• By: Allen Brown

The Future of Online Poker in Canada: Trends and Predictions

Online poker in Canada is an emerging market with lots of potential to grow even bigger than its current size. Let’s assess some of the trends and make some predictions as to where online poker could end up in the country.

Legality becomes less vague

The legality of online poker and online gambling can be a little bit grey, vague, and convoluted in Canada. The central government has no specific ruling on the pastime and instead has allowed the devolved provincial governments to determine whether or not it should be allowed within their borders or not. At present, all 10 provinces allow online poker.  British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec are the most vocal about their pro-online poker stance – with the other seven provinces having not made any effort to make it illegal.

The different provincial rulings however led to some areas differing in the legal age to gamble, as it can either be 18 or 19 years old.

US citizens head up North

The neighbors below the southern border have a rich poker history, however, the legal status of online poker is more complicated than ours in Canada! Each state has its own laws and it can be tough. For instance, citizens in LA can check out these California online poker real money sites as a way to try and play at home, but if they can travel to Canada then playing becomes much simpler.

While it’s not convenient to simply visit Canada for all Americans, there must be some who are tempted by a trip. Those based in Montana and North Dakota especially, they are a long way from anywhere that allows for online poker but share a border with Canada. They and others throughout the US might be tempted to move to Canada if they want to play online poker regularly without fear of unlawful activity proceedings.

More tour events in Canada

With more and more online poker players in Canada, it’s only natural for tour holders like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour to include more events in the country. It’s already growing in fact. In the year 2000, there was only three major poker tournaments held in the country. None of them were held by reputable international poker organizations.

In 2010 with the buzz of the poker boom behind it, there were 53 events! Held by the CPT, the Canadian Poker Tour, which is sadly now defunct. The schedule for 2024 isn’t completely final yet (as of November 2023) but there are already two WSOP events confirmed for Calgary, Alberta as part of the international circuit events. Pure Poker have also committed its efforts to the nation as they’ve also booked tournaments in Calgary and even Edmonton.

Canadian players demand service and quality

One of the biggest trends within the Canadian online poker marketplace is that Canadians much prefer to use Canadian-established sites, over offshore alternatives. The customers value accountability and responsibility from those whom they gamble with. It’s well documented that offshore casinos and sites can lack integrity and the local authorities have no power to help you if something goes wrong because the sites are skirting the local legislation. As a result, many Canadian online poker players opt on the side of caution and only gamble with those that are accredited and licensed by Canadian authorities.

A Canadian poker tour revival?

While the poker boom is behind us, there’s a new surge in popularity which could spell similar heights of relevance for the card game. When the original boom took the US and Canada by storm, the CPT started operating. Sadly, the Canadian Poker Tour is no more and the initialism CPT has not been adopted by the Caribbean Poker Tour.

With online poker becoming increasingly popular could the original CPT make a return or a new product enter the void left by it? While the pre-existing international organizations visit Canada, it would be good for the civic pride of Canadian poker players to have their own to aspire to. The major metropolitan areas already have the infrastructure in place to host such events and help foster the emerging poker buzz.

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