

Wagers

Quarter Amount (in Billion $)
Q1 14.0
Q2 14.2
Q3 17.2
Q4 17.8
Total 63.0

Gaming Revenue

Note: The total values are the sums of the respective quarters.
Quarter Amount (in Million $)
Q1 540
Q2 545
Q3 658
Q4 690
Total 2,433

Over 86% of Ontario’s online gamblers now play on regulated sites.

But it’s not just about the big bucks. Players are voting with their feet (or should we say their fingers?) and flocking to regulated sites. The Ipsos study in February 2024 found that 86.4% of Ontario’s online gamblers were playing on regulated sites. That’s a massive shift from the 70% who were betting on unregulated sites before the market opened up.

Nearly 6 new casino sites join the ON iGaming market every month.

And the options just keep growing. The number of licensed online casino sites in Ontario has exploded from a mere 24 in April 2022 to 93 by May 2024. That’s an average of 5.75 new sites per month. This growth is equalled by unprecedented demand in the Canadian gaming sector. A careful analysis of search data from Ahrefs.com shows that before the market launched, searches for “Ontario online casinos” were hovering around 300 per month. But by April 2024, that number had surged tenfold, with 3,164 searches of the same term carried out.

What Are Ontarians Betting On?

First up, let’s look at online sports betting. Ontario’s sportsbooks have been absolutely crushing it, consistently ranking in the top five in North America for total wagers. That’s thanks to the 27 different operators offering sports betting in the province. When we break down the numbers into the most popular individual sports to bet on, basketball takes the crown With almost a quarter of the entire market. This is impressive, especially when you consider that there are 60+ sports to choose from.

most popular sports to bet on
Source: iGaming Ontario

Distribution of Wagers on Different Sports

Sport Percentage (%)
Basketball 24
Football 15
Hockey 11
Baseball 11
Soccer 10
Tennis 7
Cricket 4
Table Tennis 2
MMA/Combat Sports 2
eSports 1

But sports betting is just the tip of that titanic iceberg. The real heavyweight in Ontario’s iGaming market is casino games. This category, which includes everything from slots to live dealer table games to bingo, accounted for 82% of all wagers in the market’s second year. With 47 different operators and over 5,000 certified games to choose from, it’s no wonder casino gaming is so popular in Ontario. When it comes to table games, blackjack reigns supreme, snagging more than a quarter of all wagers. The graph below breaks down how much money Ontarians are betting on different types of casino games.


betting on different types of casino games
Source: iGaming Ontario

Looking at these figures, you would be remiss to think that poker was a forgotten relic of the past. While peer-to-peer poker might be the smallest of the five gambling categories, with $1.5 billion in total wagers in 2023, it’s still making some serious waves. In fact, Ontario is now the largest ring-fenced online poker market by revenue in all of North America.

online poker market by revenue
Source: iGaming Ontario’s FY 2023-24 Full Year Market Performance Report
Quarter Casino (in Billion $) Betting (in Billion $) P2P Poker (in Million $)
Q1 11.6 2.0 350
Q2 11.9 1.9 397
Q3 13.7 3.1 431
Q4 14.6 2.7 446
Total 51.7 9.7 1.6

This table shows the total amount of money bet in each category (Casino, Betting, and P2P Poker) for each quarter in 2023.

Even though Ontario’s numbers show that people are betting more on games like blackjack and roulette, it’s a different story for the rest of Canada. Canoe.ca analysts have gathered and analysed data from across the country and it all points to one inevitable conclusion: online poker is the most popular casino game in the whole of Canada. The table below shows how many times Canadians searched for different casino games from May 2023 to May 2024:

Casino Game Search Volume (Ahrefs.com)
Online Poker 2.7K
Online Slots 2.2K
Blackjack 1.6K
Roulette 1.4K
Online Baccarat 0.3K

Key Statistics on Casino Brands

All online casinos 1985
Mobile-friendly casinos 1981
Crypto casinos 397
Live roulette casinos 1749
High roller casinos 4
Live dealer casinos 1761

As of May 2024, there are over 1,985 casino sites that welcome Canadian players to their digital tables. Almost all of them, with four exceptions, are mobile-friendly. That means you can spin those reels and hit those jackpots anywhere, anytime.

But that’s not all – the crypto casino craze is taking off, with 397 of these casinos accepting some form of digital currency. If you’re a fan of that real-deal, immersive casino feel, you’re in luck! We looked at the games offered across these casino sites and discovered that an incredible 1,749 casinos offer live roulette, while 1,761 have live dealers to deal you hand in real-time.

