A History Of Gambling In Canada

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History is a little bit vague when it comes to the question of exactly when gambling and gaming first appeared. Through the middle ages, European royalty and aristocrats indulged in games like roulette, but gambling and dice games were largely prohibited by law.

When John Cabot first landed on the Canadian east coast in 1947, he and his crew brought playing cards with them, but the origins of gambling and gaming in Canada perhaps stretch back a little further than that. During his explorations of the vast Canadian wilderness, Cabot and his men discovered indigenous tribes playing different games of chance.

Canada in 2021

Canada in the modern day is naturally a far cry from those early days of settlement, but the gambling phenomenon lives on. Today it carries an air of respectability and is a highly regulated industry.

With land-based casinos in almost every province, gambling and gaming play a large part in Canada’s economics and entertainment industry.

Progress and change have seen a growth in online casinos, and typifies this modern-day development of an age-old tradition.

The birth of legal casinos

The transition to the modern-day era was a slow one, and attitudes towards gambling and gaming are actually rooted in an age-old belief – back in the 1380’s, Richard III had actually banned dice games simply because he believed that games were distracting his archers from their duty.

Early Canadian law actually upheld these values, and it wasn’t until more recent times that amendments reversed this ancient law. Up until then, gambling in Canada progressed in a similar way to the liquor Prohibition – in the late 1800’s it was driven underground, and the mobs ran underground illegal gambling parlors and dens.

The growth of land-based casinos

Through the 1950s, several forms of gambling were becoming legal in Canada, but it was still considered to be an anti-social activity and was still frowned upon.

With changes in attitudes, the first commercial casino complex – the Crystal Casino – was officially opened in Winnipeg in 1990. This was followed by the development of a stunning Montreal casino in 1993.

The rise of online casinos

With the steady growth of the internet and improvements in online technology, many industries have witnessed a move toward online business. Retail shopping, real estate, stocks and shares trading, movies, music, and entertainment – many different markets and sectors have experienced a move away from the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ place of business to the online world.

Shopping and buying online has become a regular part of people’s daily lives, and the casino industry worldwide has experienced a similar shift in recent decades.

By the late 1990’s, online casino sites were starting to gain in popularity. With leaps and improvements in graphic user interfaces and secure transaction facilities, the convenience and sheer variety of games that a user had at their fingertips at any time of the day or night saw an increase in the numbers of those patronizing online sites.

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The future is a bright one

With 88 land-based casinos serving almost every province of Canada, and growth in the online industry, Canada’s gambling industry now boasts respectability and a security that will see it continue for decades to come. Despite the temporary setbacks during the pandemic, the future is a bright one.

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