The growth of the gambling industry in Canada has mirrored the industry‘s growth in other parts of the world. Gambling in Canada preceded Europe‘s colonization of the area, as many indigenous groups, such as the Hurons, gambled on a variety of games. Nevertheless, gambling was soon prohibited in the early colonial area of New France, with only occasional lotteries being held.
By the early nineteenth century, both Upper and Lower Canada had established laws forbidding all forms of gambling, and this complete prohibition was maintained when the two areas unified in 1840. In 1892, Canada established its Criminal Code, which included legislation pertaining to gambling, and this code still regulates gambling in Canada today.
The original Criminal Code forbade all types of gambling, although illegal gambling remained rampant. Since its establishment, the Criminal Code has been periodically amended to gradually permit various forms of gambling. For example, in 1900 small raffles were permitted for church and charitable fundraising, in 1910 on-track horse betting was legalized, and in 1925 an exemption was made to permit games of chance in summer fairs and exhibitions.
However, during the Great Depression, when many countries around the world instituted lotteries, various lottery proposals in Canada were defeated (Campbell & Smith, 1998; Hutchinson, 1999; Smith & Hinch, 1996). Nevertheless, in 1969 the Canadian government passed an amendment that decreased restrictions on charity gambling and granted the federal and provincial governments the right to conduct lotteries (Campbell & Smith, 1998;
Hutchinson, 1999; Smith & Hinch, 1996). The sanction of lotteries has often preceded the establishment of casinos, as the lotteries give governments a taste of the revenue that they can earn from gambling, while simultaneously improving the public‘s perception of gambling (Eadington, 2001). Canada was no exception to this trend and, as Hutchinson summarized, ―The floodgates had opened‖ (p. 68). During the 1970s some western 10 provinces hosted temporary charity casinos, where small-stakes games were used to raise funds for charitable organizations (Eadington)