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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 over $13 billion since 2005, but then dropping for the first time in 2008, to $13.67 billion from $13.70 in 2007.1
  • Net revenue from pari-mutuel betting (horse racing) dropped from $532 million to $378 million over the same period (1992 to 2008).
  • Casinos and slot machines outside casinos (mainly at racetracks) continued to increase their share of the gambling industry in 2008 (reaching 34% and 22% respectively) while revenue and representation dropped for lotteries (24%) and VLTs (20%).
  • Average gambling revenue per person 18 and over in 2008 ranged from $114 in the three territories to $825 in Saskatchewan, with a national average of $528.2
  • Compared with workers in non-gambling industries, those in gambling were more likely to be non-unionized (74% versus 69%), paid by the hour (81% versus 65%), and paid less ($19.85 hourly versus $21.30) and receiving tips at their job (33% versus 7%).
  • Men increased their share of employment in gambling industry from 35% in 1992 to 51% in 2008. Similarly the rate of full-time jobs increased from 60% to 84% between the two years.3
  • Just under half of women and men living alone reported spending money on at least one gambling activity; however, the men spent 50% more than women—$814 compared with $516.4
  • Gambling participation and expenditure rates increased with household income. For example, 34% of households with incomes of less than $20,000 gambled in 2007 and spent an average of $678, while equivalent figures for those with incomes of $80,000 or more were 58% and $798.

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 expenditure on all gambling activities by income groups, 2007

Chart A Net revenue from government-run gambling has increased steadily

Chart B Growth in gambling has leveled off

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 provincial and territorial government-run lotteries, casinos and VLTs, after prizes and winnings, operating expenses (including wages and salaries), payments to the federal government and other overhead costs are deducted.

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 non-charity 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'.
  4. New screening questions were added in 2007 to reduce response burden, but for some categories, including games of chance, the response rate was lower than expected. These screening questions will be modified for 2008. See catalogue no 62F0026M, no. 1 for more details.

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