In just five months, over 100 new online casinos became available to Canadian players.

Over the first five months of 2024, 100+ new online casinos burst onto the Canadian market. Some of them were fresh names, including:

  • TombRiches Casino
  • SpinJo Casino
  • Wazbee Casino
  • Lamabet Casino
  • Playoro Casino
  • WinGaga Casino
  • 1Go Casino
  • Airbet.io Casino

But let’s not forget about the old guard – the casinos that have been around since the dawn of online gambling. Gaming Club has been connecting players since the days of modems in 1994. JackpotCity Casino followed a few years later, opening its digital doors in 1998, while well-known brands such as Bwin Casino, Spin Casino, and Royal Vegas have all been offering online gaming since the early 2000s. These legendary sites have stood the test of time and are still going strong.

Brand Name Online Since Game Number
Gaming Club 1994 500+
JackpotCity 1998 600+
Royal Vegas 2000 700+
Spin Casino 2001 600+
Bwin Casino 2001 1,500+
888 Casino 2001 2000+
Ruby Fortune 2003 650+

So, which casinos are Canadians searching for the most? According to Ahrefs.com, Betway Casino is leading the pack with a mind-blowing 106K average monthly searches. JackpotCity Casino is hot on its heels with 83K, followed by Bodog Casino at 41K. These brands are clearly doing something right to capture the attention of Canada's online gambling enthusiasts.

Casino Average Search Volume (May 2023 – May 2024) % Increase Compared to Previous 12-Month Period
Betway Casino 106K 8%
JackpotCity Casino 83K 5%
Bodog Casino 41K 3%
PlayOJO Casino 31K 4%
LeoVegas Casino 21K 6%
888 Casino 19K 7%
PokerStars Casino 18K 2%
Casumo Casino 8.7K 5%
Spin Casino 5.5K 4%

Slot Statistics: Top Games to Play in 2024

We saved the best for last as we delve into the figures of the most popular category of games in the world – online slots. We’ve crunched the numbers at Canoe.ca and have confirmed that Canadian players love to spin those virtual reels. Here are the figures behind our expert analysis, highlighting the games that have captivated players’ attentions, and which online slots Canadians are betting on the most.

Slot Game Provider RTP Volatility Average Bet Total Bet Amount GGR GGR Margin
Hell Hot 100 Endorphina 96.0% Low $5.00 $10,000,000 $40,000 4.0%
Elvis Frog TrueWays BGaming 96.79% Very High $3.00 $8,000,000 $32,100 3.21%
Buffalo King Megaways Pragmatic Play 96.52% High $4.00 $9,000,000 $34,800 3.48%
Wild Cash x9990 BGaming 96.10% Very High $2.50 $7,000,000 $39,000 3.9%
Clover Gold Pragmatic Play 96.54% High-Medium $2.00 $7,500,000 $34,600 3.46%
Buffalo Blitz II Playtech 95.96% High $4.50 $8,500,000 $36,200 3.62%
Gates of Olympus Pragmatic Play 96.50% High $3.50 $8,000,000 $35,200 3.52%
Big Bass Bonanza Pragmatic Play 96.71% High $3.00 $8,000,000 $33,900 3.39%

*Total Bet Amount: The total sum of money wagered by players on the slot game.

*GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue): The difference between the amount of money players wager and the amount they win.

*GGR Margin: The GGR expressed as a percentage of the total amount wagered. It indicates how much of the wagered money is retained by the operator.

Hell Hot 100 by Endorphina has seen players bet an astonishing $10,000,000, with the casino pocketing a tidy 4.0% margin. Buffalo King Megaways by Pragmatic Play is another big hit, with $9,000,000 in total bets and a 3.48% cut for the casino. And let’s not overlook Elvis Frog TrueWays by BGaming – this unique game is making a splash globally, particularly in Canada, with $8,000,000 in total wagers and a 3.21% margin.

These games are also generating significant online buzz. Semrush.com reports that Hell Hot 100 has been experiencing a surge in search traffic in Canada, Brazil, Germany, and the Netherlands. Elvis Frog TrueWays has also a highly popular search topic in Canada, making it one of the most in-demand slots in the region. Meanwhile, Buffalo King Megaways is a tried-and-true favourite, with steady search volumes that indicate it has a lasting popularity.

