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Main Differences Between the UK and Canadian Gaming Markets 

Personal_Finance / Gambling Dec 01, 2021 - 06:59 PM GMT

By: Submissions


Canada may no longer be an official part of the United Kingdom (although the Canadians remain loyal to the Queen!), but there’s one thing that the two countries still have very much in common: the penchant for the slot machine, having a wee flutter on sports, and putting a cheeky fiver on red. 

Both Canadians and Brits alike have gambling options aplenty and market revenues consistently hit new highs every single year. 2020 was a bit of an outlier for obvious reasons, yet the market has recovered incredibly well since in both countries. 

Yet despite the obvious similarities, there are several key differences between how the gaming market operates. The following are the most significant; if you’re a gambler, it’ll pay to know them. 

Is Online Gambling Legal? 
Let’s start with the status of the biggest growth sector: online gambling. The United Kingdom has had online casinos for what seems like an eternity (well, officially, since 2005), with big players like William Hill and Bet365 pretty much household names. Every Brit knows Ray Winstone both for his storied film career as well as his gambling ads during football matches. 

Online gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Gambling Commission, an organization that was established as a direct consequence of the Gambling act of 2005. It’s fair to say that gambling regulations are geared towards letting British citizens gamble safely. 

In Canada, however, the situation is a little different. This is the gist of it: it is 100% illegal for a company to operate an online casino. Period. There’s a huge ‘but’, however. 

The average person can gamble, no problem. Canadians are not at any sort of legal risk by playing online. The government isn’t going to go after you, and no one has ever been prosecuted. Online casinos in Canada, however, aren’t ‘in’ the country in the strictest sense of the word, but do provide a legitimate service to Canadian customers. 

Many continue to speculate about whether Canada will open up online gambling in the country, creating a ‘white market’ in the same way as operated in the United Kingdom. 

However, this looks unlikely (at least for now) and there seems to be little appetite in the country to make any changes in the short term. The most likely scenario is the continuation of the status quo. No Canadian casinos as such, but plenty of Canadian players taking advantage of foreign casinos. 

What About ‘Regular’ Gambling? 
Now that we’ve covered the online variety, let’s consider the traditional way people gamble: in brick and mortar establishments. Online casinos are great, but there’s something about striking up a conversation next to the blackjack player next to you, enjoying a few (hopefully free!) drinks, and taking in the ambiance. 

In Canada, casinos are able to operate legally as long as they have the proper license. Each of the ten Canadian provinces are responsible for these, and include the Alcohol and Gaming Authority Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island Gambling, and New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation. Similar to the United States, each province can decide on how to handle the granting of these. 

In the United Kingdom, things pretty much operate in the same way. There are almost 150 casinos operating in the country, the biggest of which being the Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford City. The only day it doesn’t open? Christmas Day. 

What’s interesting to note is that the number of casinos in the UK has remained relatively stable in the last ten years, always hovering around the 150-mark. Seemingly, online gambling hasn’t caused a major dent in footfall, except during 2020 (again, for obvious reasons!). 

Tax Implications 
Any serious gambler should know the ins and outs of taxes when it comes to gambling. Both Canada and the United Kingdom gambling is entirely tax-free. This differs from countries such as Macau and France, where you have to pay taxes on profits. 

The government, however, still manages to make a sizable chunk of revenues from the gambling industry. This comes from the duties levied on gambling operators in the country. This is why some argue that Canada should relax its online gambling laws, as it would lead to a significant increase in tax revenues. 

The situation wasn’t always the same. Before 2001, betting duties did exist. Even though taxes were effectively abolished, the introduction of regulation was a smart move by the United Kingdom. For example, in 2017/18 alone, the government netted a very healthy £2.9 billion from gambling operators in the country. 

2022 and Beyond 
Expect the continuation of growth in online betting markets. With 2020 causing a seismic shift to the industry at large, many players have now become mainstays at online casinos. Greater investment, improved gameplay, increased smartphone penetration, and the introduction of high-speed mobile internet all point to online gambling having a bright future indeed. 

By David Burke

© 2021 Copyright David Burke - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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