O Canada!

O Canada!

Gaming in the Great White

North is different from the industry next door, especially when it comes to tribal gaming. But the U.S. and Canada have a lot in common— including more competition and a changing customer base

The first lotteries in Canada were introduced nearly five decades ago, and today, gambling is nearly ubiquitous in the country.

With the exception of British Columbia and Ontario, Canada boasts 4,680 sites with more than 34,000 video lottery terminals.

Countrywide, there are more than 30,000 commercial lottery ticket terminals, and the government has licensed more than 52,000 charities to operate almost 200 permanent bingo halls and facilities.

O Canada! Designated bingo halls and casinos in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario are home to upwards of 12,000 EGTs for bingo games and break-open tickets.

Parimutuel or horse racing takes place at roughly 227 racetracks and tele-theaters in all the provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador.

Finally, online gaming is readily available in all provinces except Saskatchewan and Alberta.

However, the picture looks vastly different when Canada is compared to its southern neighbor, the United States.

The policies that govern Canadian gaming are provincially regulated, with different policies in each of 10 provinces and three territories.

In some provinces, casinos are fully owned and operated by the government; in others, they’re government-owned but run by private operators.

O Canada! “Either way, the provincial governments are decidedly more involved in the operation of all gaming establishments––from casinos to bingo halls,” says CGA President and CEO Paul Burns.

“Essentially in Canada, the provincial government acts as a full business partner.”

Sticks and Bones Centuries before the first European contact, indigenous peoples of Canada engaged in many forms of gaming, from the ancient “Slahal”––a game played between two teams using sticks or bones—to modern lacrosse.

The latter, one of North America’s oldest team sports, has its roots in a game played by native men as early as the 17th century, and was highly modified by European colonizers to its current form.

Commissioned by England, Italian explorer John Cabot arrived on the coast of North America in 1497, bringing with him playing cards and a much more conservative attitude towards gambling, especially the dice games that had been outlawed in Britain.

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