Hitting the jackpot: The rise of the luxury Canadian casino and how it’s fueling a tourism boom
When you think of casino hotspots, minds tend to drift towards the bright lights of Las Vegas in the United States, Monte Carlo or maybe even Macau. What you may not have considered, though, is Canada – a rising contender in the destination casino experience.
But what is fuelling this relatively recent boom in Canadian casino tourism? Well, one, perhaps obvious factor, is that, unlike, say, Nevada, the state in which Las Vegas resides, it is legal to gamble in Canadian casinos from the age of 19 (18 in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec). This quirk, alongside Canada’s location, allows for casino tourism for 19 and 20 year-olds, who would not be able to go to Vegas. Other factors include the relatively recent development of a number of leading casino resorts, as well as idyllic locations for a destination holiday. We’ll get to those a little later on, but first, one must consider one big contributing factor – the online casino boom.
It has never been easier to play Canadian casinos online. The emergence of online casinos, from the very first in 1996, to the thousands available today, has seen an exponential growth in both the number of participants, and the volume of revenues generated. According to research on the subject, the online gambling market is projected to reach $73.45 billion by 2024, making it one of the leading global industries.
The increase in the market has not been lost on the industry in Canada, where there are now over 100 casinos. Perhaps the most exciting element of the casino market in Canada, though, is the sheer diversity of experience available within the Great White North. From luxurious tourist traps like the Mont Tremblant national park and ski resort, to the flashy, Vegas-esque Caesar’s franchise in Windsor, Ontario, and everything in-between, there are casino destinations for all.
Fancy a casino trip to Canada? Read on for our top three picks for hitting the tables in the Land of Maple Syrup.
River Rock Casino Resort, British Columbia
The River Rock Casino Resort, located in Richmond, an example of why Canada rivals the biggest hitters of the casino tourism market. As much as we might love the thrills and glitz of a stay on the Las Vegas strip, it is located in within a desert. The River Rock Casino Resort, however, sits on the picturesque Fraser River, a hidden gem amongst the area’s stunning forestry.
River Rock proudly boasts a 70,000 square foot complex, making it the largest gaming venue in Western Canada. Of course, the casino houses all of the staples you’d expect of a casino resort, including spa, hotel with premium suites, restaurants and a theatre regularly frequented by live entertainment.
In terms of gaming, River Rock houses slots, roulette, blackjack and poker tables, alongside a high-stakes room for the exclusive high-rollers amongst us.
Casino Niagara, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Another casino built in what is arguably Canada’s biggest tourist attraction, Casino Niagara holds its own as a resort before you even factor in the short walk across to North America’s largest falls.
The casino was built in 1996, just as casino culture really began to take hold in North America. The casino boasts a gaming room with over 1,300 slot machines, 40 gaming tables, and a poker room. There are also three on-site restaurants, a sports bar which also doubles up as a live entertainment venue, and sports betting.
By visiting the Niagara Falls region for your gambling experience, you also have the opportunity to stop by the nearby Fallsview Casino Resort, to add some variety to your excursion.
Casino de Montreal, Quebec
Another casino developed during the mid-90’s gambling boom, Casino de Montreal is the largest gaming house in Canada. Three interconnected buildings sit on the Notre Dame Island, and the casino is renowned for its unique architectural features, including its famously low ceilings.
In terms of facilities, the Casino de Montreal is equipped with everything one would need for a pleasant stay in Canada’s second-most populous city. Over 3200 slot machines dominate a gaming floor of over 500,000 square footage, alongside over 100 gaming tables, a cabaret, four restaurants, three bars and conferencing facilities.
While you’re in the city, you can also check out the quaint and charming El Jumelgi bar and poker room, for a more authentic, low-key gaming experience. A small bar, fundamentally, with optional poker and billiard tables, the bar has a good reputation within the city for offering a legitimate alternative to the bombastic casino experience.
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