How has COVID-19 Affected Gambling in Canada?



What’s been the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on gambling in Canada? It’s highlighted the stark divide between the inherently resilient online casino world and the more vulnerable brick-and-mortar casinos.

This is why Canadians have been turning to online betting sites in droves, taking advantage of great games without needing to take any health risks or contravene medical/government advice.

Stay Safe at Ruby Fortune Casino for Canadians

Whether it’s during an enforced lockdown or in rather more normal times, plenty of Canadians are taking advantage of online casinos such as Ruby Fortune. There are excellent offers by Ruby Fortune Casino for Canadians to begin betting with a head start, and a great range of games to play. Better yet, the games, including a huge selection of slots and many table games, are mobile compatible so you can play from the comfort of your sofa. And because it’s an online casino rather than a brick-and-mortar establishment, Ruby Fortune Casino has a lower house edge than you might expect because, in common with all such betting sites, it doesn’t incur the overheads that real world establishments have to pay. This means players literally have a better chance of finishing ahead.

Pandemic Lockdown and Casinos

The global pandemic has affected almost everyone, to a greater or lesser extent. And the betting industry has been no exception, with the lockdowns imposed in a bid to curtail and reverse the spread of COVID-19 seeing many real world casinos close their doors for months on end.

Unlike other cancelled or limited leisure activities (sports fans were forced to go cold turkey for a long time), those who frequent casinos do have an alternative option available to them. Online casinos, such as Ruby Fortune for Canadian players, have been seeing significant rises in interest during the course of the global pandemic.

The same is true all over the world, including south of the border in the United States. New Jersey (one of the most pro-betting states) reported online betting revenues rising by 66% in March 2020, with the increase attributed to players shifting their leisure activity from brick-and-mortar casinos to online betting sites.

Thomas Allen, a Morgan Stanley gaming analyst, stated: “We believe the impact of COVID-19 could spur more states to legalize online casino and sports betting.”

There was already a trend of relaxing online betting legislation in the US, and this is likely to increase the pressure to act in that direction, with some wanting corresponding moves to be made in Canada to avoid being left behind.

Growing Popularity of Online Betting

Even before the rise of the new strain of coronavirus, online gambling in Canada, and worldwide, was increasing year-on-year, with forecasts for 2023 suggesting the global gambling market could then be worth an eye-watering $525bn. However, real world betting establishments remain at risk to rare but significant events such as the pandemic, which led to all the casinos in British Columbia closing down on a precautionary public health basis, even at sites with no suspected cases.

One of the major drivers of increasing popularity and a pattern of ongoing growth is the technological advances around smartphones and tablets. These devices are immensely convenient and used ever more often to access the best online casinos, which are fully mobile compatible and frequently come with their own dedicated apps for operating systems including Android and iOS. More than 70% of Canadians own mobile devices and the nation’s geographical and demographic situation (wealthy but with a highly dispersed population) does naturally lend itself to mobile gaming. The benefits of playing online have only been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Indeed, as British Columbia

provincial health official Dr. Bonnie Henry explained in April: “...[Casinos] would be last on my list to consider for reopening at this point...

Offshore Casinos for Canadians

Although Canada is often seen as a more liberal-minded country than the United States, in some regards this isn’t the case as private online casinos are currently not permitted. However, provinces do have their own online casinos, and Canadians often play at great offshore casinos such as Ruby Fortune. The advantage for Canadians here is that the best offshore sites offer a huge range of games and bonuses, and most welcome Canadian players, whose domestic options are somewhat limited.

Online casinos sometimes act as umbrella sites with other more than slots and table games (although these remain perennial favourites). New developments such as bingo and video poker, keno and virtual sports are constantly being created to spice up the experience. Plus some online betting sites offer casino and sports betting under the same virtual roof, maximizing convenience for Canadian players.

Legalizing Canadian Onshore Casinos?

Canadian gambling laws vary province by province, and there are increasing calls for private domestic casinos to be legalized. There are several reasons for this, not least that the tax revenue of such operations would then be delivered to the nation’s coffers rather than elsewhere.

In addition, such revenue could then be used for good causes such as education and healthcare. The central principle of private domestic casinos has essentially been accepted already with the existence of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, a regulatory body that has licensed and regulated a number of online casinos and sportsbooks within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. With this and the tacit acceptance of offshore casino sites, it seems only a matter of time until the grey area is cleared up and Canadian domestic online casinos are finally legalized.

With Canadian online betting on the rise, legalization would be a rational step to bolster revenues for good causes. Otherwise, Canadians will simply continue to bet online with the money flowing to other nations’ coffers.


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