The gambling industry is booming in Ontario

Canada continues to see unprecedented growth rates in gambling revenue, with CA$17.3 billion in the bag during 2017, an increase of 4.9%. As Canada’s highest populated province, Ontario was the most significant contributor. What may surprise you to know that it generated a massive 43% of that total, reporting revenue of CA$7.445 billion and an increase of 12% over the previous year.

To show just how impressive this figure is, Quebec generated CA$3.6 billion revenue with 2.12% growth, and British Columbia saw an income of CA$3.14 billion with a growth of just 1.36%.

Online Gaming Revenue

Ontario realises around CA$2.36 billion in net profit annually, a large portion of which is generated by online gambling revenue. However, due to current restrictions, Canadian players are seeking diverse gaming options by using offshore platforms, spending about CA$500 million each year overseas.

This means not only that players are not adequately protected, but also that the full proceeds are not available to the government. According to, a portion of gambling proceeds in Ontario is invested back into the community via annual allocations. For example, The OLGC (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) has donated $50 billion since 1975 to charitable causes in Ontario. Money was used to fund things like university campuses, hospitals and long-term care options for gambling addiction.

Government Drives Change

The Canadian Gaming Association has recently welcomed an exciting announcement by the government of Ontario that seeks to resolve many current issues. In the blueprint for its 2019 budget, the progressive Conservative government is introducing major changes. This includes establishing a new regulatory system to ensure that players are given access to “safe and legal gambling options”.

It will effectively provide a competitive market that reflects customer choice while protecting players.

The first move is the removal of the gambling monopoly currently held by the OLGC. According to Ontario’s new Tory government delivered its first budget in April 2019, which promise to widen the gambling options for residents in Ontario. This will allow the introduction of new brands and the go-ahead for international companies to operate legally within the province. The budget will also mean that the government will retain vital gambling revenues.

Supporting The Business Sector

Canada’s digital game development and software industry is one of the largest worldwide. The latest information released by Entertainment Software Association of Canada is that growth is predicted to continue. Gaming companies add more than $3.7 billion to Canada’s annual GDP, and this has been increasing by 24%, compared to 4% growth on the broader economy. With this comes additional investment opportunities and an increase in employment.

Of course, this growth is not equal across provinces, and once again, Ontario shows the most impressive and steadiest growth rates. There are currently over 170 game companies, reflecting a 58% increase over 2015 and creating more than 3,800 full-time jobs. Ontario has a wealth of creative technical talent and has developed a digital media tax credit system to encourage investment in video game development. The Ontario government is now proposing to build on this with a tax credit change to assist smaller companies and make the regulations easier.

Our heartland province has produced a diverse mix of homegrown developers and has attracted local studios of several global developers. Supporting this sector and driving future economic growth could well create an environment that produces the next worldwide video game success.

A Bright And Buoyant Future

Over the remainder of 2019, industry and stakeholders will have their chance to contribute to the future of this buoyant market. Hopefully, a fully refreshed gaming sector will be the end result in Ontario, with everything and more to meet business and player expectations. Worldwide tech developments in mobile, 5G and VR will continue to drive change at a rapid pace across online casinos and software industries as a whole.

The future is beginning to look brighter for Canadians, and particularly for Ontario. With the new legislation, and investment being attracted to local industries, the impact will be felt by all. Financial predictions by the OLGC clearly show that gaming will continue to grow rapidly, bringing better services and improved products for Canadian players. If the industry keeps thriving, it can only mean great news for gamers and the annual Ontario revenue coffers!