CALGARY – TECH – With iGaming sites – including online and mobile poker rooms, casinos and bookmakers – becoming more and more popular around the world, it’s no surprise that the Canadian industry has been steadily growing for a number of years. In fact, according to a national study conducted by marketing think tank HLT Advisory and the Canadian Gaming Association, the Canadian iGaming industry as a whole now brings in over $31 billion in gross output and $14 billion in purchased services per year.
The growth of the industry is also down to the widespread ease of access that many people now enjoy with their smartphones and tablets. Wi-fi hotspots and 4G connections are available almost anywhere in urban areas these days, which means a person is only ever a few finger taps away from logging into their favorite iGaming website and getting their casino fix.
More and More iGaming Operators Now Based in Canada
Unlike other countries, it’s important to be aware that the Canadian federal government gives each individual Canadian province and territory the jurisdiction to decide their own gambling regulations at state level. This means that, traditionally, some parts of Canada have refrained from granting licenses to online site operators who wish to be based inland.
Some states have chosen to uphold their own regulations in this respect; however, we are now beginning to see more and more provinces easing the law around iGaming operators based in Canada. In fact, many states are now actively looking to maximize the growth of online gambling wherever possible so long as it complies with their specific regulatory requirements. This is also why we’re beginning to see review sites like online-casino-canada.ca that aim to assess legal gambling sites in the country, comparing game variety, promotions, ease of access and customer service.
Which Canadian Provinces Are Leading the Charge?
The first province to promote actively the growth of iGaming was Quebec, which effectively provided a template for many other Canadian provinces to follow when granting licenses to iGaming operators.
While Quebec maintains the longest running iGaming hub, other major territories such as Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta have already started to decrease the amount of legislation around preventing iGaming operators from setting up their stall on Canadian soil. There’s also been a lot of talk recently regarding a prospective casino complex opening in Ottawa, though much of the discussion has been centred on whether a physical casino will prove to be profitable in the current gaming landscape.
The Limits of the Land
As discussed above, the way punters now choose to play is remarkably different to a decade ago. With online poker rooms and casinos quickly becoming the preferred choice for players, the next decade will likely see an even greater shift from traditional physical casinos to a wider range of online platforms.
This is partly due to sheer convenience, but also because we’re beginning to see massive improvements in technology that is, in turn, being integrated into the online gaming industry. For instance, virtual and augmented reality systems are now starting to come to market, offering players a lifelike emulation of the real casino experience from the comfort of their own home.
All things considered, it seems we’re just about to ride the next wave of iGaming. No doubt that this will involve interactive dealers, greater audio and visual immersion and fully customisable avatars the player can direct using VR devices like the Oculus Rift. With such technology already maturing quickly, and the increasing popularity of online game play that it spurs, it begs the question as to how profitable physical casinos and bookmakers will be in the next five or ten years – and just how strong the iGaming industry will become in its place.