As of 4th April, Ontario has taken a huge leap forward in the iGaming market. Up to 16 lucky gambling operators are now officially permitted to operate within the province’s gaming scene. Prior to this movement, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) was against these offshore providers, instead forming the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) organization, which allowed their very own online casino site – of the same name – to be created,.
By offering Ontario residents the chance to play online, but under the strict regulations of the province, the OLG has long since been a great way to provide entertainment whilst also keeping gamers safe.
As a country, Canada has had a tumultuous relationship with almost all gambling activity. Otherwise perceived as taboo, in 1875, the governmentcompletely outlawed any gambling-based games – with the Canadian Criminal Code supporting this ban in 1892. However, by 1969, the code was amended, and Lotteries were permitted to run provincially, with the purpose of funding special projects for the wider community.
From there, the Canadian Lottery has gone national – and more recently, found its place online. Whilst mostly run provincially, online Lottery was arguably just the beginning for the iGaming market, by encouraging Canada to be more open to the prospect of gambling as a pastime.
Read on as we take a closer look at the transformation of the Lottery across multiple provinces, and how that has potentially paved the way for Ontario’s newfound iGaming market today.
The first National Lottery in Canada
Going back to 1974, to when the very first National Lottery took place, then known as the Canada Olympic Lottery. Calling back to the fundraising that we touched on above, this edition of the Lottery was created in order to raise money ahead of the 1976 Olympics, in Montreal. With the tickets costing just CA$10, with the potential to bag a whopping CA$1 million prize, it’s no wonder that the game was a hit.
In the end, the grand prize was split between nine lucky winners, all from Quebec City. The Canada Olympic Lottery was later known as Lotto-Canada, and was regularly implemented in order to raise funds for future Olympic games and national works.
Following soon after, Ontario’s Wintario Lottery was born, debuting in 1975. This game was generated by the Ontario Lottery Corporation (OLC), yet another organization formed by the AGCO. This may not have been national, but it certainly made an impact – being broadcast live from Toronto each and every week.
As well as being one of the first games to be permitted across the provinces, it was also one of the first games to be available online in Canada. In 2012, the Loto-Quebec Lottery commission introduced an online gaming platform of the same name, which allowed players to fill out their Lottery tickets from the comfort of their own homes, whilst releasing the results and dishing out winners all in the same place. Another great thing about playing online is that there are also virtual Lottery games, which offer instant draws and prizes – so there’s something to suit almost anyone’s playing style!
The transformation of the Lottery in Canada has definitely had an effect on the progression of online gaming across the country. The main reason is that without casino games being gradually accepted across the nation – starting out with the humble fundraising Lottery – there’s no way that the Ontario iGaming market would be able to make the huge leap that we have witnessed just a few weeks ago.