The History of Casinos in Canada

Canada’s casino and gambling industry has grown significantly over the years, going through several transformations. A game that started with animal bones centuries ago, has evolved into thousands of online casinos like  in Canada. Today, people can deposit just a dollar in the casino and reap big money when playing. Some of the online casinos offer no wagering at their casinos or payment with digital currencies.

The gaming industry has evolved, becoming a multibillion-dollar market, and casino games in Canada are coming up with ways to win customers to place stakes on their platforms. It has been a long way coming for the casino games in Canada to be what they are today. Below are some of the interesting facts after digging deep into the casinos in Canada.


Poker games in the past involved smaller, unofficial gatherings before the invention of the digital casinos. There is no record of when exactly people started playing the game of chance, but gambling in Canada started thousands of years ago. People used animal bones to play the games of chance to beat each other in Slahal, a game played to date. There are several attributes to this ranging from the sacred ritual and a family recreation to an opportunity to win actual money out of it. 

The 1330s: The Ban on Dice Games

In 1947, Canada was under British rule. That created a platform for John Cabot to claim territory for England in Canada. That’s why the first law in Canada on gambling was traced back to 1338, whereby Richard III prohibited various dice games in England since he was convinced that it was a waste of time and a distraction to his soldiers. The ban on dice games in Canada was lifted in 1999. 

Native Tribes Playing Cards In 1497

The introduction of playing cards In Canada was a defining moment back in 1947 when John Cabot landed on the country’s east coast. People played card games as a part of their family ritual. They had a deck of cards with them on their journeys. On some occasions, they sat on the floor to play with other members of the tribe. The first set of playing cards was produced in China about four centuries back. The game has undergone evolution to what it is today. However, there is a belief that cards’ discovery was the beginning of real gambling in Canada. 

The First Horse Racing Event In 1767

The first horse racing event in Canada took place in 1767 in Quebec City on the Plains of Abraham. The game evolved into having the jockeys ride stallions and claiming a win by betting on which horse would win. The mare modesty ridden by Captain Prescott won the first horse racing event. The amount won was $40. 

1910: Pari-Mutuel Betting and Occasional Games Become Allowed

The Canadian criminal code was still in force by the English common law allowing gambling under few conditions in 1892. Two decades later, the amendment allowed pari-mutual betting in 1910. In this betting system, all bets collected together in a pool translate to wager amongst us. It is the most common type of bet used in the horse at racetracks. The amendment made back in 1910 also allowed occasional games of luck where profits were used for charities and religious activities. Several amendments were made after that, little by little but remained constant until 1970.

1970 Changes: Growth into A Multibillion-Dollar Industry

The changes of the laws in 1970 paved the way for the creation of the multi-billion dollar industry. The amendments paved the way for more than twenty types of games to be played. However, they made it quite difficult for people who wanted to establish their game shops. That paved the way for several companies to come up with different types of gambling products.

 In 1985, Canada legalized sports betting but not a single game wagering. 1989 marked the opening of the commercial land-based casino in Winnipeg. Another casino was opened after that in 1993 in Montreal. A few years later, other provinces opened their casinos. Currently, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan now have their casinos. The government was not left behind as it placed video lottery terminals in their provinces, generating lots of wealth annually. In August 2021, single sports betting were legalized.

From the reports in 2020, more than 19 million Canadians engage themselves in gambling games generating over $2.5 billion in terms of revenue. The popularity of gaming is growing day by day, becoming more accessible to Canadian citizens. Currently, more Canadian youths can enjoy themselves in a brick-and-mortar casino and sign up at the best casinos in Canada. Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec are the only provinces that allow 18-year-olds to play poker. Over the years gambling industry has transformed from an activity with strict rules to a widely accepted leisure activity.

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