New Study Reveals How Gambling Affects The Canadian Economy

Matt Johnson
by Matt Johnson
New Study Reveals How Gambling Affects The Canadian Economy
Published: 23/02/2023
Reading: 3 minutes

A new study released by the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) has demonstrated how legalized gambling has impacted the Canadian economy. In the study, some of the highlighted economic effects include lowered unemployment rates, casino tax revenues, and increased tourism industry.

Currently, Canadians have many options when it comes to gambling. There are casino locations throughout the country and many licensed establishments with video slot machines. Sports betting and online gambling are also legalized, and the lottery is the country's most popular form of gambling. Unsurprisingly, the Canadian Gaming Association has reported that an average of $33 billion is spent on gambling in the fiscal year.

So, what role has the gambling industry played in Canada's economic development? We've taken a deep look at the economic effect of gambling and outlined our findings below.

The Casino Industry & Canada's Economic Development

Perhaps surprisingly, casinos and other forms of legal gambling have positively affected Canada's economic development. Aside from paying large taxes, casinos contribute in other ways to boost the Canadian economy.

The CGA's recent study found that the Canadian gambling industry contributes $15.3 billion to the economy, with $8.7 billion of that money going to government-funded services and charities.

It's not just money generated from casinos, lottery tickets, and online gambling that contributes to the economy. Commercial casinos typically have restaurants, hotels, bars, and other services attached to them, adding another $721 million in revenue per annum.

Of course, each casino must use a portion of its revenue to sustain operations. This includes employee salaries, operational fees, and any goods or services needed to keep the casino running. Approximately $6.6 billion is spent annually towards this.

Gambling Industry Jobs

One of the best economic benefits of a casino is its effects on employment rates. When a casino is introduced to a local community, the unemployment rate in the area drops. This is because a casino establishment can create many jobs for local residents, including the following:

  • Game dealers
  • Slot attendants
  • Security
  • Operational surveillance
  • Cage Cashier
  • Bartender/ server
  • Casino host
  • Pit clerk
  • Manager & more

So, how many jobs has the gaming industry created? Casino operators employ over 135,000 Canadians. Other businesses in the local area can be supported by the casino's patrons for consumption activities, such as hotels, restaurants, transportation services, and more.

Below is a closer look at how the gambling industry has impacted increased employment rates in different provinces:

  • Ontario - 102,236 jobs directly related to the gaming industry
  • Quebec - 51,636 jobs
  • Alberta - 43,342 jobs
  • British Columbia - 32,246 jobs

Managing Social Costs of Problem Gambling

While the casino business has had many economic benefits for the country, legalized gambling doesn't come without faults. Compulsive gambling is a real issue, and many people throughout the country are at risk.

How is the gambling industry managing social costs? Canadian casinos contribute to the country's economic development through their efforts to reduce gambling addiction.

Government officials have made it clear that responsible gambling is a priority. Casino operators take it very seriously as well, which has also made an impact on the economic growth of Canada. Each year, the gaming industry contributes $90 million toward responsible gaming initiatives.

Approximately $74.2 million is spent on responsible gambling services, including research, awareness campaigns, academic literature, and treatment for compulsive gamblers. Another $16 million is spent by local governments on initiatives to reduce the risk problem gamblers in society face. The goal is to make casino gambling a safe experience for Canadians.

One of the negative effects of legal gambling is the risk of problem gambling. In Canada, approximately 220,000 residents are gambling addicts. Additionally, 300,000 Canadians are at risk of developing a gambling problem. Roughly 1 million people in the country have risky gambling habits as well.

Neighbouring states in the US have also put an effort towards responsible gambling initiatives. It's important for the Canadian and state governments to reduce the rate of pathological gambling. When pathological gambling affects a person, it can result in income loss, productivity, and social problems.

How Canada Prevents Casino Crime

Increased crime has been a major problem for casinos across the world. This is another one of the negative effects of legal casino gambling. Fortunately, the Canadian government has made mandatory regulations for casinos, ensuring that all casino gambling in the country is legal and preventing money laundering schemes.

Anti-money laundering controls are used widely at casinos to spot suspicious transactions. Luckily this has not been an issue for Canadian casinos. There have been no arrests to date of laundering at a casino in Canada. Anonymous members cannot make large transactions, as they must provide a valid form of identification to prevent dirty money from entering casinos.

Unlike casino hubs like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, most casinos in Canada don't have to worry about criminal activity. However, it has been reported that gambling halls in rural areas of Quebec are still at risk. In 2022, nearly $420 million in suspicious large local gambling transactions were reported.

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Author Matt Johnson

Hey, I'm Matt! Since I was a teenager, I've loved playing online games, including slots. Since I was introduced to the world of online casinos, I knew I wanted a job in the iGaming industry, which is why I am currently a resear... Read more about the author

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Last updated: February 25, 2023