The gambling industry in Canada grew 4,9 per cent in 2017 generating CA$17.3 billion in revenue from lotteries, casinos, charitable and online gaming. Interestingly, but far from surprising, the province of Ontario contributed to nearly half of all winnings and reported an increase of 12 per cent in gaming revenues from the last year.
These are the findings in a new report by Fantini Gaming Research that was released Tuesday and showed a strong performance for Canada’s gambling industry. Researchers compiled data from all sectors including casinos and lotteries which remain the most popular form of gambling in the country. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, generated nearly 43 per cent of the total revenue for 2017, or CA$7.445 billion. This is also the fastest growing market, reporting a steady increase of 12 per cent over the figures for 2016.
The province with the second-largest revenue in 2017 from gambling was Quebec which saw an increase of 2,12 per cent to $3.6 billion in earnings from casinos, lotteries, and online gaming. The figures for British Columbia are very close – the gambling industry in the province generated $3.14 billion. However, it grew at a slower pace, increasing only 1,36 per cent from 2016. This will probably change in 2018 with the recent opening of Parq Vancouver, a $640 million casino and hotel complex which is operated by Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming. The large casino resort is home to two gaming floors offering 600 slot machines and around 75 table games.
Despite the growing revenues and the positive expectations for the Canadian gaming industry, it is still far behind the market in the United States, which is generally considered much more limited due to the restrictive legislation, but it is far bigger than the one in Canada in terms of size or revenues. Commercial casinos in the United States, allowed in less than half the country’s states, generate around US$40 billion annually. The American tribal gaming industry reports annual revenues of over $30 billion, while state lotteries generate winnings of around $80 billion. In comparison, the entire gambling industry in Canada generates CA$17.3 billion or US$13.5 billion a year.
Expected Growth in Ontario
According to the Fantini Gaming Research analysts, one of the reasons behind the growth seen in Ontario is the fact that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has recently started to privatize casino operations. OLG, which is a Crown corporation of the province’s government, owns and oversees all gambling activities in Ontario and selects private companies as service providers for its different products. Recently, it chose Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. as the service provider for its Central Gaming Bundle.
It has also started a modernization process that includes renovation of casinos and other gaming venues as well as replacing old video lottery terminals. In 2016, it commenced a large modernization program for its lottery business, enhancing its potential through technology and innovation. The largest beneficiaries of this modernization process, researchers point out, are the joint venture between Gateway and Clairvest, and the biggest entertainment provider in the country, Grand Canadian Gaming Corp.