Popularity still rising for mobile gambling in Canada in 2021.
Throughout history, we’ve experienced a plethora of fads and social crazes. They’ve impacted our lives in everything from fashion, to entertainment, to socialization. As you surely know, a fad is not a long-term thing. It is something that comes along, enjoys a brief spike in mass popularity, then fades back into the shadows. After more than two decades, one thing that clearly cannot be defined as a passing craze is online gambling.
This is an industry that emerged alongside the escalation of mainstream, in-home internet access. In the mid- to late-1990s, there were only a few online gambling portals. They had little to offer, but just enough to assuage the growing appetites of remote players. Downloads were slow. Game menus were modest. However, it was still a new and exciting experience, bringing a little piece Las Vegas into the homes of anyone willing to try it.
Needless to say, the demand for online casinos rose quickly. Supply was ready and willing to follow. Two decades later, both supply and demand are still rising.
Popularity of Mobile Gambling in Canada in 2021
You might think that, after twenty-some-odd years, society would move on to the ‘next big thing’. But as I said, online gambling turned out to be far more than some passing fad. With each passing year, technology advances. Software companies produce more games. Beloved slot machines come equipped with more unique features. iGaming operators envision more interesting campaigns; more generous bonuses and promotions to market their products.
When you look at the big picture, it’s easy to see why online gambling continues to ride the ev-inclining wave of popularity. It just keeps getting better and better. It’s not just the variety of games, or their graphic appeal. It’s about safety, security, trust, and knowing that a big win will translate to cash in the players bank.
In the early days of internet bingo, poker and casino gaming, security was a major issue. Technology wasn’t capable of shoring up every hole in the system, and hackers were more than willing to scour the web for those holes. On top of that, scam artists were lurking in every virtual shadow, preying on the unsuspecting. I don’t just mean all those emails from some exiled prince in Nigeria. More often than not, it was the online gambling site operators themselves that broke our trust.
In those days, there were as many rogue operators as there were upright ones – maybe more. With little to no regulation in the industry, it was nearly impossible to tell the difference. And if you got sucker-punched, there was no one to turn to for help.
Regulation the Key to Ongoing Success of iGaming
In 2014, the United Kingdom – one of the most prominent iGaming regions in the world – enacted sweeping regulations of the industry. Suddenly, operators who wanted access to that market were required to get a license, pay taxes, and follow strict rules. The end result was categorical reputability meters. Any operator licensed in the UK, with no compliance issues, was considered trustworthy. Anyone else – well… reputation and longevity was all you had to go on.
It was the UK’s strict regulatory regime that convinced some other jurisdictions to follow suit. Malta, Isle of Man, Gibraltar – all of these small European nations wanted their licensees to garner the same superior respect. So, instead of basic licenses, they devised lengthy guidelines with player protections similar to that of the UK. The difference was, their licensees could access more than just UK players. They could branch out into any legal market, including Canada.
While this was going on, Canada’s government had already been working to establish its own iGaming market. Province by province, regulations were being passed, and iGaming portals authorized. But they chose the ring-fenced, government-monopoly model. There was only one operation per province, and only BC, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec took the plunge.
Today, almost every province has its own online gambling portal, but the single-site-monopoly remains intact. Fortunately for Canadians, choice is not prohibited. Those internationally regulated gambling websites are perfectly legal to access. They always have been. And if failed attempts by provincial governments to block access to them are any measure, they always will be.
Acceptance Growing, at Home and Abroad
For years, Canada was content to nurture the status quo. In terms of gambling amusements, there was a very broad line between what was legal, and what was not. The most famous of these was the long-standing prohibition of single-event sports wagers. It was okay to bet on multiple events – a technique known as ‘parlay betting’. But to place a single wager on the outcome of a single sporting contest? That was absolutely illegal.
At least, here in Canada it was illegal. No law prevented Canadians from accessing those internationally regulated online sportsbooks and placing whatever wagers they wished. And that was causing a very big problem. Canadians were wagering an estimated $14 billion dollars with offshore betting websites. That’s a lot of action our federal was failing to benefit from.
It took nearly ten years to convince enough politicians that a change was necessary. Protect the players, protect the money. It was a win-win. And so, finally, in early 2021, the House and Senate were on the same page. With legislation to authorize single-event betting passing into law, most Canadians will find themselves able to access the same online gambling genres, regulated both at home and abroad.
Predicting the Future of Canadian Gambling Sites
Based on statistics alone, we can easily predict that gambling isn’t diminishing in popularity. The demand for change to sports betting laws was evidence enough. Further proof comes from years of study, which has consistently determined a high rate of gambling among Canada’s legal-age men and women; men leaning more towards sports, and women more towards slot machines. And that’s not even taking into account the mass increase of iGaming activity since March 2020.
As health risks recede, people are becoming more accustomed to taking pleasure in online activities; even many of those they once found preferable in person. At the same time, the accessibility of mobile gaming is evolving from a modern convenience, into the societal norm. The easy summation is that the popularity of mobile gambling in Canada in 2021 and beyond will only continue to rise.
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Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.