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Gambling, 2010

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  • Net revenue from government-run lotteries, video lottery terminals (VLTs), casinos and slot machines not in casinos rose steadily from $2.73 billion in 1992, before levelling off and remaining at around $13.7 billion since 2007 ($13.75 billion in 2009).1
  • Net revenue from pari-mutuel betting (horse racing) dropped from $532 million to $355 million over the same period (1992 to 2009).
  • Net revenue from casinos continued to represent one-third of the gambling industry (34%) in 2009, while revenue and representation were up for lotteries (26%) and down slightly for both slot machines outside casinos (mainly at racetracks) (21%) and VLTs (19%).
  • Average gambling revenue per person 18 and over in 2008 ranged from $115 in the three territories to $830 in Saskatchewan, with a national average of $520.2
  • Compared with workers in non-gambling industries, those in gambling were more likely to have a high school education or less (53% versus 40%), be paid by the hour (85% versus 65%), be paid less ($20.25 hourly versus $23.55), and receive tips at their jobs (31% versus 7%).
  • Men increased their share of employment in the gambling industry from 35% in 1992 to 51% in 2009.  Similarly the rate of full-time jobs increased from 60% to 82% between the two years.3
  • Around 6 in 10 women and men living alone reported spending money on at least one gambling activity; however, on average the men spent more than women—$560 compared with $455.
  • Gambling participation and average expenditures increased with household income.  For example, 51% of households with incomes of less than $20,000 gambled in 2008 and spent an average of $395, while equivalent figures for those with incomes of $80,000 or more were 78% and $555.

Tables and Charts

Table 1 Gambling revenues and profits

Table 2 Characteristics of workers

Table 3 Characteristics of jobs

Table 4 Household expenditures on gambling activities

Table 5 Household expenditures on all gambling activities by income group, 2008

Chart A Net revenue from government-run gambling has levelled off recently

Chart B Gambling gross domestic product (GDP) turned down before the rest of the economy

Data sources and definitions

Labour Force Survey: a monthly household survey that collects information on labour market activity, including detailed occupational and industrial classifications, from all persons 15 years and over.

National Accounts: The quarterly Income and Expenditure Accounts (IEA) is one of several programs constituting the System of National Accounts. The IEA produces detailed annual and quarterly income and expenditure accounts for all sectors of the Canadian economy, namely households, businesses, governments and non-residents.

Survey of Household Spending (SHS): an annual survey that began in 1997 and replaced the Family Expenditure Survey and the Household Facilities and Equipment Survey. The SHS collects data on expenditures, income, household facilities and equipment, and other characteristics of families and individuals living in private households.

Gambling industries: This industry group covers establishments primarily engaged in operating gambling facilities, such as casinos, bingo halls and video gaming terminals, or providing gambling services, such as lotteries and off-track betting. It excludes horse race tracks and hotels, bars and restaurants that have casinos or gambling machines on the premises.

Gambling profit: net income from all provincial and territorial government-controlled gambling, such as lotteries, casinos and VLTs after prizes and winnings, operating expenses (including wages and salaries), payments to the federal government, other overhead costs, and other expenses are deducted. Other expenses includes categories such as 'special payments' or 'win contributions,' which vary by province and can influence profit rates.

Gambling revenue: all money wagered on provincial and territorial government-run lotteries, casinos and VLTs, less prizes and winnings. Gambling revenue generated by and for charities and on Indian reserves is excluded.

Government casino: a government-regulated commercial casino. Permits, licences and regulations for casinos, both charity and government, vary by province. Government casinos, now permitted in several provinces, also vary by the degree of public and private involvement in their operations and management. Some government casinos are run entirely as Crown corporations, while others contract some operations—for example, maintenance, management or services—to the private sector.

Video lottery terminal (VLT): a coin-operated, free-standing, electronic game of chance. Winnings are paid out through receipts that are turned in for cash, as opposed to cash payments from slot machines. Such terminals are regulated by provincial lottery corporations.


  1. Refers to total money wagered on all non-charity government-controlled gambling, such as lotteries, casinos and VLTs, minus prizes and winnings.
  2. Survey of Household Spending (SHS) and National Accounts rankings of provincial expenditures differ, in part because the SHS includes both charity and non-charity gambling activity.
  3. Employment at racetracks and 'racinos' (racetracks with slots and/or other gaming activities) is excluded. These activities are coded under 'spectator sports.'

For further information on any of these data, contact Katherine Marshall, Labour Statistics Division. She can be reached at 613-951-6890 or at