Facts about Gambling

Get the facts about gambling in Canada, including how gambling affects the brain and who’s at risk of a gambling problem, all from research done by credible sources.

Gambling is one of Canada’s largest entertainment industries. According to Casino Reports, in 2017, the gambling industry generated CA$17.3 billion in revenue from lotteries, charitable gaming and online gaming. Consider these gambling facts the next time you consider making a wager.

Gambling always involves risk

Every time you place a wager, you’re betting on an uncertain outcome. And there’s no guarantee that the outcome will be favourable.


Number of gambling channels in Canada.*


Percentage of Canadian adults (18+) who gambled in 2018.**

The house always wins in the long run

You may have heard that expression, but do you know why the house always wins? The expression comes from a term known as the house edge. House edge is an expected percentage return to the casino on every bet. In simple terms, house edge is the difference between “true odds” and “payout odds”.

True odds are defined as the likelihood of an event occurring. An example of true odds in roulette is 38-1.

Payout odds are the rate a casino will pay out if an event happens, like a win. An example of payout odds for roulette might be 35-1.

The difference between true odds and payout odds are how the casino makes it money. So even when players hit a jackpot, over the long run, the casino comes out on top.


Prevalence of problem gambling in Canada: Is roughly between 1% and 2%, but varies by province.

When a person has a gambling problem, it often impacts six other people (Goodwin et al., 2017).

Generally, males are more likely to gamble and experience gambling problems.

Gambling in Canada is an illegal activity according to the Criminal Code of Canada. However, provisions are in place for gambling to be made legally available under the authority of each province.

Questions about gambling?

Get the answers to the most common gambling questions.

Gambling FAQ
*Availability varies by province, but include: instant, lottery, raffle, pull tab, horse racing, sport lotteries, casino table games, online, bingo, electronic bingo, taptix, slot machines, video lottery terminals, and electronic table games like video poker/Keno.

**18,715,400 or 66.2% (Canadian Community Health Survey).

About the Responsible Gambling Council

The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting safer gambling by influencing positive change and advancing responsible gambling standards in Canada and around the world.

About RGC