The Evolution of Online Casino Gaming in Canada

The evolution of online casino gaming in Canada is still ongoing. Discover more here.

Online casino gaming in Canada is consistently growing. If you look at the market value of the previous years the influx in net worth of the industry is constantly rising:

  • 2021 – $1.64 billion
  • 2022 – $1.97 billion
  • 2023 – $2.31 billion
  • 2024 – $2.61 billion (Statista prediction)

That’s a steady rise of around $30 billion year-on-year. According to Statista, revenue should show an annual growth rate of CAGR of 2024-2029 of 5.98%. It’s the industry to be in, with the number of users expected to reach 15.7m by 2029. The same information reveals user penetration for casinos in cyberspace will reach 35.6% in 2024 rising to 38.7% by 2029.

But how did we get here? Let’s explore.

Early Beginnings

Online casino gaming started during the 1990s (1994). Since then, the industry has exploded. Well – it slowly exploded compared to land-based casinos. In the beginning, there was everything from slower internet speeds to less sophisticated graphics to contend with.

Not to mention that half of the websites would take almost a lifetime to open. You could say, for this reason, the initial reception wasn’t the best. It was more the unknown (mainly because the websites wouldn’t load) than anything else.

But as technology developed rapidly, so did the websites. And it wasn’t until 2004 that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation launched the first legal casino online. If you think back to 2004, technology wasn’t too advanced then. Still, in Canada, there are now a whopping 2100 online gambling casino websites in the Canadian gambling market.

In our opinion, it was the creation of a faster internet that changed everything. Average internet speeds sit around the 90 Mbps mark. 10mb to 50mb per second was fast in the early 2000s. Faster internet transformed gameplay into a more seamless and engaging experience, increasing the appeal of online iGaming platforms.

Software advancements were equally transformative. NetEnt AB and Microgaming developed some of the best technology and subsequently some of the most popular online casino trends. Their technology was smart, and innovative, and has since created hundreds of games.

That was complemented in perfect timing by the advent of mobile gaming, which expanded the reach of online iGaming to a wider audience. It allowed gamers to enjoy their favorite casino experiences on the go with greater ease and convenience. Most online iGaming platforms are now mobile-compatible.

Popular Games and Trends

Online casino gaming in Canada has many trends. One of the most exciting has to be innovation in mobile technology rather than the casinos themselves. Mobiles deliver incredible graphics – with Apple even claiming they’ll be the next best device to game on in the coming years. They’re planning on beating PCs and consoles, so you can see how big mobile gaming is becoming. Well – if you look at the screen resolution of the new iPhone 15 Pro compared to the 13, you’ll quickly see the evolution of the technology.

But it’s also more than the tech. It’s the games we’re playing.

Canadian players are also exploring specialty games. They’re unique and varied gaming experiences outside the standard casino fare. These games, ranging from instant-win scratch cards to bingo and keno, are a fun and light-hearted way to enjoy online gambling.

The evolution of online gambling toward gamification in online iGaming platforms is growing. That approach uses video gaming elements in casino games, rewarding players with achievements, missions, and storyline progression. It’s enhancing engagement and retention.

In the Canadian gambling market – players like popular games catering to diverse preferences. Some of the most favored are:

  1. Slots: A classic slots machine like Mega Moolah and Starburst remain favorites thanks to their straightforward gameplay and potential for big payouts. Progressive jackpot slots, particularly ones like Mega Fortune, also draw a significant player base.
  2. Table Games: Traditional table games like Blackjack remain a staple, renowned for the skill and chance they require. Roulette – with various like American, European, and French – appeals to players looking for a classic casino experience. Baccarat and Craps also have a loyal following among Canadian players.
  3. Live Dealer Games: Titles like Live Blackjack, Live Roulette, and Live Baccarat let players experience the fun of a live casino environment from their devices.
  4. Poker: Online poker games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud, will always be popular. The strategic depth and competitive element make them constants in online casino trends.
  5. Specialty Games: Games like Keno, Bingo, and various scratch card titles are fun alternative entertainment. They appeal to players wanting a quick and casual gaming session.

Responsible Gambling Initiatives

Responsible gambling practices in Canada are essential. Some multiple committees and organizations govern responsible gambling in Canada – the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission Ontario are named two. Still, studies published highlight how more has to happen to promote responsible gambling.

That’s not to say that these commissions aren’t working on it, but more has to happen. One Canadian study found 304,400 people were at high risk of gambling issues, with males having a more moderate-to-severe risk of problems related to gambling.

To try to protect these people, the RCG has implemented different strategies:

  • Plan Before You Play
  • Check Your (Re)Flex
  • GAME BRAiN Program
  • House of Wisdoms

These are problem gambling prevention strategies that are proving useful. One of the online casino trends for online iGaming platforms is to provide a safe gambling environment. They’re implementing strategies like deposit limits and cracking down on people using different emails to sign up.

You’ll also notice a lot of social media campaigns and responsible gambling information centers offering resources to players. Some respected casinos will also have website pages to discuss responsible gambling. Some will also have training programs for casino staff and customer service teams to emphasize recognizing and responding to signs of problem gambling.

By creating a culture of responsible gaming, the industry protects players and enhances its credibility and sustainability.

Impact of Mobile Gaming

Mobile gaming is growing in popularity each year. According to one set of mobile gaming statistics, there are 1.67 billion global mobile gamers. And one study found that there were 1.2 billion downloads of casino games in 2023. From those numbers, you can see that the rise of mobile gaming has had a massive impact on Canada’s online casino gaming industry.

Why? One of the reasons has to be mobile-optimized games. Finally, we’re getting somewhere with this. The issue was – as with most websites for some time – the design wasn’t responsive. You’d play one of your favorite games online on a PC and find it impossible to load on a mobile. But that’s the evolution of online gambling – we’ve come so far from websites designed only for single-device use.

And we suppose it just makes sense. Everyone’s glued to mobiles, with the average person in Canada spending 4.4 hours on their phones. So, Canadian players now have the luxury of using some of that time to play high-quality casino games on the go with mobile-optimized games.

Future Outlook

The evolution of online gambling will continue to push the market up and drive players towards the industry.

As digital technology advances, we can expect online iGaming to leverage these developments to create more immersive, secure, and personalized gaming experiences. Using technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning could offer more tailored game suggestions, enhanced customer service, and improved security measures. It’s already happening in almost every industry – why shouldn’t online casinos benefit from it?

The growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the digital economy might see more Canadian online iGaming sites adopting these as payment methods. They’re an interesting concept. In Canada, 10% of people own some form of crypto. Yes, that number has declined from 13% in 2022, but that’s still 10% of 38.93 million Canadians owning crypto – there could be a market there. Crypto could easily be one of the new online casino trends. Still, there’s a lot of regulation that’d come with that.

The increasing focus on responsible gaming will continue but remain one of the challenges. One study found that 61% of sports betting (not casino, we know) is unregulated. You can assume that at least 20% (an estimate) of online iGaming sites in Canada are also unregulated. But you’ve got organizations like the RGC campaigning for safer online gambling in Canada.

And that’s just the RGC – most cities and provinces in Canada have their responsible gambling commissions, like in Ontario. As the industry grows, collaboration between operators, regulators, and problem gambling prevention organizations will become essential to ensure a safe and sustainable environment for all players.

Online iGaming has evolved really as technology has. Does that mean every casino website is modern and ready to play? Absolutely not. But does that mean there are some high-quality casinos online in Canada for you? It does. What do you think about the evolution of casino gaming in Canada?

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