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The Impact of Canada’s Digital Gaming Revolution


In recent years, Canada — much like other key global gaming markets — has witnessed a significant transformation throughout its gaming landscape. Video gaming as a whole has surged in popularity since the start of the decade, particularly as digital entertainment sectors like eSports took the place of regular sporting events at certain points. Back in 2020, everyone and their granny was getting involved with gaming, whether playing highly-compelling smartphone games or logging on for hours-long battles in virtual gaming arenas

In the past year or so, the gaming industry hasn’t quite been able to sustain the momentum gained from 2020 to 2022, but it’s still performing well as a top global entertainment industry and is worth approximately $184 billion (according to Newzoo). Here in Canada, however, there’s been one key development in particular that’s starting to reshape the country’s online gaming ecosystem: iGaming. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the legislative milestones that have enabled the growth of this flourishing gaming segment and take a look at predictions for what’s to come. 

The iGaming Paradigm

iGaming is a lucrative global gaming industry market that encompasses a wide range of digital wagering activities including online poker, sports betting and casino gaming. Before the advent of Ontario’s regulatory framework (more on that below), Canadians navigated a fragmented online gaming landscape. Provinces such as British Columbia and Quebec offered limited online casino options through provincial platforms, while offshore operators thrived in a legislative grey zone. 

The lack of uniform regulation posed substantial challenges to this emerging sector, particularly in the realms of consumer safeguarding and oversight — iGaming regulatory bodies are renowned for their stringent licensing conditions. It also had an economic impact on the country too, with the regions where offshore operators were in play losing out on gross gaming yields and the revenue generation that can spring from them. 

Ontario Introduces New iGaming Legislation

However, the landscape changed for the better in April 2022 when Ontario became the first province in the country to enact legislation that legalised all online real money wagering activities. This watershed moment not only provided a strong framework for online casino gaming, it also ushered in a new era of competition and consumer choice, with operators like PokerStars Casino making its vast portfolio of real money slots and casino games available to Canadian gamers. The legalisation of iGaming in Ontario soon triggered a flurry of activity elsewhere within the Canadian gaming industry. 

Domestic entities such as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) jumped on the opportunity to expand their digital footprint, launching online platforms catering to burgeoning consumer demand. 

Predictably, statistics revealed a notable surge in online gaming participation following Ontario’s legislative overhaul. According to a report by the Canadian Gaming Association, online casino revenues in the province skyrocketed by 37% in the first year following legislation. Meanwhile, iGaming Ontario released statistics that showed the total iGaming revenues generated in the province from summer 2022 to summer 2023 exceeded $1.48 billion. Moreover, industry analysts have projected a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3% for the market over the next five years, highlighting its immense potential for growth. 

What’s in Store for The Future of iGaming in Canada? 

Looking ahead, the future trajectory of online casino gaming in Canada hinges on other provinces following suit and initiating legislation to govern real money gaming practices. Events in Ontario over the past 18 months have not only proved the growing consumer appetite for remote casino gaming, but also the economic benefits that can be reaped from bringing global operators into the fold. 

While more legislation will be critical to the continued expansion of iGaming across the country, other factors will come into play that could transform the market for the better. Emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), for instance, hold the promise of revolutionising the experience of playing digital games. By immersing players in hyper-real virtual environments, these technologies have the potential to redefine gaming for an increasingly tech-savvy population. 

Ultimately, Canada is now in a new position as an emerging leader in the digital gaming landscape, which could serve to drive economic growth and foster innovation in gaming for years to come. 

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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