It’s been an interesting few years in the Canadian online gaming and casino market. From a two-year pause of the industry due to the pandemic to a regulated online gaming market in Ontario to recent mergers and expansions, the industry has seen a bit of everything.
No doubt many of the issues will be discussed in the upcoming Canadian Gaming Summit (CGS), set for June 13-15 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The annual conference and exhibition attracts gaming and sports betting industry professionals from Canada as well as other countries.
This is the 26th edition of the summit, which is produced by SBC Events in collaboration with the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA). Attendees get a front-row seat to trends in the industry.
“SBC will be working in partnership with the CGA to build on the event’s status and ensure it continues to support the industry’s growth and deliver the most niche and powerful insights on the Canadian gambling market,” the company notes in a news release.
“More than 2,000 delegates are expected to attend and organizers promise that the event offers “three days of networking, learning, and exploring business opportunities.”
Inside the Conference and Industry
How do these types of events benefit average gamblers? With a plethora of slot developers, game manufacturers, and other companies offering up their latest and greatest games and services, much of what is on display at the CGS eventually can be found on the gaming floor at Canadian casinos as well as at properties in other countries.
Sports betting also continues to see tremendous growth across North America and that will also be a major focus on the agenda.
“CGS 2023 will reflect the changing face of the industry, with a conference agenda and exhibitors that encompass both the newer sports betting sector and the more established casino gaming and lottery verticals, making it a must-attend for every company keen to do business in one of the world’s most exciting gambling markets,” SBC notes.
“Rounding out the experience is a series of all-inclusive evening networking parties in some of Toronto’s most upscale venues that provide the ideal setting to connect with stakeholders from across the industry and continue business discussions with existing and new partners in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.”
Some of the event’s exhibitors include some of the biggest names in the industry including BetMGM, Bally’s, Entain, DraftKings, and more. A major part of the summit will also be several discussions on topics within the industry. Those attending can check out presentations on three stages featuring leading figures from the Canadian sports betting, iGaming, and land-based casino industry.
Attracting customers and casino topics won’t be the only focus. The CGS kicks off with the Player Protection Symposium, which explores “the tense relation between the overwhelming commercial pressure to acquire market share and the need to implement responsible gaming practices to protect players.”
The goal is to offer entertaining gaming options while also stressing the importance of also offering a safe gaming environment and encouraging players not to overdo it at the tables, slots, or sport betting windows, live or online. These industry insiders who will offer their own perspectives on the topic include:
- Chrissy Thurmond – senior director of responsible gaming for DraftKings
- Jacob Coin – executive advisor to the chair of California’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
- Janine Robinson – principal, JR Consulting
- Bill Pascrell III – principal, Princeton Public Affairs Group
An Industry in Recovery
This year offers the first complete year of casino gaming since 2019. Many live casino properties across the country were shut down during the pandemic and saw industry revenue dry up. Many Canaidans sought out some online casino action during this period.
After annual revenue topping $14 billion from 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19, that fell to below $13.8 million for 2019-2020, according to Canadian Gambling Statistics. Revenue dropped significantly to $6.9 billion in 2020-21 and the industry is only now beginning to recover. That year was the lowest revenue total for Canadian gaming since 1996-97.
The gaming industry is a major part of the Canadian economy with every province except Newfoundland and Labrador allowing live casinos. The Canadian Gaming Association values the industry at more than $15 billion. Some key highlights of the CGA’s report on Canadian casino and gaming include:
- Casino and gaming is the largest segment of Canada’s entertainment industry.
- Gaming directly supports more than 135,000 full time jobs.
- Gambling in the country generates almost $9 billion annually to fund government and community programs and services.
“The size and growth of gaming in Canada is reflective of the increase in availability of legal gaming options in response to market demand, consumer tastes and societal change,” the CGA reports.