Online Casino Complaints

Sadly, not every player has the best experience. As with any industry, casinos offer a pathway to register and resolve complaints. But what happens in those situations, and what can we deduce from the date? Our team at Canoe.ca has been closely monitoring and analyzing data on player complaints from 2023-2024. To get the full picture, we not only surveyed casino operators and players, but we also investigated forums and top review platforms to gather some eye-opening statistics.

What we uncovered was that out of 83,751 complaints, only 27,511 (32.9%) were actually processed by online casinos or third-party mediators. Now, here’s a bit of good news – 21,389 of those complaints (25.5% of the total received, 77.7% of processed) were successfully resolved, and players got back a total of $63,843,429. However, on the flip side of that coin, 4,987 complaints (6.0% of the total received, 18.1% of processed) were given the cold shoulder by the casinos.

RECEIVED PROCESSED RESOLVED REJECTED MONEY RETURNED
84,132 27,641 21,421 4,898 $63,763,328

So, what’s been grinding players’ gears the most? Our research concluded that these were the most common issues that players felt they had faced:

  • Delayed or withheld withdrawals
  • Account verification problems
  • Unexpected account closures or blocks
  • Unresponsive customer support
  • Game errors or glitches affecting payouts.

What All These Numbers Tell Us

Online casinos are blowing up in Canada, and our deep-dive into user numbers and sales figures shows that it is not just a pandemic fad. We’re talking billions in projected revenue, with user penetration estimated to hit phenomenal levels by the end of 2024. At the heart of this growth is Ontario’s newly regulated market. It has proven to be a real game-changer in the online gaming industry, adding almost six new sites per month. With big names like Betway, JackpotCity, and 888 Casino dominating the search rankings, it’s clear that Canadians are flocking to the brands they know and trust.

However, our analysis also reveals significant regional variations in online gambling engagement across Canada. For instance, Nunavut shows very high levels of interest, possibly due to limited local entertainment options, whereas provinces like Ontario have benefited from the steady growth following the legalization and regulation of iGaming in 2022. This regulatory shift has not only helped the market expand, but it has also enhanced safety and reliability for consumers. Looking at the data for complaints, this perception should not be understated.

Yet despite the positive growth trends, we’ve noted a concerning rise in complaints related to customer service issues. Delayed withdrawals, shady account practices, and phantom customer support Were all some of the issues raised when we looked at gaming forums. While a decent percentage of complaints got resolved, the sheer number of unresolved and rejected complaints illustrates that there is still much work to be done on this front.

In summary, our findings suggest that for ongoing success, the industry must not only keep up with demand, but also prioritize resolving these operational challenges to maintain consumer trust and satisfaction.

Best Payout Online Casino Sites in Canada in 2024

If you are a real money player, then the thing you are most concerned with is how much the best online casino pays out. That’s why we’re shining a spotlight on the online casinos that offer the best payouts to Canadian players, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Canoe.ca Tip

Online casino payout percentages are determined over an extended period of time. Even at a high-payout casino, short-term losses are possible. While we understand that the payout percentage may be your primary focus, we highly recommend that players pay attention to other considerations while choosing an online casino.

Casino Payout percentage Payout speed Bonus offer
Spin Casino 97% Instant 100% match bonus up to $1000
Jackpot City Casino 98.25% Instant 100% match bonus up to $1600
PlayOJO 97.55% Within 24 hours 50 free spins on first deposit
Ruby Fortune 97.53% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $750
Tonybet 97.48% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $1000
BetVictor 97.42% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $1000
BetMGM 97.33% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $1000
LeoVegas 97.28% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $1000
Let's Go Casino 97.5% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $500
Hell Spin Casino 97.3% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $100
Rolling Slots 97.2% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $1,000
IviBet Casino 97.1% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $1,000
Golden Star Casino 97% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $300
1Red Casino 96.9% Within 24 hours 100% match bonus up to $1000

Note: The payout percentages for our recommended casinos are based on data compiled from independent testing agencies like eCOGRA and self-reported figures from the casinos. You can find more information on eCOGRA’s testing results on its official website, ecogra.org.

Andrew Rainnie

Connect with Andrew

Andrew Johnrainnie

Andrew Rainnie is an iGaming author and analyst with over a decade of experience. As a regular contributor to Gambling.com and other well-known gambling projects, he covers various aspects of the iGaming industry, sharing his insights and expertise with readers.