When it comes to gambling, be it casino gaming or sports betting, Canada is rarely associated with the top industry players. One might think of its southern neighbor, which is home to the gambling Meccas of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Others might think of Macau, which has emerged in just over a decade to become the premier gambling metropolis of the planet. For those with more knowledge of the iGaming industry, European countries with particularly competitive sectors, such as the UK or Malta, might come to mind.
However, stats and trends are showing that 2022 could be a pivotal year for Canada’s $12 billion a year gambling industry. Let’s have a look at some of the trends to watch out for in the coming year.
A return to growth
One trend that we first observed in 2021 was the dramatic return to growth for Canadian casino revenues. Revenues for the sector had peaked all the way back in 2011, at $15 billion a year, before dropping dramatically in ensuing years. However, 2021 saw a return to growth that looks set to continue in 2022. Much of this growth is likely to be driven by online operators, with more and more Canadians using their smartphones to bet.
Overseas operators muscle in
Despite the growing importance of the digital sector to gambling in Canada, there are relatively few licensed online casinos in Canada itself. However, we have seen the substantial growth of overseas operators who have been making serious inroads into the Canadian market. As this guide to online casinos in Canada demonstrates, many of the top platforms are those that already hold licenses by prestigious regulatory authorities such as the UK Gambling Commission or Malta Gaming Authority. Expect this trend to continue in 2022.
More land-based casinos than ever
While much of the revenue growth for Canadian gambling will be generated online, it seems that land-based casinos will continue to be built at a breakneck pace. The number of brick-and-mortar casinos in Canada actually doubled between 2002 and 2018, rising from 78 to 147. This was in spite of gaming revenues actually falling across much of this period. In 2022, more new casinos are in the pipeline, so expect plenty of grand openings in the year ahead.
Lotteries will still be king
Canadians really, really love the lottery. The majority of all Canadian gambling revenues come from lottery tickets, and a huge proportion of the population plays the state-backed provincial lottery on a regular basis. The lottery has been legal in Canada for many decades, which is partly why it is such a mainstay in Canadian culture. Moreover, the government considers the lottery to be a critically important source of revenue, meaning that it will likely continue to promote the public lottery heavily in 2022 and beyond.
Gambling in Canada is going through some interesting trends, and what happens now could impact the industry for the next decade. Stay tuned for more updates and breaking news from this increasingly important industry.