Although still in its embryonic stages as an industry (less than 25 years), online casino gaming in Canada is still quite some way ahead of America’s young industry, which is currently limited to only a few states and seems to face permanent extinction on a regular basis under the continued threat of further federal prohibition.

Despite the entire US casino gambling industry (considering both live and online gaming formats) being more than 4 times as large as Canada’s, Canada’s gambling industry is worth roughly CAD $15 billion annually, according to data from the Canadian Gaming Association. Slot machines, otherwise known as VGTs, the lottery and casinos generate the bulk of that revenue.

However, research shows that approximately 11 percent of Canadian adults gamble online for real money, whilst that figure is less than 6 percent in the US. Over the last few years, provincial lottery corporations in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have expanded their online operations exponentially. It’s incredible to remember that less than 10 years ago, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation launched the first government-run internet casino across North America.

Around the turn of the 2010s, Canadian Online Casinos surged forward when the British Columbia and Quebec Governments agreed to pool their internet poker liquidity, which since has led to other provinces collaborating with one another more often and across different games and platforms.

The US simply playing catch-up

Some years later, Nevada became the first US state to legalise online gaming, but even then, it was only poker. BY 2015, New Jersey’s online casino games industry generated about USD $150 million in revenue, which was more than 90 percent of the entire regulated US market. Nevada doesn’t even release online poker revenue statistics because the market and numbers are simply too small and insignificant.

Why are Canada and the US so different when it comes to Online Gaming?

online gambling began to explode in popularity, Canada allowed the industry to continue in something to operate in somewhat of a legal of a ‘gray area’.  Meanwhile, the US did precisely opposite.

Fuelled and funded by the land-based casino industry and the religious right, US politicians appear to have everything possible to deny US citizens the freedom to bet online.  In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was concealed into an unrelated piece of legislation at the bidding of religious fundamentalists with additional support from big casino companies.  This law affected Americans’ ability to transfer funds to and from online betting operations through the banking system and as a result, denied online casino access to US-based players.

A small, but growing number of online casinos continue to serve American players, however the unwanted hassle of transferring money remains as the industry’s greatest hurdle.  Some betting operations have turned to Bitcoin as a funding option but it’s still a small and boutique marketplace only.

Things are much better in Canada

Online Casino Gaming in Canada

Canada is one of eleven nations superior to the US in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and this is perhaps most evident in the gaming freedom of the two nations.  Whilst the US continues to languish below the top ten (at number 12), Canadian citizens enjoy one of the freest economies in the world.  Canadian citizens are afforded a luxury of choice over their southern neighbours, almost every major quality online casino will accept them as clients.  Meanwhile, US citizens are painfully limited for choices.

Differences in Types of Online Gaming between US & Canada

The most notable difference between the Canada and the US is the range of online gaming options available to players. Sports Betting is available all across Canada, online and all of its provinces and territories. Almost every province has its online casinos products and included with that, a fully operational sportsbook.

In the US, sports betting is illegal almost everywhere, with the state of Nevada and Delaware being the major exceptions. As Nevada and Delaware chose to only offer poker online, then people must travel to those two states to legally bet on sports.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is without any question, one of the most progressive states when it comes to gaming online. As home to the US’ first race track and second only to Nevada in legislating to legalise a casino industry, the State of New Jersey has a long history of being a pioneer in the gaming industry.

New Jersey continued to innovate in 2011, legalising online gaming and to this day is continuing to fight in the Supreme Court to allow its visitors and residents to opportunity to gamble legally on sports. Even allowing for a potential positive outcome of that legal battle for New Jersey’s online players, it will still only serve to underline that the Canadian Online Casino industry is far more intricate and highly evolved one.

The future of the North American Online Gaming Industry

For the foreseeable future, it appears that Canada may well remain ahead of the US in regulating the online gambling industry on a state level, based upon increasing collaboration between its Provincial Governments. The Provincial cooperation should continue to provide greater growth and lure more onshore and offshore providers to the Canadian region. Apart from local operators, it could be that the Canadian online gaming market may well attract US companies managing land-based casinos to base online arms in Canada, providing thousands of jobs for Canadians.

Meanwhile, Canadian players benefit too, in particular with the online sports betting options that Americans simply don’t have. A good Canadian online sportsbook casino offers many great sports betting options on virtually every sport you can imagine. Specifically, they do an excellent job for Canadians with a full range of North American sports betting options available such as NHL, CFL, NFL, MLB and NBA. Why not try out one of our recommended sportsbooks (that also have online casinos for your gaming convenience) today like 888 Casino, Betway and William Hill.