$14.5-billion per year and counting: Canadian gambling statistics

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Stevens, Rhys M. G.
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University of Alberta Libraries
Ask any gambler how much money they spend on gambling in a typical year and you’ll almost certainly see a quizzical look appear on their face. Individuals are frequently reluctant to disclose such information and those that do typically find it difficult to recall the specifics of their gambling spending. Gamblers who are willing and able to answer might also need some clarification since the question could be referring to either the cumulative amount of dollars gambled or the net dollar figure gambled after accounting for wins and losses[1]. But what if, instead of asking individual gamblers about their spending, one was attempting to determine gambling spending for the entire country of Canada including provinces and territories… are these figures even available? Are provincial and territorial gambling regulators and operators forthcoming with this information? The short answer is that, yes, it is indeed possible to determine a figure for Canada’s net commercial gambling revenue using available data[2]. In this article, I’ll describe my rationale for documenting available Canadian gambling statistics, methods employed, and challenges encountered. A selection of charts is interspersed throughout to illustrate key gambling statistics using examples from the Canadian Gambling Statistics (1970-2020) online database which was created to house these collected statistics and make them publicly accessible.
Open access article. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-NC 4.0) applies
Stevens, R. (2021). $14.5-billion per year and counting: Canadian gambling statistics. Critical Gambling Studies. https://doi.org/10.29173/cgs110